Soviet T-10A Heavy Tank
Trumpeter, 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
After the war, research and development continued on this subject until test models became available in 1954. Both single axis and two axis (vertical/horizontal) were under development, and by 1956 the first single axis stabilizers were ready for installation. Both the T-54A and the T-10A appeared that year, as both of them had single axis stabilizers for their main guns.
The system installed in the T-10A was the PUOT-1 “Uragan” consisting of the TAEhN-2 stabilizer and a TPS-1 stabilized gunner’s periscopic sight. This was determined to make the gun five to six times more accurate when firing on the move. It was also fitted with a TVN-1 IR driving light and viewer for the driver to use for night driving. Also fitted for the first time on a 122mm service gun was a bore evacuator, which had appeared in the West some years earlier but was now adopted for this tank and the T-54A and all future Soviet tanks.
But only 50 of these tanks were built before switching over to the T-10B of which 110 were built before changing over to the vastly improved T-10M. Many of the As were upgraded to B status by changing the stabilizer to the PUOT-2 “Grom” system along with a new generator providing double the power (3 kWt vice 1.5 kWt) based on the needs of the new system.
Later on many of the T-10A/B tanks were fitted with IR night sights and searchlights as well to bring them closer to T-10M status.
Nearly 50 years ago Tamiya came out with a kit of what was closest to a T-10A/B but called it a “JS-III/T-10" to cover all of the bases. Loaded with errors, it was the only one around in styrene until both Meng and Trumpeter released kits of the T-10M. Now Trumpeter has followed up its T-10 kit with this kit of the T-10A (which also can represent the B with some work) to complete the basic family. (The main difference is a circular hatch on the engine deck of the B behind the left exhaust and intake grills.
I plead guilty to self promotion as I have a pre-release copy of the history of the T-10 tanks that was written by Jim Kinnear and myself and could use it to compare the kit to the original vehicle. First examination has it nearly spot on with the proper early T-10 hull, modified turret with persicopic sight and centrally positioned ventilator, and new roof with embedded loader’s AAMG hip ring in a cupola over his position vice the swing-away IS-3/4 mount from the early T-10 tanks. Trumpeter has tweaked all three kits to match the prototypes and has done a nice job of it.
Like the others, this kit is relatively simple by modern standards and uses “stick them together” single link tracks, one set of links for the left track and one for the right.
As with their other kits, it starts out with the lower hull (as do most tanks) and all of the suspension components are separate items. Six of the road wheel axles are fitted with shock absorbers and fluid reservoirs which is correct. Note that this kit actually uses the wheels from Trumpeter’s IS-4M kit. As I am currently building the T-10 kit, I must say that this suspension clicks together with a precision not seen in some other Trumpeter kits and that is QUITE welcome by me!
One word of warning that I missed before: the tank uses “pin knocker” style tracks and as such they are different. The pins used to hold the tracks together on the original are fitted with tiny fasteners on the outside ends, and the large pin heads face inwards. T1 links are for the right side, T2 links are for the left. I put them all together and have to resort them now as penance. Note they are a tight fit and for assembly of sections I suggest filing down the hinge sides so they slide together.
The next steps cover the turret which in its case is simple. In this case the 12.7mm DShKM and the commander’s cupolas are assembled first and fitted to the turret. In this kit the gun is new with the bore evacuator but makes use of the previous kit’s two piece muzzle brake; no turned barrel is offered. These tanks did not have a canvas cover over the mantelet so that is not a problem with this tank.
Construction of the hull is very straightforward and all of the weld lines are present, albeit some may wish to enhance them. The “cages” over the headlights are nicely done and should be simple to assemble and install. PE fender flaps are provided for the mud flaps at each corner.
Other minor details are missing but in most cases understandable. Apparently the early model T-10s did not have a “demand” system so the rear external fuel tanks (Y-21/22) are not “plumbed” into the tank. Missing is a metal strap hold-down at the rear of the tank about 50mm in scale forward of the rear edge.
This tank is fitted with the grillwork over the top of the exhaust openings (the smaller outer grills on the engine deck with covers PE-C2). Others are not but the grid pattern inside them is quite different so the PE parts should be used.
For those so interested many of the earlier tanks were later upgraded to take the twin 200 liter auxiliary fuel tanks; if you have an old Trumpeter IS-3M kit those tanks and mounts are correct and can be used to fit to this kit vice the smoke canisters.
Technical advice and support was provided by Kirill Koksharkov from Chelyabinsk in the design and production of this kit.
Only one finishing option is provided for a generic T-10 in protective green paint and no markings. A generic “number jungle” is included but while I have found T-10s with service markings so far I have not identified either As or Bs with markings.
Overall, while again a simple kit this is actually quite accurate and other than a lack of finishing options (as most of the photos are of test tanks there are not a lot of references out there!) it is a nice kit and completes the trio.