ARM: Review - Modelcollect 1/72 scale Russian T-90MS Main Battle Tank

Kit Review: Modelcollect 1/72 scale Kit No. UA72010; T-90MS Main Battle Tan k; 187 parts (184 in grey styrene, 2 in tan flexible plastic, 1 cast white metal); retail price US$17.95

Advantages: first kit of this vehicle in any scale in styrene; nicely done modular details to build the correct version

Disadvantages: cast white metal lower hull passe

Rating: Highly Recommended

Recommendation: for all small scale Soviet/Russian armor fans

For many years those modelers who stuck with 1/72 armor (or worse, 1/76 ar mor) were not quite pariahs but to paraphrase Rodney Dangerfield "they don' t get no respect". Generally referred to as "braille scale modeling" it sor t of sank into semi-obscurity.

This has undergone a massive change in the last ten years, and now not onl y has it taken off but there appear to be as many companies making new kits as there are in 1/35. I saw the display by Free Time Models out of Georgia (US one!) at the 2016 AMPS Show and they had what appeared to the entire l ine of Modelcollect kits for sale. These models are produced in Guangzhou, China and the offering seem to cover every extant version of the Soviet and Russian T-72, T-80 and T-90 tank families. I picked up this one to see how it compared with both DML 1/72 kits as well as modern 1/35 scale offerings .

On sorting through the box my only real disappointment with this kit was t hat it reverted to the original DML 1/72 offerings with cast white metal lo wer hulls. While it does give the model some badly needed "heft" it also ma kes construction and/or modification a lot more difficult.

Other than that it is a very nicely done kit. Modelcollect makes things si mple for the T-72/T-90 kits by provind all three sets of outer wheels in on e go - early eight-bolt T-72 wheels L-3), six bolt T-72 wheels (L-2), and s ix-bolt T-90 style wheels (L-1). The tracks are not shown as using ACC for attachment and may, as they appear to be nearly identical in color and comp osition to DML "DS Plastic" tracks, be connected with a good quality liquid plastic cement.

Oddly enough the construction starts with the turret. The gun is designed to operate but most modelers will probably fix it in place but as an armore d cover fits over it you probably don't need to putty up the mantelet cover to look right. The barrel itself is slide molded with an open bore and als o has the attached UUI muzzle reference sensor in place.

The remote operation 7.62mm machine gun consists of six parts but does not operate. The commander's and gunner's hatches may be fitted open or closed . Grenade launcher banks are built up in three sections for each side of th e turret and look correct.

The hull is nicely designed to take different glacis plates so one hull sp rue can serve for all tanks from the T-72A up to the later T-90 variants. T his one has a separate panel for "Relikt" ERA and a separate driver's hatch as well. Like the previous T-72B2 "Rogatka" it has a mount at the left rea r of the hull for an APU and the V-92S2 "Sil'fon" exhaust outlet attaches t o the section in front of the APU.

The T-90MS combines new frontal armored skirts with built-in ERA and the " Reshetka" grill (slat) armor sections from the "Rogatka" at the rear. These are present in the kit.

Wheels are nicely done with even the guard in the middle of the drivers pr esent (B14). While the directions do not state it you will need ACC to atta ch the wheels to the metal lower hull. Some modelers will probably not appr eciate the fact the scraper blade assembly is cast into the lower hull, but the stern plate and all of its details are separate and made of styrene. Finishing directions cover only the version of this tank (there are an unk nown number that have been built with only one having been shown at a time) shown at Nizhniy Tagil in 2014 in two-tone brown and sand. The box photo s hows one in three tone sand, ochre and dark green however. While a nice lit tle decal sheet is provided, neither tank uses any markings.

Overall this is a gem of a kit and in the hands of someone like Alex Clark can be a masterpiece. But the throwback cast metal hull will cause some di sappointment.

Cookie Sewell

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