ARM: Review - Hobby Boss 1/35 scale T-24 medium tank

Kit Review: Hobby Boss 1/35 scale Kit No. 82493; Soviet T-24 Medium Tank; 3 89 parts (175 in tan styrene, 144 in brown styrene, 70 etched brass); price
$46.95 via Squadron/MMD
Advantages: first kit of this vehicle in this scale in styrene; nicely done breakdown of parts enables accurate rendition of the vehicle with many opt ions
Disadvantages: very little reference material available and some obvious po stulation on the vehicle; missing radiator air intake
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all early armor fans and Soviet tank fans
F I R S T L O O K
    Everyone has to start someplace. The Soviets started their legendary tank industry in 1922 with a direct copy of the Renault FT (?Russkiy Reno?) but quickly moved on and began to foresee a massive tank fleet backing the Workers and Peasants Red Army (RKKA) in future wars. To that end, after a c ouple of abortive attempts to form an industry, the Revolutionary Military Councils formed the Main Design Bureau of the Weapons and Arsenal Trust (GK B OAT) and set them to design two new tanks: a small ?escort? tank for infantry support, and a larger ?maneuver? tank for breakthroughs and fi re power support.
    The first tank emerged as the MS-1 (later T-18) and over 860 tanks of this type were built between 1927 and 1930. The larger tank eventually appeared as the prototype T-12 maneuver or medium tank (even then heavier tanks wer e foreseen in the future) and was a 16 metric ton tank mounting a 45mm cann on and three machine guns. Both tanks were designed by the same teams, so b oth of them had nearly identical suspension designs: sprung four-wheel bogi es with a vertical coil spring and a set of return rollers on each assembly . Four assemblies per side were used on the T-12, as well as a large split idler at the front and a cast driver with a ?clamshell? scalloped shape to engage the teeth on the track links.
    The T-12 had numerous problems and did not meet its requirements, but the design was felt to be sound and so in late 1929 a new tank was proposed wit h corrections to the problems with the T-12. The new tank, the T-24, used a down-rated M-6 aviation engine and a new transmission design using twin di fferentials and final drive units. It borrowed most of its design features from the T-12 but added some new ones, such as a fourth machine gun and a b ow gunner. It was referred to as the ?Three Level Tank? with three leve ls of armament: a bow gun in the hull, two machine guns and the 45mm gun in the main turret, and a fourth machine gun in a small turret on the roof of the main one.
    The T-24 did enter production at the Kharkov Steam Locomotive Works (KhPZ) , but only 25 of these tanks were built before the line was terminated in f avor of the Christie Model 1932 tank from America, which with modifications entered production at the KhPZ as the BT-2. The reason was the T-24s were seen as expensive and capricious, but they were able to provide good servic e as trainers. The T-24s were all packed off to the Kharkov Military Distri ct for service, but by 1938 they were seen as not even having value as trai ning tanks. They were sent to be stripped of all running gear components an d converted for use as pillboxes in the fortified regions. But these tanks were never shipped out to those locations, and were captured by the Germans in 1941. Their further history remains unknown but were probably scrapped by the Germans.
    This interesting early tank has long been popular with Soviet armor fans, and in comparison with many other tanks of the time was an advanced design and the forerunner of tanks like the T-28 medium. In 2012 not one but TWO k its of the vehicle were announced, and Hobby Boss was first to the market w ith their kit.
    While the T-24 is a simple vehicle, Hobby Boss has done its best to copy t he design from available references and appear to have it pretty much spot on. As it was an early design, there is little on the tank of note in the w ay of external items and with only a few cutaways nothing to show for the i nterior, so the kit is relatively simple. But there are some odd omissions.
    The biggest missing item is the radiator air intake which goes on the righ t side of the rear hull behind the sponson bulge. This was an inherited fea ture from the T-12 and shows in the photos of the original under test. It i s directly opposite the muffler and shown in all good extant plans of the v ehicle. They do duplicate the shape of the intake on the rear panel on the right sponson (part D11) but seem to have missed the fact it is at the back of the intake! (For anyone wishing to add it the intake cowl is about 27mm long, rolled, and leaves about 2mm of space under it for air intake. The b race on the rear of part D11 can be used to figure its shape.)
    Also a screen has been added to the air exhaust at the rear of the hull; d ue to poor quality it is hard to determine if this was really there or simp ly interpolated. (At some point based on later designs it most likely would have had one added, so this is not a big whoop.)
    The bogie assemblies are neatly done and use PE parts for their side acces s plates and the sealing ring at the top; there are 13 parts to each one. N ote that all of the wheels have rubber rims and tires on them.
    The rest of the model is clean and easy to assemble. All four machine guns are flexible but the 45mm gun is fixed. The tail is clean and ejection-pin free and of a reasonably thin design so it looks proper.
    The model comes with a small PE fret but it includes about 40 spare bolt h eads for the clumsy to use in replacing anyone sanded off during assembly.
    There is a small sheet of decals but so far I haven?t been able to find any photos of the T-24s on exercise and verify them; they do look suitable for early 1930s ma rkings and the recommended ones (3 with a unit insignia and ?parade? wh eel trim in white) do spruce up what is a somewhat dull finish. But given i ts construction dates it is likely in the browner shade of green used befor e the 4BO (FS34102) color was standardized.
    Overall this is a well done model and the missing air intake is relatively simple to add from rolled stryene sheet.
Cookie Sewell
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