ARM: Review - HobbyBoss 1/35 scale T-26 Light Infantry Tank Mod.35

Kit Review: Hobby Boss 1/35 scale Kit No. 82496; Soviet T-26 Light Infantry Tank Mod. 1935; 617 parts (361 in light brown styrene, 228 in olive styren
e, 27 etched brass, 1 clear styrene); retail price around $46.95
Advantages: nicely done new mold kit of this seminal infantry tank; highly detailed suspension, correct dimensions for the hull and turret
Disadvantages: finicky small parts and three-part single link tracks will n ot be popular with many modelers
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all ?Between the Wars? and early war Soviet armor f ans
    In 1930 the Soviets laid out their views of tanks that were needed for com bat and found they wanted six types: amphibious tanks, light tanks (both fo r scouting), infantry escort tanks, fast tanks, medium tanks and heavy/brea kthrough tanks. Having purchased the Vickers ?Six Ton? tank, it was fel t this was the perfect basis for the Infantry Escort Tank and adapted it to their production lines as the T-26.
    The first variants had twin machine gun turrets or later a combination of one machine gun and one 37mm short cannon turrets. But as it was felt it wa s lacking in firepower, they soon consolidated on one turret with the 45mm 20-K tank gun as the T-26 tank Model 1933. Note that the year designators ? while very helpful for modelers ? was not used by the Soviet Red Army . They only differentiated them from one another as ?twin turret?, ?s ingle turret? and ?radio? tanks.
    The Model 1935 was an improved tank with an integral bustle for increased ammo stowage in the turret and partially welded components. It also had oth er changes to the driver-mechanic?s hatches and also switched from the cu mbersome ?box? jack to a simple hydraulic jack which changed the rear d eck stowage of the tank.
    Hobby Boss has now released the second T-26 kit, the first being the Model 1931 ?twin turret? version. It is a very impressive kit and unlike the hasty Spojna conversions to ?T-26s? or the mis-proportioned Zvezda kit s, this one has all of its dimensions right on the money per the Kolomiyets book on the T-26 tank family. The bogies are deadly accurate with both inn er and outer details as well as the ability to articulate if the modeler so feels to do it.
    The modeler has some options such as making the model as either a T-26 ? line tank? (Russian term) or a T-26RT radio equipped command tank. The la tter comes with an amazingly molded one piece antenna assembly that include s all of the brackets and the feed attachment to the turret in one go!
    But that level of accuracy and detail comes at a price. The bogies are inc redibly complex with each one consisting of 21 parts of which four are axle pins and several others are connector pins. They also only come with the e arly solid rubber tires and not the later and more durable steel wheels wit h rubber tires.
    The tracks look to be a set of Model Kasten working T-26 tracks, and as su ch come with three parts per link: the link and inner and outer pins. An as sembly jig is provided to permit ?easy? assembly but as many modelers k now this is not as simple as it sounds.
    The rest of the details are much simpler. While the ?box? jack is incl uded in the kit, it comes with the proper hydraulic jack on the rear deck a s well as a pair of steel wheels as spares! The engine air intake grille is nicely done and an etched grille is provided for the engine air exhaust sh roud at the left rear of the hull. The only thing missing is the length of heavy chain carried by all T-26s for towing which should go between the tow hooks on the rear of the hull.
            While there actually are a large number of colorful Red Army schemes for this tank, the only finishing option is the popular Spanish Republican Arm y one for a captured T-26 with the red/yellow/red and white with black X tu rret markings. A decal sheet is included for those markings as well as some slogans.
    Overall this is an excellent model but a fussy one to assemble and I for o ne will probably replace the three-part single link tracks with the older M odel Kasten single piece ones.
Cookie Sewell
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