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Meng T-10M Heavy Tank

RELATED TOPICS: REVIEW | ARMOR | TANKS | MILITARY
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The Cold War-era T-10M, the ultimate Soviet heavy tank, traces its lineage through the IS tanks of late World War II to the KV tank designed in the late 1930s. The vehicles were built at two factories, and there are substantial differences in appearance as a result. 

In FSM’s last “Most-Wanted Kit” survey, the T-10 made the top five in 1/35 scale armor, just behind the Soviet tank’s American counterpart, the M103 (FSM, November 2013). Meng answered those requests with an all-new state-of-the-art kit of this impressive Cold War beast.

Flawlessly molded in dark green plastic, the kit features individual-link workable track, photo-etched (PE) engine screens, clear light lenses and periscopes, articulating suspension, optional turret stowage box, and separate hatches.

The one-piece lower hull features subtle casting texture and integral sponson-blocking plates. Detailed road-wheel arms incorporate torsion bars that extend across the hull and allow the suspension to articulate, perfect for dioramas. Two styles of drive sprockets are provided.

The upper hull mates with the lower half perfectly. The kit’s engineering was so precise that I used no filler at all during the build.

The PE screens for the engine deck fit the opening without trouble and look terrific.

Other hull details include auxiliary fuel tanks and smoke canisters out back, an unditching log for the starboard side, and stowage boxes, headlights with guards, and tow cables in front. The latter are provided as plastic parts rather than the typical thread, but they match the separate ends and conform to the hull.

The track links have excellent detail and assemble with a nifty two-part jig that guides insertion of track pins. Take note: Two types of pins are used — one for the outside edge and one for the hull side. The instructions are a little vague about how the jig operates, so study the diagrams and establish an assembly sequence.

I encountered no problems building the turret. The gunner’s and commander’s hatches both rotate and operate. The main and anti-aircraft guns assemble easily and have terrific detail. Stowage options include a rolled tarp or a bulbous turret bustle. I used the former to match photos of T-10Ms in Prague in 1968.

Decals mark four tanks, including two in Czechoslovakia in 1968. I painted my T-10 with Ammo of Mig Jimenez Soviet green shades. Photos of Soviet tanks in Prague show some with the ID stripes stopping halfway up the turret sides, so I did that rather than follow the kit instructions.

I completed Meng’s T-10M in 35 hours and enjoyed the build. The engineering makes construction a breeze, but the small parts, PE, and individual-link tracks make it a project for modelers with some experience. However, because the the PE and tracks fit so well, it might be a good entry point for someone wanting to get started on advanced techniques.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the April 2016 issue.

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