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 =9362-ka=94
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 =93tank
destroyer=94 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 =96 and an identical complaint against the T-55 =96 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 =93T-62A=94 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=92s 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 =93dead=94 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=92s hatch with separate race and an eight-part DShKM machine gun
with a very nicely done muzzle brake; it does not have a =93slide
molded=94 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
=93desant=94 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=92s 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 =93lever arm=94 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
=93starfish=94 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 =93plumb=94 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 =93slide molded=94 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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AMPSOne
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