ARM: Review - HobbyBoss 1/35 scale Russian T-50 Light Tank

Kit Review: HobbyBoss 1/35 scale Kit No. 83827; Russian T-50 Infantry Tank;
747 parts (512 in brown styrene, 194 in tan styrene, 38 etched brass, 2 cl
ear styrene, 1 copper wire); retail price US$45.99
Advantages: highly detailed kit of this unique if short-lived vehicle
Disadvantages: separate teeth for near 1/72 scale track links will be tedio
us to assemble; no formers for unique air intake grills in etched brass
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for Soviet and light tank fans
While Zhosef Kotin was working to corner the heavy tank sector in the Red
Army he did not forget about lighter vehicles. He felt that a good all arou
nd replacement for the aging T-26 series would also push the upstart T-34 t
ank to the sidelines and therefore put the competing design teams under his
direction to work on a new light tank design.
Both teams came up with similar tank designs, both using the 45mm tank gun
and the new V-4 diesel engine, a six-cylinder design which was essentially
half of the famous V-2 diesel.
The first version, Article 126, was from S.K. Ginzberg at Factory No. 174
but was rejected in favor of Article 211 from SKB-2 under A.S. Yermolayev a
t the Leningrad Kirov Factory. The tank was dubbed "Maliy Klim" by some due
to its resemblance to the running gear of the KV-1. But due to bad timing
and the start of the war locking down production of main types already in f
ull production the T-50 tank only saw about 70 built and of those only 48 w
ere armed. Some were upgraded with applique armor (s ehkranami) but most we
re not. Only two tanks survive today, one in Finland and one in Moscow.
The T-50 came out in kit form a number of years ago from Mirage and was th
en upgraded by Techmod with an excellent sheet of etched brass including pr
eformed air intake grills for the radiator intakes; these were a unique sha
pe and this made the Techmod versions of the kit the one for most serious m
odelers.
Now HobbyBoss has released a highly detailed kit of this unique offshoot o
f the Kirov school of armor design. It is typical for HobbyBoss with a huge
number of two-piece single link tracks, all of which are about the size of
a medium tank in 1/72 scale. The separate teeth make their assembly quite
tedious, and while HobbyBoss gets points for accuracy it does not lend itse
lf to the assembly experience for most modelers!
This version is the production version and therefore it is likely HobbyBos
s will release the uparmored version as well for mold amortization, probabl
y with the Finnish markings associated with the Parola survivor. This also
shows in the fact that step 2 is drilling holes from the inside of the uppe
r hull for detail attachment points.
Assembly is quite detailed with etched brass rings for the idlers and all
bump stops on the lower hull as separate parts. While there are positive lo
cking features on the road wheel arms (wedges) care must be taken in their
alignment.
The kit tracks provide 128 links per side with only 93 indicated as needed
, but the teeth are so small it is likely you may need the extras to replac
e the ones lost to the "carpet monster". Note that there are FOUR types of
links (two per side); two of each kind have the bolt head on the inside and
a nut on the outside (I think - I used a 10x loupe and that is what it loo
ked like) and one track is for the "flat runs" and the other for the "wrap"
sections. For the life of me I cannot tell them apart!
The section of brass wire is for lift rings for the engine access hatch at
the rear of the hull. The only real bugaboo will be using the kit provided
etched brass grills for the air intakes (parts PE 24 and 25) as the kit do
es not provide a former for the domed shape. The best advice I can offer is
to take the kit stryene parts (parts G31 and 32) and sand them smooth then
form the brass over them. These are quite obvious on the original vehicle
and most modelers - no matter how well they can paint and finish - would be
disappointed with the results using the stryene ones.
The turret provides a complete DT machine gun and drum for the turret - bu
t then not a bit of interior anywhere else! Go figure.
Finishing directions provide for one Soviet vehicle in what appear to be p
arade markings with red stars and white 20 markings.
Overall this is a nicely done if overwrought kit but I think the tracks ma
y bore modelers into putting back on the shelf which would be a shame.
Cookie Sewell
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AMPSOne
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