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Takom Type 69-II

With the loss of Soviet support after the Sino-Soviet split, China developed its own arms industry. The Type 69 was that industry’s first main battle tank. Based on the T-54, it incorporated parts copied from a T-62 captured during a border conflict in 1969. Some Western technology was introduced in the 1980s, and more than 2,000 Type 69 were exported.

Takom’s kit represents a Type 69-II in Iraqi service. Fine detail marks the gray plastic. Features include individual track links separated from the sprues, clear headlight lenses and periscopes, and two photo-etched (PE) frets. A nice touch is the inclusion of actual twisted wire for the tow cables.

Decals provide markings for six vehicles: four Iraqi, one Iranian, and one Thai. Five-view diagrams clearly show the camouflage and markings with Ammo of Mig Jimenez color references. No detail-painting instructions are given.

The assembly diagrams are good, but a couple of times I had to search other views to confirm part placement.

Assembly starts with the lower hull. Unfortunately, the initial release of the kit provides an incorrect lower hull. If the front plate (V2) has clipped rear corners, you have the wrong parts. It should be square, as should the first suspension points. Takom has corrected parts available; check with your retailer or contact the distributor for your region.

You must choose whether to build the regular or command version when adding the rear plate in Step 8.

Takom provides separate wheels and tires. The real tires come out of a complex mold that leaves distinctive raised lines. These are a little overstated on the kit parts, but light sanding will mitigate the effect. You may think masking won’t be necessary because the parts are separate, but the outer wheel rim is faintly molded on the tires.

The track links have two slightly raised ejector-pin marks on the flat surface that can be removed with a couple of swipes of a file. The instructions call for 92 links per side, but I used 86 for a perfect fit.

Happily, the separate fenders make installing the tracks after painting easy. I built both fenders off the model except for the rear fender braces (TP19, TP18, L6).
Takom supplies pipes for the external fuel tanks, a welcome addition.

The PE headlight covers show an excellent tread pattern, but you need some chops to bend them. It’s a shame Takom didn’t offer a plastic alternative for those who fear the brass.

 Turret assembly went smoothly, but I had minor issues issue fitting the bottom plate until I realized I was using the wrong one. It pays to check those part numbers.
The nicely molded turret stowage baskets fit well, but folding the PE sensor cover (TPa-7) was challenging.
The molded vinyl mantlet dust cover looks great, but I had issues attaching the laser rangefinder to it; no matter what I did, it wanted to point down, not level.
The two-piece gun barrel fit well, only needing a few dabs of filler where I was a little heavy-handed removing the sprue attachments.

I painted my Type 69-II using Tamiya paints, then applied decals over clear gloss. They laid down with a touch of Microscale decal solutions. After weathering the tank I added the wheels and tracks, then installed the fenders and tow cables.

I spent 26 hours on my Type 69, and the model matches perfectly the dimensions I found on I was impressed with the model; it shows good detail and offered just enough challenge to keep it interesting.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the February 2017 issue.

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