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Zvezda 1/35 scale Russian T-90

RELATED TOPICS: ARMOR | TANKS100
Kit:3573 // Scale:1/35 // Price:$45.95
Manufacturer:
Zvezda, from Dragon Models USA, 626-968-0322
Pros:
Good moldings; posable hatches; turret interior
Cons:
Complex build of the Shtora self-defense system; thick antenna
Comments:
Injection-molded, 451 parts (1 vinyl), decals
FSM-NP0712_31
FSM-WB0912_32
FSM-WB0912_33
FSM-WB0912_30
FSM-WB0912_34
FSM-WB0912_35

Established in the 1930s as a railroad car factory during Stalin’s second Five-Year Plan, Uralvagonzavod converted its production line in 1941 to become the world’s leading manufacturer of tanks (including the T-34). It was there that the Russian main battle tank T-90, a modernization of the T-72, was developed. It went into production in 1993.


Zvezda’s T-90 is a model of the welded-turret version, which makes it closest to a T-90M. The kit features crisp molding with posable hatches and vision ports. A detailed turret with the Shtora passive-countermeasure self-defense system and Kontakt-5 ERA (explosive reactive armor) panels are included. Markings cover two vehicle paint schemes.


Taking the turret first, the instructions have you building subassemblies of hatches and optics. I was impressed with the heat-sink detail. The welded turret comprises several pieces, but everything fit well. However, the sheer complexity of the Shtora system makes it a challenge.


Clear optical lenses and vision blocks are provided. I painted the lenses Tamiya clear red and smoke according to my main reference, The T-72 and T-90 Tank, by Steven Zaloga and David Markov (Concord, ISBN 978-962-361-673-7). The lenses were backed with white paper, and I used a UMM-USA punch set to make masks for the lenses.


The 12.7mm machine gun was another complex build, with shallow attachment points that make it a weak join. Note: Be careful installing the turret in the hull top; Part F68 is easy to break.


The hull bottom is made of three pieces; I glued and clamped it for a good, square fit. Detail on the hull bottom is good overall. With their small pins, the axles have some play in them; make sure to check alignment. The plow can only be built stowed.


The only change I made to the running gear was not gluing Part D21. This let me adjust the idler to the track. The tracks are link-and-length with separately molded guide horns.


Building the hull top was easy. I glued the plastic screens with Tamiya thin cement, but I think photoetched-metal mesh would have been better. The covers (parts D26) are hard to glue in the open position.


I chose a soft-edged three-color camouflage; pictures of it show a lot of overspray. I airbrushed Tamiya olive drab, buff, and flat black, and weathered with Tamiya pastels. Decals went down well over a gloss coat, settling into irregular surfaces.


The finished model is impressive, but, because of the complex subassemblies, I recommend the kit to experienced modelers. I took me 33 hours to build this one.


Note: A version of this review appeared in the October 2012 FineScale Modeler.

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