Kit Review: SKIF 1/35 scale Kit No. 226; T-80UDK Tank; 307 parts (292
parts in medium green styrene, 14 in black vinyl, 1 length of steel
wire); estimated retail price US$36 (note: out of production and molds
have changed hands)
Advantages: relatively accurate dimensional model of a very early
T-80UD; can be built into a good model with additional details
Disadvantages: soft details, kit based on prototypes or pre-production
validation lot vehicles
Rating: Recommended with Reservations
Recommendation: for all modern Soviet armor fans
The T-80 has been around for some time - if the Soviet sources now
released by the Russians are correct, the first tanks went into
service in 1978. The current service models, the T-80B, T-80BV and
T-80U, are still one of the main elements of the reported 12,000
serviceable tanks in the Russian Army. The T-80UD tanks, which were
designed and built by the
A. A. Morozov" Kharkov Design Bureau for Machinery Construction and
the "Malyshev" Factory, were a method by which the Ukranian factory
combined its oppposed piston engines with the Leningrad-designed and
Omsk-built T-80U chassis. Only about 200 of them were built, serving
with the "parade" divisions in the Moscow area, and most famously were
shown in October 1993 during the standoff between Boris Yeltsin and
the Russian Parliament.
The tanks were seen to come wheeling up, take up positions, and after
about two hours began to fire on the building. The first round fired
went into the office of Ruslan Khasbulatov, getting his attention (he
was out in the hall with his compatriot Aleksandr Rutskoy at the time)
and firing on the building for about an hour until the MVD Internal
Troops stormed the White House.
Since then it has been reported that all of the T-80UDs, under the
usual situation of "not invented here" (e.g. built in either Omsk or
Nizhniy Tagil in Russia) were shipped back to Ukraine in the mid
1990s. The tank remains under production there with a new, welded
turret and Ukrainian improvements as the T-84.
SKIF has a notorious reputation with modelers for hit or miss with
its kits, with the "hits" being weak and the "misses" being awful. As
such, when SKIF came out with this kit, rumored to be a reboxing of a
smaller company's kit which was rated badly, I gave it a pass. This
year at AMPS 2007 Baseline Hobbies was clearing out their stock at
quite reasonable prices (this kit was $10) so I picked one up. If you
build Russian armor as I do, "parts is parts."
Surprisingly, this kit is really not that bad. Overall it is
reasonably accurate in its primary dimensions, and the road wheels -
while a bit crude - are the proper size and shape. The tracks, while
flimsy and made of some sort of soft vinyl, are the correct size and
correct pattern (unlike SKIF's truly horrible T-64 vinyl tracks, which
could not figure out if they wanted to be T-64 or T-80 track!) The
turret on this kit is correct in shape and size (where it also beats
out their T-64 series kits) and as a result it seems better than at
Those are the kit's high points. But first and foremost while it is a
"K" or commander's model, and comes with the 11 meter radio antenna
mast, nowhere in the directions does it say that antenna is only used
when the tank is in a fixed position and that it needs two sets of guy
wires or lines to hold it in place!
The engine deck is correct, but only for one of the prototypes or pre-
production validation (ustavleniye) series tanks. Production T-80UDs
had an engine deck nearly identical to that on the T-64B.
While the tank comes with a complete reactive armor suite,
unfortunately SKIF molded the early model tanks with 4S20 "Kontakt-1"
first generation reactive armor "bricks". Nearly all of the
production model T-80UDs were fitted with 4S22 "Kontakt-5" second
generation reactive armor modules, which are like those found in the
DML T-80 Model 1989 - the T-80UD. The two are completely different in
Given all that, the model DOES provide for the basis to build a good
model of a T-80UD - but it needs help. By combining this kit's basics
with the engine deck, rear plate components, details and "Kontakt-5"
reactive armor suite from the DML T-80 SMT Model 1989 (T-80UD) and new
tracks from a company like Miniarm or Fruil a relatively decent model
can be built. Built from the box, it will lack something and look a
bit toylike around the edges.
Finishing directions are provided for a Soviet/Russian three color
paint scheme (sand, olive drab and black) but the only markings are
for two generic tanks and one Ukranian tank.
Overall this model is not as bad as I would have thought, but it
needs help to become a good example of the T-80 family. At least it
says something about the poor representation T-80 has had among
modelers in that this is the best of four kits of T-80s of which I
15 years ago