ARM: Review - LF/FORT Limited 1/35 scale T-37A Amphibious Tank

Kit Review: LF Models/FORT Limited Kit No. 35007; T-37A Early Version; 294 parts in grey styrene; price and availability vary
Advantages: only kit of this vehicle in this scale; provides options for either line tank or command tank with rail antenna
Disadvantages: somewhat crude moldings, delicate and fragile single link tracks
Rating: Recommended
Recommendation: for all early-war Soviet armor fans
    The T-37 was the first in a long line of amphibious light tanks which the Soviets foresaw as one of their five main types of tanks in the early 1930s (the others being infantry support light tanks, light fast tanks, medium tanks, and heavy breakthrough tanks). Created using some design elements of Carden-Loyd vehicles, the T-33 prototypes evolved through the T-41 to the T-37, and this entered full scale production in 1933. It soon evolved into the T-37A which featured flotation chamber fenders to assist it in swimming.
    Three production variants were seen – one using a welded hull and turret from Izhorsk and the others either a riveted/bolted one with smaller turret from Factory No. 37 or welded hull and turret from Podol’sk. A command variant was produced with a rail antenna running around the fenders and glacis of the vehicle on short posts, with a kink” at the rear to boost it up a few inches. 1,909 T-37A line tanks and 643 T-37A radio tanks were built from 1933-1936 (as well as some chemical tanks and other variants) when the tank was replaced in production by the improved T-38.
    Soviet light tanks – especially the prewar ones – have received some attention from model manufacturers, but mostly the smaller Eastern European ones. This kit is no exception, as it comes from the FORT Limited company in Ukraine. (I believe the molds are now in other hands and the production status of this kit is unknown as a result, but it can still be found at shows.)
    As a result, these kits are usually about one step above “garage” resin kits and this one is no exception. The parts are somewhat crude with a lot of flash, but checking them with a very good history in “Frontovaya Illyustratsiya” issue No. 3-2003 by Maksim Kolomiyets it scales out dead on the money. The kit is typical of eastern kits with “flat molding” and the only major components not molded that way are the one-piece belly pan and turret sides.
    The suspension units consist of two road wheels, two side frames, a big molded spring or optional parts to replace them with real springs (not included).
    The turret comes with a complete DT machine gun with separate 63- round drum, but this kit suffered from a “short shot” and the barrel was missing. (I can replace it, but it is always a pain when a vehicle has but a single machine gun for armament and the kit flubs it.)
    Some parts suffered from the molding techniques, but I do give FORT credit for warning you. For example, you have to drill a hole in the radiator housing to attach the taillight.
    The track links are petite and fragile, so be careful with the kit set (there is at least one after-market set available). The directions (which are in Russian, not Ukranian) are as clear as mud here, but what it is telling you is to thin and taper the driver teeth before installing the tracks. They also comment on adding a couple of links to get the track to sag properly.
    A large sheet of decals is included but in this example had curled due to the kit’s age. Unfortunately the directions do not provide a whit of information on what to do with them, so perhaps that is just as well! Suffice it to say they provide for most of the Soviet unit markings of the time and also some captured Finnish vehicles, but you will need a reference to get them right for a specific time and place.
    Overall this kit is not a simple one to build; I finished one as a T-37A radio tank back in 2003 and it was a struggle to complete it, especially with the screwball antenna mounts. But it is the only game in town and WILL build into a relatively accurate T-37A. (Prices vary, but I purchased this kit at a sale table for US $8.)
Cookie Sewell
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Apr 20, 7:02 am, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

The kit was re-issued by Maquette, which is also no longer in business. Maquette also issued the kit as "Pz.Kpfw T-37 731(r)" with "new turret" (not sure exactly what is meant by this ...). However the Maquette kits are probably slightly easier to find than the original Fort kits.
Aside from that, it's also not "the only kit in this scale", as it is also available as a mixed-media kit from SK. (If you mean "injected- plastic kit", then you should be more specific when making absolute statements, especially when you're dealing with relatively obscure subjects.)
(Fort -- and then Maquette -- also released kits of the very similar T-38, which was also the subject of kits released by AER and Co- opertiva; the Fort/Maquette kit being much better than the AER version.)
Bruce Probst Melbourne, Australia
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I have both the T-37A and T-38, and from what I recall (I did have two resin ones from very small companies, which were not worth use as fishing sinkers) there wasn't much else. Generally if there is no word on a kit on either Western or Eastern European blogs or newsgroups it means the kits not mentioned are not worth mentioning.
The molds get "washed" through other companies and sometimes they get changed, but the majority of kits I have purchased from Maquette are rarely changed for the better and their D-1 "multimedia kit" was plain awful.
The bottom line on this kit is that it DOES build into a T-37A but don't expect Tamiya ease of assembly.
Cookie Sewell
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.