ARM: Review - Soviet T-62 BDD Model 1984 (Model 1972 Modification)

Kit Review: Trumpeter 1/35 scale Kit No. 01554; Russian T-62 Mod. 1972; 579=
parts (534 in grey styrene, 20 in black styrene, 12 clear styrene, 11 etch=
ed brass, 1 turned aluminum barrel, 1 length of twisted copper wire); retai=
l price US$57.95
Advantages: Nicely executed Afghan War upgrade set; beautifully done detail=
s and numerous detail options
Disadvantages: some quirky detail errors and STILL one remaining point of c=
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all Soviet era modelers and fans of the =E2=80=9C62-ka=
F I R S T L O O K=20
When the Soviets went into Afghanistan in December 1979, they figured it w=
ould be a simple job to take over the country and pacify the Muslim populat=
ion. This turned into a ten year slog, and it did not take the Mujahedin lo=
ng to figure out Soviet weapons were best when used to kill Soviet weapons.=
The RPG-7 easily sliced up the T-62, which was by then 20 years old and de=
signed to 1950s requirements. They also used mines and the first improvised=
explosive devices =E2=80=93 IEDs today =E2=80=93 to hobble or destroy tank=
s and other vehicles.=20
The solution was a complete package of improvements which could be easily =
mounted on the T-62 tank. Called =D0=91=D0=94=D0=94 (which expanded to Bezo=
pastnost=E2=80=99 Drozhogo Dvizheniya or Road Movement Security) the packag=
e both upgraded the T-62's combat capabilities as well as vastly improve it=
s protection against RPGs and mines. This included: a passive armor array o=
n the glacis; passive armor arrays on the turret cheeks, nicknamed =E2=80=
=9CIlich=E2=80=99s Eyebrows=E2=80=9D after Brezhnev; a passive armor array =
on the belly extending back to the second road wheel station; a suspended d=
river=E2=80=99s seat to keep him from directly absorbing mine blasts; steel=
mesh reinforced side skirts; and =E2=80=9CTucha=E2=80=9D smoke projectors.=
Offensively the tank also received a laser rangefinder over the main gun.=
Photos show most of the tank so fitted were actually Model 1962 or Model 1=
966 variants of the tank, but later the Model 1972 was fitted. These latter=
tanks are still in service with the Russian Army (50 years after entering =
service!) and many are now fitted with =E2=80=9Cbar=E2=80=9D or =E2=80=9Csl=
at=E2=80=9D armor as well.=20
While this option has been available as an after market kit for some years=
(as well as being part of the similar upgrade that yielded the T-55AM2 ser=
ies tanks) this is the first time it has been offered as a complete model k=
This is Trumpeter=E2=80=99s third look at the T-62 but they still have not=
fixed the hull profile at the rear; the engine deck slopes down and the re=
ar plate fits at nearly a 90 degree angle to the deck, giving it a slight b=
ackward slant. Alas, the kit still has the rear set at 90 degrees to the gr=
ound. At least once the auxiliary fuel tanks and unditching log are in plac=
e it is hard to see the angle.=20
As with the Model 1972 Trumpeter did change a considerable amount of parts=
from the Model 1962 kit. First off, they replaced the original OMSh track =
(T-54/T-55 style) with RMSh tracks (T-72 style) and a new set of drivers to=
fit those tracks. These are single pin =E2=80=9Cdead=E2=80=9D tracks and a=
re provided in the kit as single link track.=20
The turret is the later production one and comes with a nicely done loader=
=E2=80=99s hatch with separate race and an eight-part DShKM machine gun wit=
h a very nicely done muzzle brake; it does not have a =E2=80=9Cslide molded=
=E2=80=9D muzzle for the tube but is clear from side to side, which is norm=
ally the harder part to clean up.=20
The model has a new engine deck with new covers and details, and a separat=
e fording cover for the fan exhaust is provided; oddly there is still NO gr=
ille to go underneath it so you have to cement it shut. All of the other en=
gine vents have etched brass grilles over them as well as separate fording =
An option is provided for KMT mine roller mounts on the bow or smooth, alb=
eit the illustration of the smooth lower glacis (part C13) is upside down.=
This time no drilling is indicated for the turret shell as it does not mou=
nt =E2=80=9Cdesant=E2=80=9D handrails or spare 12.7mm ammo cans. A travel m=
ount for the DShKM is included (part E3) and the modeler has a choice of wh=
ere to attach it to the turret. The casing ejector port (part G1) is also s=
eparate. The OG-2 searchlight mount is a bit spartan but I think most model=
ers will not notice (it is actually two thin steel plates held apart by rub=
ber spacers to provide shock absorption to the searchlight bulb, but here i=
t is partially hidden by the right cheek applique). The commander=E2=80=99s=
OG-3 is better and has a more accurate mount. =20
All other details remain as before. The hull is molded as a tub with torsi=
on bar mount and belly pan details in place, and other details are present =
on the upper hull as well. The suspension is completely separate and provid=
es for the =E2=80=9Clever arm=E2=80=9D shock absorbers, even providing spec=
ial corner wheel sets for each one. Each wheel has a separate tire in black=
styrene and creates a wheel unit with relatively accurate width. The tires=
bear the external mold markings found on some tires but are easily removed=
, but as with most round objects the tread face will need sanding or trimmi=
ng as well. The =E2=80=9Cstarfish=E2=80=9D shape is pretty accurate and the=
wheels are index so they line up spoke in opening like the actual wheel se=
Details include the track bumpers (four per side), fender guards and separ=
ate fenders. The fenders even have the drain holes present in each straight=
run and the front and rear tips are separate items.=20
Details about and in many cases you have options. The fuel tanks are not b=
ad for the early ones, and Trumpeter seems to be aware of the fact that the=
rear pair on the right fender are linked together by an angle iron strip; =
the kit has them molded together with the iron in between. But if you wish =
to =E2=80=9Cplumb=E2=80=9D the tank this is a bit awkward, as the fuel line=
connections go in between the tanks and will be hard to drill out with the=
tanks connected.=20
The modeler still has a choice between a turned aluminum gun barrel or a f=
ive-piece styrene one with a =E2=80=9Cslide molded=E2=80=9D bore, both of w=
hich then take an etched brass ring with the bolt heads on the bore evacuat=
or. However, the muzzle depth is not wide enough; the opening is correctly =
gauged at 115mm (about 3.2 mm) but somebody did not realize the cap on the =
muzzle is designed to protect the muzzle crown and is much larger (about 13=
5mm or 3.8mm). While this is easy to fix with the styrene barrel, it will b=
e tedious with the aluminum one. Two mantlets are provided, one =E2=80=9Cpi=
gsnout=E2=80=9D and one with a weather cover.=20
Fittings overall are petite and nicely done, and all lenses for lights are=
separate components as well. For example, the tow hooks have the cable ret=
ainers included as separate parts and the tubular guard for the headlights =
comes in two pieces to get a proper design.=20
There are still minor glitches in the kit. As an example, there is still n=
o heat shroud between the oil tank (B-10) and the exhaust outlet (C-6).=20
Decals consists of a targeted sheet for two specific tanks: a Soviet one w=
ith a rare four-digit bort number and unit markings in Khaki No. 2, and an =
Afghan Army tank with tricolor camouflage and post-1979 Afghan Army marking=
s. Color four views are provided for both tanks along with recommended colo=
r matches for Mr. Hobby, Model Master, Tamiya and Humbrol.=20
Overall while it is disappointing that Trumpeter still has not fixed the t=
wo main bugaboos with this kit it is nice to have an easy to install BDD pa=
ckage for the old warrior.
Cookie Sewell
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