ARM: Review - Trumpeter 1/35 scale T-62 Model 1972 Medium Tank

Kit Review: Trumpeter 1/35 scale Kit No. 00377; Russian T-62 Mod. 1972; 534 parts (489 in grey styrene, 20 in black styrene, 12 clear
styrene, 11 etched brass, 1 turned aluminum barrel, 1 length of twisted copper wire); retail price US$49.95
Advantages: new mold kit fixes most of the errors in the Tamiya kit; beautifully done details and numerous detail options
Disadvantages: some quirky detail errors and one remaining point of contention
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all Soviet era modelers and fans of the “62-ka”
F I R S T L O O K
    When the Soviet Union accepted the T-62 for service in 1961, it was under the provision that it was only to serve as an interim “tank destroyer” until the T-64 tank entered service. As such, and with the belief that it could not use an antiaircraft machine gun against jet aircraft, it was initially produced without an antiaircraft (and anti- material) machine gun mount like those on the T-54 tank.
    Five years after the tank entered service it was slightly modified to operate with an OPVT underwater driving system and as such got a new engine deck and the intake tube as well as other minor changes.
    But after ten years in service and complaints from commanders that the T-62 did not possess an antiaircraft weapon for use against helicopters – and an identical complaint against the T-55 – both tanks were fitted with a mount for a 12.7mm DshKM heavy machine gun. This necessitated a new turret design with a bulge on the right side for the AAMG rotating mount. While both the T-55 and T-62 carried the same gun, after a few early models both tanks had different hatches and ring mounts.
    This became the face of the T-62 best known to the world, and it remained in production for another eight years with this weapon. Over 20,000 T-62 tanks were eventually built, but as of this writing it is hard to assess accurately how many were the later Model 1972. (Note that some countries like Iraq eventually created a cast and welded in place upgrade to the earlier Models 1962 and 1967 just to confuse things!)
    As I noted on the earlier version of this new kit (No. 00376) the T-62 initially scared NATO forces with its powerful 115mm smoothbore gun and APFSDS ammunition. But as intelligence worked on the problem they found out it had a number of serious drawbacks. Fire control was mediocre at best, accuracy of the gun was suspect, and if the semiautomatic ejector was working the tank could only get off four shots a minute, during which it was helpless due to the cycling of the device.
    The original 1977 Tamiya “T-62A” kit was of this vehicle, and while popular at first soon was noted as falling well short of the mark. Last spring Trumpeter released its long awaited and heavily anticipated kit of a Model 1962, and while far superior to the Tamiya kit it unfortunately had two glaring errors: a skewed loader’s hatch (the evidence showed only perhaps a few pre-prototype vehicles may have had such an arrangement) and a stern plate set at 90 degrees relative to the ground vice 90 degrees to the depressed engine deck (86 degrees from vertical which is noticeable when the tank is seen without the accouterments at the rear).
    Now Trumpeter has released its second kit, and many of us were curious if we rated as well as the aircraft modeling fraternity. Trumpeter made headlines among modelers several years back when they pulled a large scale model of an F4F-4 Wildcat from the market and redesigned the fuselage to get the shapes right.
    While this kit has a new turret that has to be judged in its own right, as to the question of the correction of the hull stern plate the answer is sadly, no.
    The good news is that Trumpeter did change a considerable amount of parts from the previous 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 “dead” tracks and are provided in the kit as single link track.
    The turret is the later production one and comes with a nicely done loader’s hatch with separate race and an eight-part DShKM machine gun with a very nicely done muzzle brake; it does not have a “slide molded” muzzle for the tube but is clear from side to side, which is normally the harder part to clean up.
    The model has a new engine deck with new covers and details, and a separate fording cover for the fan exhaust is provided; oddly there is NO grille to go underneath it so you have to cement it shut. All of the other engine vents have etched brass grilles over them as well as separate fording covers.
    An option is provided for KMT mine roller mounts on the bow or smooth, albeit the illustration of the smooth lower glacis (part C13) is upside down.
    For the turret the modeler must drill out the mounting holes for the “desant” handrails and spare 12.7mm ammo cans. A travel mount for the DShKM is included (part E3) and the modeler has a choice of where to attach it to the turret. The casing ejector port (part G1) is also separate. The OG-2 searchlight mount is a bit spartan but I think most modelers will not notice (it is actually two thin steel plates held apart by rubber spacers to provide shock absorption to the searchlight bulb). The commander’s OG-3 is better and has a more accurate mount.
    All other details remain as before. The hull is molded as a tub with torsion 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 provides for the “lever arm” shock absorbers, even providing special 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 trimming as well. The “starfish” shape is pretty accurate and the wheels are index so they line up spoke in opening like the actual wheel sets.
    Details include the track bumpers (four per side), fender guards and separate fenders. The fenders even have the drain holes present in each straight run and the front and rear tips are separate items.
    Details about and in many cases you have options. The fuel tanks are not bad 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 “plumb” 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.
    The modeler still has a choice between a turned aluminum gun barrel or a five-piece styrene one with a “slide molded” bore, both of which then take an etched brass ring with the bolt heads on the bore evacuator. 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 135mm or 3.8mm). While this is easy to fix with the styrene barrel, it will be tedious with the aluminum one.
    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 retainers included as separate parts and the tubular guard for the headlights comes in two pieces to get a proper design.
    There are still minor glitches in the kit. The weld bead where the lower and upper glacis joint is present, but it is a bit thick and inexplicably stops before it reaches the side of the hull. Also there is still no heat shroud between the oil tank (B-10) and the exhaust outlet (C-6).
    Decals consists of a targeted sheet for four specific tanks, the well- known Soviet 193 with its Guards badges and 185, and from the 1973 Yom Kippur War two Syrian camouflaged tanks, numbers 756 and 732. Color five-views are provided for 193 and 756. along with recommended color matches for Mr. Hobby, Model Master, Tamiya and Humbrol.
    Overall this kit still has some issues but is much better than the Model 1962 and in a different league from the Tamiya kit. Once the back of the tank is covered in kit and fuel tanks, most modelers will probably not notice the straight stern plate.
Cookie Sewell
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