ARM: Review - HobbyBoss 1/35 scale T-37A Amphibious Tank

Kit Review: Hobbyboss 1/35 scale kit No. 83821; Soviet T-37A Light Tank (Iz
horsky); 310 parts (196 in brown styrene, 105 in olive green styrene, 9 et
ched brass); retail price US$43.99
Advantages: superior kit to previous LF Fort entry; petite DT machine gun a
nd details; well molded kit
Disadvantages: single link tracks should have been replaced by link and len
gth for this small a vehicle
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all amphibian and early war Soviet fans
Of all of the early Soviet tank designers, probably the luckiest man of th
e lot was Nikolay Aleksandrovich Astrov. He was a promising young engineer
at a lamp factory in Moscow when he was arrested as an "enemy of the people
" in 1929. Sent to the formidable Butyrskiy Prison, he was soon fortunate e
nough to be sent to what the Soviets called a "Sharashka" - a design bureau
working for the OGPU that provided better treatment than the prisons did.
While there he showed a flair for armor design by creating the PT-1 and PT-
1A amphibious tanks; while they were not accepted it did lead to his releas
e from prison in 1934 and return to more serious tasks of tank design.
Assigned as chief tank designer at the Izhorsk factory, one of his first t
asks was taking the T-37A light amphibious scout tank designed by OKMO in L
eningrad and getting into production at their plant. Astrov changed a numbe
r of the less desirable features of the tank, such as adding tapered floats
to the fenders to give it more buoyancy in the stern and other changes. In
1935 he totally redesigned the T-37A and came up with the superior T-38 ta
nk. 2,356 T-37 tanks were built at Izhorsk including 75 chemical tanks (e.g
. flamethrowers) and 436 radio/command versions. All but about 300 were pro
duced under Astrov's control.
A number of years ago LF Fort from Ukraine produced a kit of the T-37A rad
io tank with its distinctive "handrail" antenna. That kit had 294 parts, al
l in grey styrene, but as many kits of its vintage was produced by early ea
stern European methods meaning multi-part hulls and turrets, "short shot" p
arts, and some just plain simple molding.
This kit is a state-of-the-art kit with a one piece hull tub and one piece
turret shell with first-rate molding. While it unfortunately retains the c
oncept of single link tracks, they are crisply molded on seven sprues and f
oam packing is provided between each sprue to protect the delicate teeth on
the links.
Each bogie consists of 11 parts and comes on its own sprue; the bogies com
e with styrene springs but then again it does make for a simpler build.
The etched brass in this kit is used very smartly (about time, HobbyBoss!)
and covers the parts which benefit from it. These include wave deflectors
at the front, muffler straps, and the engine intake grating.
There is no interior in the kit but it comes with a very nice and petite D
T machine gun and ammo disk but no details inside the hatches.
Three finishing schemes are offered, all in 4BO dark green: parade vehicle
with red stars; white band across turret and white square with black 1 ins
ide it; and wargame markings with white bands on the four sides of the turr
et (front/back/left/right) with two yellow marking bands. A small sheet of
decals is provided for them.
Overall this is a really nice kit but for tracks this petite HobbyBoss sho
uld think about link-and-length configurations.
Cookie Sewell
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