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Panda T-14 Armata

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/35 scale plastic model armor tank kit
Kit:PH-35016 // Scale:1/35 // Price:$74.95
Panda Hobby
Easy build; great workable tracks
Instructions have errors; decals were damaged
Injection-molded, 1,145 parts (28 PE), decals
Panda Hobby’s lovely new T-14 Armata really packs in the details of this modern Russian battle tank. The kit, molded in green plastic, features many nice touches, such as photo-etched (PE) grilles and some of the best plastic workable tracks I’ve built.

Don’t let the high part count (1,145) scare you: Panda’s T-14 builds easily.

The main tank has just 351 parts, while the rest are tracks parts; if you aren’t making them workable, they build quickly. It also helps that more then half of the tracks are covered by the tank’s side skirts, so you don’t really have to build the full length of tracks. It’s your choice.

Things start quickly. The hull is a bathtub style and builds fast, as there is no interior and no fit issues. But I suggest you dry-fit all suspension components if you follow the directions. The steps there make it hard to fit some of the back sides into place. I also would vary from the directions by putting in the tow lines at the tank’s rear; measure for yourself to get the proper length. If you do it as instructed, the lines will be too short; allow an extra millimeter or so.

I also left the side skirts off until all painting was finished, making it easier to get to the hard-to-reach areas. I’m not sure it was necessary, though, as the side skirts are so close to the road wheels that inside details can’t be seen.

The turret was slightly more involved but still a smooth build. Panda filled every nook and cranny of the turret with crisp details, although these also are slightly covered by the outer armor. You can still see them though.

For better results, I suggest leaving the outside armor plate piece off until you have added a base coat to the turret’s inner components. Otherwise, there are a lot of areas that can be missed yet are still visible.

Naturally, the longest part of the build was the tracks. They weren’t difficult, just time-consuming. I found the fastest way to build them was to batch-build the different components, then assemble a full length all at once. This meant gluing all the track pads to all the loose links first.

After the tracks were dry, I attached all the guide horns to one side of the tracks and started snapping the links together. Each link is held together by the two sides of a link snapping together, and then a guide horn snapping around the center of each link. Be careful snapping them together, though, as they are a little fragile due to the scale thickness of some parts. But when they are finished, they are some of the best moving tracks I have ever built.

Despite its part count, Panda’s T-14 Armata was a surprisingly easy build that any modeler with a couple of armor builds under his or her belt could handle. The T-14 will be a great addition to any modern Russian armor collection, and rewarding if you are simply looking for a fun build of something a bit different.

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