ARM: Review - HobbyBoss 1/35 scale Soviet T-28Eh Medium Tank

Kit Review: Hobbyboss 1/35 scale Kit No. 83854; Soviet T-28E Medium Tank; 8

27 parts (448 in tan styrene, 250 in brown styrene, 128 etched brass, 1 len gth of twisted copper wire); retail price US$68.99

Advantages: easily the best and most detailed version of this vehicle on th e market; parts breakdown not too unwieldy

Disadvantages: lots of tiny (sub 1mm) rivets to be added from etched brass

Rating: Highly Recommended

Recommendation: for all early war Soviet Armor fans

In the 1930s the Soviets figured out the classes of tanks they would need to carry out their version of "blitzkrieg" warfare: amphibious scout tanks, light tanks, cavalry tanks, escort tanks, medium tanks, and heavy tanks. A s a result, these were the goals they built to: the first two were eventual ly combined and included the T-37, T-38, T-40, and T-30; the cavalry tanks were the BT series; escort tanks, the T-26 series; medium tanks, the T-24 a nd T-28; and the heavy tanks, the T-35.

Each family of tanks had a specific mission. Light tanks scouted; cavalry tanks raided and fought enemy tanks; escort tanks accompanied the infantry; medium tanks carried out the exploitation of a breakthrough; and heavy tan ks made the breakthrough. Or at least the idea was on paper.

The designers at Factory No. 174 in Leningrad (the old Putilov factory) de signed a new medium tank in 1933 which became the T-28. Originally designed to carry a very-short barreled 76.2mm howitzer and three 7.62mm DT machine guns, it evolved to later carry the longer L-10 gun and another machine gu n with optional mounting either in the rear of the turret or on an AA mount over the commander's hatch. The armament, as with all pre-war medium desig ns, was "multilayered" with two separate machine gun turrets on the front q uadrants and a main turret elevated above them. The machine gun in this tur ret was not coaxial but fired from a separate ball mount to the right of th e main gun.

Power came from a derated M-17 aircraft engine and with 500 HP the 25.2 me tric ton tank could roll along at 40 kph. 517 of these tanks were built bet ween 1933 and 1939, with each production year slightly different in design from the previous one.

Unfortunately, the armor was no more than 30mm thick and as a result once engaged in combat in the "Winter War" with Finland its weaknesses became ob vious. An upgrade program did see most tanks (more than 300 of the 517) fit ted with the better L-10 gun and 10-20mm of additional armor protection, bu t few of the tanks received the applique armor upgrade before the war broke out. A handful did survive the war and were scrapped in 1947.

Approximately 15 years ago Alan of Russia came out with the first plastic kit of a T-28, which was (like many Alan kits) crude and not very accurate. Roughly two years later ICM from Ukraine released their version, but it wa s schizophrenic as it could not figure out which version of the T-28 it wan ted to be.

This is the second of at least three kits on the T-28 from Hobbyboss (earl y, late with conical turret and this one, the T-28Eh (for "s Ehkranami") up armored and upgunned version.

The kit has all of the features of the upgraded T-28s with the longer L-10 gun and the tarpaulin stowage rack on the left rear of the hull. It also c omes with the curious but correct replacement solid steel wheels on bogies

4 and 5 on each side of the hull. The turret shell comes with the applique armor molded in place and a drop-in roof section (with cast Soviet star and also fittings for the P-40 AA machine gun mount).

The suspension is complete which is interesting as once the model is compl eted most of it can no longer be seen! The actual vehicles had armored cove rs with mud chutes covering the suspension but for those who want to show a T-28 under repair or damaged this is a nice touch. The rest of the modeler s can skip the suspension parts in Step 4.

Most of the applique sections require that bolt and rivet heads need to be shaved off the existing parts so the builder must pay close attention to t he instructions.

As this is a late (e.g. post Spanish and Finnish wars) version it has to h ave mesh installed inside the air intakes (parts C3) and this is provided i n the very complete etched frets in the kit.

Note that this tank has right and left tracks and they are designated as T R parts 1 and 2. Both come 25 apiece on the sprues and the directions indic ate 118 per side are needed for a complete run. (Be happy that they do not need separate guide teeth!)

The kit comes with two separate types of ZIP (stowage) bins on the sides o f the front hull but it is up to the modeler. Most tanks that I have seen s eem to have the type with the hinges at the bottom of the side panels.

Please note that the tarpaulin stowage frame (part D10) is correct and avo id the desire to purchase an after-market one with etched brass - this part was "soldier-proofed" and as such is pretty sturdy. Also note that part C2

9 is an exhaust deflector which was installed to prevent a backfire from bu rning it up.

The wing turrets come with the applique installed on them as with the main turret but you have a choice of armored fronts for them. As with the hull there are extra sections of applique to install on the turrets.

Happily the version selected was welded for the most part and the applique panels tended to also be welded in place. This means the majority of the i tty-bitty brass rivet heads can be ignored.

Four finishing schemes are offered: a captured German tank with white cros ses over what appears to be 4BO green; a winter camouflage scheme of 4BO gr een, red brown and light grey/white; a summer camouflage scheme of 4BO gree n, red brown and tan with white markings; and a whitewashed tank circa late 1941 with bort number red 230. A decal sheet is provided for those marking s.

Overall this is a nicely executed kit that permits the modeler to do with it as he wishes and also to simplify the construction (and shorten the buil d time) if he wants.

Cookie Sewell

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