Home > Reviews > Modern > Zvezda 1/35 scale Kit No. 3636; “Terminator” Fire Support Combat Vehicle - T-90 Russian Main Battle Tank

“Terminator” Fire Support Combat Vehicle

Zvezda, 1/35 scale

Reviewed by Cookie Sewell


Stock Number and Description Zvezda 1/35 scale Kit No. 3636; “Terminator” Fire Support Combat Vehicle - T-90 Russian Main Battle Tank
Scale: 1/35
Media and Contents: 526 parts (502 in grey styrene, 21 clear styrene, 2 sections of nylon screen, 1 length nylon string)
Price: USD$49.95
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: Nicely done, simple build kit of new T-72 family vehicle; has many of the latest model features; quality of moldings equivalent to most Western kits; best link-and-length tracks of any kit
Disadvantages: Use of nylon screening vice etched brass an odd choice; some dimensional discrepancies shared with T-90 kit
Recommendation: Highly Recommended for all modern Russian armor fans

F i r s t L o o k

The Soviets had experimented with tank escort vehicles for some time after they found the BMP series to be too lightly armed to survive in some situations, and tanks by themselves were too “blind” to deal with all threats. This was crystalized into a series of prototype vehicles carrying different armament combinations and onboard personnel, some with dismount teams and some with more heavy weapons, but all based on the chassis of the T-72 main battle tank. The feeling was that they could easily convert them from early model T-72 tanks which were no longer suitable for modern tank-versus-tank combat in Europe.

After the slaughter of the New Year’s Eve 1994-1995 attack on Groznyy in Chechnya, this brought such a vehicle back to the fore. The revived project was given the project designator “Ramka” (frame) and when a vehicle was produced to meet the requirement, it was designated Article 199 by the Uralvagonzavod.

The new vehicle was very heavily armed and designed as a tank escort under urban combat conditions. It carried the following armament: two 30mm 2A42 automatic cannon; two AG-17D 30mm grenade launchers; one 7.62mm PKTM machine gun; and four 9K120 “Ataka” antitank guided missiles. The vehicle had a crew of five: commander, gunner, driver-mechanic, and two grenadiers. The commander and gunner controlled all but the grenade launchers, each of which was in its own sub-turret and had its own operator.

The reason for the armament is as follows. The 30mm guns are its main weapon, and the idea is to have one loaded with HE-FRAG rounds and one with AP. The machine gun is for suppression of infantry, and the missiles are fitted with specific warheads based on threat and mission. They carry tandem warhead HEAT rounds for tanks, but in city conditions they are more likely to be fitted with thermobaric (volumetric) ones to deal with bunkers and apartment buildings. One of these is capable of wiping out all living creatures within a confined area the size of a two room apartment as well as causing it to collapse. The grenade launchers are for dealing with pockets of infantry (in this case fighters and “illegal armed bands” to quote the Russians).

The BMPT is heavily protected with tank level base armor, at least “Kontakt-5" explosive reactive armor, and “reshetka” grill armor over less vulnerable spots of the vehicle.

While the “production” version of “Ramka” first was shown in 2002, so far only three have been sold to Kazakhstan. But with all of its armament the Russians soon dubbed it the “Terminator” after the Arnold Schwarzenegger cyborg character. A new variant dubbed “Terminator 2" is now being shown, which has a modified turret but eliminates the hull mounted grenade launchers and their two operators. But so far only Kazakhstan has bought the machine, and then only three vehicles for initial testing.

Following several months after the release of the excellent Meng kit, Zvezda has now come out with their take on this unique and interesting vehicle. Like their earlier T-90A kit (No. 3573) this one has only 1/3 of the number of parts of the Meng kit, and as such is much easier to build. It does have less details than that kit, and appears to retain some minor dimensional errors from the base T-90A kit.

This kit also comes in a flimsy end-opening box but with a sturdy tray that is closed with an internal cover similar to a Western “pizza box” lid. The moldings are among the best I have seen from Zvezda and the detail is quite petite – even the front fender mudguard springs are separate parts and nicely done. Nitpickers will be happy to find that the engine radiator grilles are offset to the left!

However, this kit only retains some 214 parts from the original kit in the form of the wheels and suspension parts (D sprues). Like the T-90A it uses the new “Universal” tracks, which the kit replicates as link-and-length with separate guide teeth. These are my personal favorite tracks of any current line of kits, as they look good and are incredibly easy to assemble; on the earlier T-90A kit I built once the tracks were cleaned up I installed both runs in about 15 minutes.

As should be obvious from the lower number of parts (note that it IS still more than 500!) the kit is much easier to assemble. However, all of the major details are present and well done.

One odd thing is that Zvezda uses nylon screening instead of etched brass for the gratings and grills on the engine deck. These have to be cut out to a pattern - old fashioned but once in place they do look reasonably well. One odd feature is that the fording cover is attached to the exhaust outlet instead of the normal thermal snorkel (parts C11/C31) seen on V-92S2 engine vehicles. I am not sure why Zvezda chose this option.

Both of the wing turrets (actually control stations for the 40mm grenade launchers in fender pods) appear to rotate if care is used during assembly. Zvezda refers to “Variant 1" and “Variant 2" but all that is for is to describe hatches open or closed on the wing turrets. The rear supplemental shields are provided for the turret race from styrene vice the etched brass on the Meng kit, but are reasonably thin and look the part.

The lower hull is composed of four main components - belly pan, sides and rear plate - and is not started until Step 11. Once basic details are in place, the upper hull with a goodly amount of its detail is jointed to it before moving on to the suspension. I think those of who assemble the lower hull and paint the wheels and tracks before attaching the upper hull and skirts would reverse the order of some of the steps, but that is just me.

The T-90 series adopted road wheels which were 10mm wider than the T-72B ones and the kit reflects this with the latest variant of the “six bolt” wheel sets. The inner wheels are installed, then the tracks, and then the outer wheels. This goes for both the drivers and idlers as well if their order of assembly is followed. Once done the skirt armor is attached and detailing of the upper hull continues with viewers and sights. The kit provides clear plastic parts for the lenses and windows.

The kit’s “reshetka” - bar grill - armor is reasonably think and looks good, and with some careful painting and drybrushing should be both durable and look the part.

The armament comprises the last 10 steps of the build and covers the twin 30mm guns - the muzzle brakes are clear side to side but will need their bores drilled out with a .035" drill bit as they are solid. Canvas is replicated at all places on this kit by injection molded styrene unlike the flexible black vinyl of the Meng kit.

Each missile rack comes with very petite injection molded styrene firing cables and connectors, but these appear to be scale and nicely done.

The kit offers two finishing options: one for the IX International Arms Exhibition in Nizhniy Tagil, 2011; the other is a similar vehicle in 2013, The patterns are different but the colors change: light brown, dark brown and sand, or red brown, sand and dark green. No decals are included as no Russian units have used the vehicle and the Kazakhs have only given them parade order numbers.

Overall, while this kit is not as detailed as the Meng kit it is not a bad representation of the original and is a much simpler kit to build. If you want a “Terminator” you should keep this one in mind.


Sprue Layout

A 6 Upper hull, belly pan, skirts, fender bins
B 0 Lower track runs, hull sides, hull details
C 73 Skirt armor, fender bins, “reshetka” armor, wing turrets
D 107x2 Wheels, upper track runs, suspension components, details
E 21 Clear styrene
F 83 Turret, guns, details
G 43x2 Missiles, racks, details
1 Length of silver nylon string
1 Square of fine nylon screen
1 Square of coarse nylon screen


Text and Images by Cookie Sewell
Page Created 14 July, 2015
Page Last Updated 14 July, 2015