T-62 Soviet Main Battle Tank
Zvezda, 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
|Stock Number and Description
Amusing Hobby Kit No. 35A041 - T-72AV Full Interior
||1,966 parts (773 in green styrene, 699 in brown styrene, 264 in grey styrene, 37 etched brass, 19 clear styrene, 2 lengths of vinyl tubing, 1 length of vinyl string)
||Very nicely done and complete T-72A with added ERA fit; turret comes with “nadboy” covering; flexible tracks.
||Lots pf parts!
||Highly Recommended for any 72 fan.
When the Soviets came out with the T-72 tank in 1973 – and after a prolonged fight within the Politburo and Ministry of Defense to put the tank into production – it soon became the preferred tank of the Red Army. But the problem was that it was not wanted by Science and Technology Secretary Dmitriy Ustinov, who preferred his beloved T-64A over the upstart. As a result, even though he was forced to accept the new tank, he vowed it would never receive any useful upgrades and would be a second-echelon and export tank. As the T-64A continually was a headache for the Red Army, they were not happy with the turn of affairs.
Happily for the Army, even though Ustinov became the Minister of Defense in 1976, he happily became another dead Red in 1978 and now the brakes were off on upgrading the T-72 to current standards. The Army had seen what it wanted in the Object 176 prototypes in 1975, and now put them into production as the T-72A.
There were some major differences in the T-72A, the main ones of which were these:
A new turret with “Kvarts” filling to provide better protection from both HEAT and AP rounds;
A new 30mm appliqué plate on the glacis, raising protection to 30mm armor + 30mm armor + 105mm fiberglass + 50mm armor. Both upgrades gave about 500-560mm RHA protection;
The new TPD-K1 sight with built-in laser rangefinder and 1A40 fire control system;
A new TPN-3-49 night sight and L-4A main searchlight with increased range;
A new 2A46M 125mm gun with increased stiffness and barrel life;
New steel reinforced full length rubber skirts vice the “flipper” armor panels
The Type 902A “Tucha” smoke grenade launcher system;
And, an improved V-46-6 engine and 285mm suspension travel, as well as new six-bolt wheels.
Production began in mid 1979 and lasted until 1984, when the next improvement, the T-72B, entered production. But in the meantime, after the Bekaa Valley battles in 1982 the Soviets decided that explosive reactive armor (ERA) was a good idea and in 1985 began factory installation of the “Kontakt-1” first generation system on new model T-72B and T-80B tanks, now with the suffix V (for “Vzryvnyy” or explosive armor).
As the T-72A tanks began to cycle through midlife repairs they also were fitted with the new ERA. Some units received in the field and began applying it themselves with mixed results (one unit put the containers three high which impressed some inexperienced western analysts – they tended to ignore all of the vision blocks and fire controls were thus blinded by this fit…)
The factory fit looked very similar to the T-64BV and T-80BV fits in that the tanks used a wedge shaped bracket to mount the containers on the turret, as well as cover the glacis and the front third of the skirts. The Type 902A smoke grenade launchers (12 tubes in all) were replaced by a single Type 902B launcher (eight tubes) on the left side of the turret.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union priority was given to retaining only the T-72B and T-80U tanks, and the T-72A was relegated to storage bases. However, as time went on the tanks were still declared to be excess and sales to foreign customers began; previously only T-72M and T-72M1 tanks were permitted to be sold abroad.
There were more than 7,500 T-72A produced and many are still in service, such as those seen in Ukraine now in 2022.
This tank became an instant legend in 1981 when imagery analysts noted the odd shape of the bulges around the gun aperture on the turret and some wag decided it was like looking down the front of Dolly Parton’s dress. This was briefed to incoming Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger who found no humor in that and ordered it never be called that again. Of course, that became the only name the T-72A was ever called…
This is the third T-72 kit from Amusing Hobby – the others being a Czech T-72M4CZ and a T-72M/M1 kit. The latter was a bit disappointing as its turret was neither an M nor an M1. However, this one looks the part and the turret here matches up well with UVZ factory blueprints of the standard production T-72A.
Parts layout follows the T-72M/M1 kit – all exterior parts are in either dark green or light brown (tracks) and all interior parts are in grey, so anyone not interested in the interior can ignore several of the sprues at once on opening the box.192 new parts are added to this kit as compared with the T-72M1. I say box but small crate is probably more accurate! The box is 125mm x 260mm x 390mm (5” x 9” x 15.5”) and weighs around seven pounds.
As before some of the colors offered differ from photos of the inside of actual T-72 (I have the excellent Wings and Wheels T-72 color photo album) so you will need to find a good source of photos and colors to replicate the actual vehicle. Also most wiring and cabling is also not present (it rarely is on any interior kit) so more references will come in handy.
The three-piece track link tracks seem tedious but a number of jigs are provided to permit assembly of four links at a time (95 per side are suggested). However, they tend to roll along once you get going and are not as bad as some others. I popped the T-72M1 tracks together in relatively short order but it helps to use the jigs and a sprue nipper to cut the pins off for easier installation four at a time.
The directions come in a 32 page book and cover 54 steps. After the usual parts map assembly begins with the lower hull. Happily for both the modeler and Amusing Hobby the T-72M1 and T-72A are very close in regard to interior bits so things are pretty much interchangeable, such as the TPD-K1 sight in both tanks and the number of ammo rounds (44).
The first seven steps cover the very detailed assembly of the outer shell of the lower hull pan which includes the insertion of the torsion bars in Step 7. The new wheels are assembled at Step 6b and replace the older eight-bolt ones. Note that while the tracks are articulated the wheels as provided are not fitted with vinyl caps so will not rotate without work if you desire that effect.
The auxiliary fuel tanks are provided in two parts – drum and cover – so all you need to do is some quick work with a Flex-I-File to get a smooth drum.
The next seven steps cover the “driver-mechanic’s compartment” and “fighting compartment” using Soviet terminology. The two main interior walls and forward fuel tanks come in one piece each to make life simple.
Steps 15 to 17 cover the “Zhelud” autoloader and spare ammunition stowage inside the hull. Be aware that the rear “stellazh” fuel tank (part L53) holds more ammunition that will need correct painting.
The “engine-transmission compartment” starts with Step 18 and the final drives/transmissions. This is followed by the fan and the V-46 engine. The engine consists of some 38 parts to include etched but has none of the cabling or piping associated with its fuel injection system. The “guitara” transfer case adds another six parts to the assembly.
Steps 27 and 28 cover adding the appliqué glacis and the fitting of the glacis ERA.
Steps 29 to 32 cover the fenders and fender bin assemblies. Note that the squared off mudguars (P5-8) are used instead of the rounded ones. Numbers 33 and 34 cover the inside and outside of the forward hull roof, and 35 to 38 the engine deck and radiator grill areas. There is an option for fording covers open or closed, but as there is no extended snorkel option this is not a great choice. Note that this tank uses the Czech-designed demand fuel system so the two 200 liter fuel tanks are plumbed into the tank.
Turret assembly begins with Step 40 and the 2A46 gun; while it shows the barrel in place the directions clearly show it is the last thing to be added in Step 54! The breech is complete with the PKT coaxial gun attached to it as one assembly. Interior fittings to the turret race (part E39) are next followed by the turret interior details fitted to the “podboy” liner (part M48). The turret interior is finished off in Steps 45 and 46.
Steps 47-53 cover the external fittings of the turret to include the NVST machine mount and hatches. Note there is a correction added for Step 51 and the commander’s cupola. Most of the parts added here are going to be the ERA containers and the angle brackets for the front of the turret. There are three different shapes so in order to get them right care must be taken with which ones are used.
The directions indicate that the turret and turret floor are to not be cemented in place in order to show off the details; no such directions are provided for the hull roof or engine deck and radiator grill area so it is up to the modeler to cement them in place or leave them loose.
Finishing directions are provided for three tanks: Soviet Red Army, 1988 (protective green with white bort number 418); Syrian Army, Damascus 2013 (green and black mottle over sand); Syrian Army, Damascus, August 2013 (overall sand with parade national flag markings). A small sheet of decals is included with additional markings for what appear to be T-72M1s.
This particular kit came from Sprue Brothers so at least they are now in the “pipeline” to the US; their price was around US$83.
In summary, this kit is better than the T-72M1 kit and will build up to what it purports to be. There currently is no “ kit only” version without the interior, however, as is offered by Miniart with its interior kits.
A 37 Hull roof, engine deck, appliqué, details – Gr
B 20 Skirts, fender bins, scraper blade, hull details – Gr
C 33 Gun barrel, unditching beam, mudguards, shock absorbers - Gr
D 27x2 Torsion bars, auxiliary fuel tanks, hull details - Gr
E 70 Turret base, roof, details - Gr
F 93x4 Suspension, hull belly details – Gr
H 19 Clear styrene
I 69x7 Track pins, assembly jigs – Br
J 62 V-46 engine, ammunition – Gy
K 64 Autoloader shell, radiator, fan, fan shroud, details – Gy
L 68 Hull interior, “stellazh” fuel tanks, driver’s compartment – Gy
M 70 Turret interior, “podboy” liner, radio, controls, details – Gy
N 53 Glacis and skirt ERA, fittings -Gr
O 46x2 Turret ERA and brackets - Gr
P 20x2 New mudguards, details, six-bolt wheels - Gr
T 8x27 Track links - Br
Z 37 Etched brass
- 1 Turret shell - Gr
- 1 Lower hull pan - Gr
- 1 Length of black nylon string
- 2 Lengths of black vinyl tubing
- 1 Poster of box art