ARM: Trumpeter 1/35 scale T-62 Model 1962

Kit Review: Trumpeter 1/35 scale Kit No. 00376; Russian T-62 Mod.
1962; 511 parts (467 in grey styrene, 20 in black styrene, 12 clear
styrene, 10 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 two major points of
Rating: Recommended
Recommendation: for all Soviet era modelers and fans of the =9362-ka=94
Many =93old Soviet hands=94 now know the famous story about when Marshal
Chuykov, then head of the Ground Forces of the Soviet Union, heard the
British were installing the 105mm L7 gun in the Centurion tank and the
Americans had adopted it for their new M60 tank. Chuykov found out
they had a 115mm gun in design and screamed at his underlings, =93I
don=92t care if you have to strap it on a pig, I want that gun out
But at the time the gun was forecast to go into Article 432, which
later (and after many teething troubles) emerged as the T-64. Marshal
Dmitriy Ustinov, then head of armaments, refused to permit any other
tank to go into service before the T-64, so the Red Army was stuck.
Their solution: get a =93tank destroyer=94.
The Uralvagonzavod in Nizhniy Tagil had several prototype tanks and
were able to modify Article 165, which had been a competitor with
Article 430 (the predecessor of the T-64 design) to mount the new gun
as Article 166. Little more than a lengthened T-55 chassis designed to
mount a bigger turret, the marriage was successful and under the guise
of a =93tank destroyer=94 the T-62 was accepted for service in late 1961
and entered production in 1962.
Ultimately more successful than the hapless T-64 (which was replaced
by the T-64A in 1969 after an ill-starred career) more than 20,000
T-62s of all types were built. They generally were categorized as
Model 1962 (early model engine deck and no AA MG), Model 1966 (late
model engine deck) and Model 1972 (with an AA MG). The early models,
like the T-55 Model 1958, did not have an AA MG as it was felt they
were useless against jet aircraft. After Vietnam, the change back was
due to the appearance of attack helicopters like the AH-1 Cobra.
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
In 1977 Tamiya finally answered the fervent requests of modern Soviet
modelers and released a kit of a T-62 Model 1972 tank as a
=93T-62A=94 (the actual T-62A was really the Article 165 tank with a
rifled 100mm D-54TS gun, none of which appear to ever have been built
in series). Hundreds of them began to appear on =93threat=94 desks in the
US Army and other NATO forces. But the kit was based on fuzzy photos
of captured Syrian tanks and other details, and even with a book put
out by Tamiya at the time on how to model the T-62 it was off the
mark. Its major flaws were: wrong profile to turret, wrong hull shape,
and suspension too low (it was apparently based on a burned-out Syrian
tank and thus the weak suspension had it much lower than its actual
471.5mm ground clearance should have been (about 13.5mm in scale).
Well, at least it kept the after-market boys in business!
In 1992 I took it upon myself to built an Iraqi T-62 Model 1972 and
with a good supply of Chesapeake Model Designs parts chopped a Tamiya
kit to bits and corrected every one of its major flaws, which =93Fine
Scale Modeler=94 published in an article along with all of the templates
needed to correct the kit. I decided it was way too much work and
wanted to wait for a new kit that fixed most of the major errors.
Finally, after about 18 months of anticipation, Trumpeter has
answered my wish and is released not one but two brand-new T-62 kits =96
a Model 1962 as reviewed here and a Model 1972 with the AA MG. Both
kits should carry the relatively correct details as the turret shell
and engine decks are on a separate sprue and the hull is designed to
permit drop-in replacement.
This kit is made to state-of-the-air standards and uses a large
amount of =93slide molding=94 for its components, especially the turret
which now bears the proper undercuts along its front face. 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 (NOT vinyl!)
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.
Tracks are the early OMSh (open metallic hing) type as used on the
T-54 and T-55 but are correct for this version pre-rebuild. But they
are single link (happily with nearly hidden ejector pin marks in the
cast face) rather than link-and-length as with the KV kits.
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 turret is nicely done and all periscopes are provided as separate
parts. The modeler has a choice of a bare =93pig snout=94 mantlet or one
with a canvas cover molded in place, as well as a choice between
covers or no covers on the gunner=92s and commander=92s search lights. The
modeler also 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). 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.
But. There is always a but, and this kit unfortunately has a few.
There are two major ones which have come up on the Internet and are
not without foundation.
First off, the turret loader=92s hatch is skewed inward when viewed
from above. Since most blueprints of T-62s show this hatch to have its
hinge line parallel to the cross-section of the tank, many have yelled
foul. I took a good look at all of my references, and frustratingly
there actually are a few cases where it seems this is so. One set of
two photos from the UVZ factory museum shows a tank with the same
turret (the Article 166M or =93T-62B=94 prototype) shot dead on with the
inside of the loader=92s hatch clearly visible from the right side and
the outside from the left, which would be correct if the hatch was
skewed as in the kit.
It is not known where Trumpeter got their information from, as the
Chinese have an early model T-62 they captured at Daiman Island on the
Ussuri River in 1969. (This was reverse engineered to create the
prototype WZ-122 medium tank, which did not go into PLA service.) It
is possible some early tanks could have this variation, but for the
most part it appears that the hatch should be square on.
The other major problem is at the rear of the hull. Tamiya missed the
fact that the entire engine deck of a T-62 slopes downward at 4
degrees, and that the rear of the hull joins it at a 90 degree angle
(e.g. 86 degrees from horizontal). Trumpeter has the rear of the hull
at 90 degrees to the ground surface line. The solution will have to be
adding 0.080 x 0.040 inch strips (2mm x 1mm) to the rear of the hull
and sanding them down to form a wedge that will permit meshing with
the lower hull joint, plus shim or extend the engine deck to fit.
The rest of the points are mostly minor. Trumpeter has the weld bead
where the lower and upper glacis joint present, but it is a bit thick
and inexplicably stops before it reaches the side of the hull. Also
there is no heat shroud between the oil tank
(B-10) and the exhaust outlet (C-6).
Etched brass covers most of the parts modelers need, such as the
safety mesh over the engine radiator air intake and exhaust and some
of the minor bits.
Decals consists of a number jungle with Guards badges and also two
specific tanks, number 953 with a truncated pyramid and dot marking
and number 519. A color broadside is included for number 953 along
with recommended color matches for Mr. Hobby, Model Master, Tamiya and
Overall this kit is a vast improvement over the Tamiya kit, and
anyone wishing to build one should start here and NOT with the Tamiya
kit no matter how cheap it is (about $5-10 at shows is not uncommon).
But it does have some flaws which make it just miss a =93Highly
Recommended=94 rating.
Thanks to Mike Bass and Laura Carney of Stevens International for the
review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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