by: Russ Amott [ ]
T-90The Russian T-90 tank is a modernization of the T-72 line, with new technology and improved performance over it's predecessor. When production started, the turret was of cast design, with ERA blocks arranged on the turret sides to increase protection. Primary armament is the 2A46M 125mm smoothbore gun, with an NSV 12.7mm (12.7×108) remotely controlled anti-aircraft heavy machine gun and PKMT 7.62mm (7.62×54mmR) coaxial machine gun as secondary armament. The T-90 has since been upgraded to an improved welded turret and more advanced ERA and AA machine gun.
SDV ModelSDV Model of the Czech Republic specializes in the manufacture of 1/87 scale vehicles. Previously distributed by Arsenal, they are now released under their own label. According to online retailers, the kits are generally short release, but appear off and on again based on demand.
The ModelThe T-90 tank subject of this review is of the cast turret initial version of the tank.
The kit comes in a small, top opening box with a single zip-lock plastic bag containing the sprues. The instruction sheet is a single page, folded over, with line drawings showing assembly. Text is in Czech and German.
The plastic is green in color, somewhat soft but a little brittle. The sprue attachment points are very close to the parts, and there is significant flash on many of the parts, along with some heavy seam lines. Much of the detail is molded on, and appears soft, but at this scale it seems fairly common. The sprues are set up so that the parts needed for sub assembly are located together.
The instructions include a sprue map, which is handy as the sprues themselves are not numbered. There is also a small blueprint type drawing of the vehicle in a four sided plan. Assembly starts with the lower hull, then turret in two steps, then joining hull and turret, and finally addition of the tracks and small details.
AssemblyI started assembly as the instructions show, working on the lower hull. Test fitting over and over was required and careful examination of the parts must be done to determine what is flash and needs to be cut out. There are also ejector pin tabs that must be cut off some parts in order for them to be placed. On the plus side, once everything was cleaned up fit was quite good. There are no locator pins. I left off the side skirts in step one, waiting until I could place the tracks.
Next, I worked between the turret and track assemblies. The turret halves-top and bottom, don't line up exactly. Much of the uneven join line will be covered to stowage bins but it is something to watch out for. The main gun needed a lot of clean up and I also drilled out the muzzle end. I placed the smoke dischargers too far back and as a result did not have enough room to place the spare ammo can, part 17. Many of the attachments are small and fiddly, like the mount for the NSV MG and ammo boxes.
The tracks are molded fairly thin, and not nearly as blocky as the ROCO tanks I have built in the past. The inner half of the road wheel pairs is molded in place, and on the back side has a small torsion arm molded. The front half of the road wheels, drive sprocket and idler are all attached separately. The drive sprocket needed a lot of clean up and careful filing down to get it to fit in place. It did have a locator pin, the only one in the kit. The idler and road wheels have an axle pin but they don't quite reach the back half and the wheels rest mostly against the track guide horns. The finished appearance does look much nicer than the molded in place wheels on ROCO tanks, which is a plus. There was a lot of flash on all the parts, and some of the wheels are a slightly crooked due to the plastic having what seemed like a longer set time (coupled with my impatience in progressing with the build). It might help to scratch a small axle with a bit of wire or styrene to help hold the wheels in place.
The spare fuel drums on the rear bracket were another issue, with sink marks and flash, and needed a lot of clean up. The NSV MG looks very over-scale, but again, many smaller kits share this problem. I am sure someone has a more scale, and much more fiddly aftermarket piece somewhere, but I'm not worried about it. The Shtora-1 system is also very basic, and one of mine had a sink mark in the lens face.
Attaching the turret to the hull also required cleanup. This kit uses the traditional tabs and slots, the same as many larger scale armor kits use to attach turrets. The tabs required considerable thinning to get them to fit into the slots and move over the surrounding plastic.
Decals and Painting GuideNo painting guide is included. Online image searches show primarily a three tone camouflage scheme of dark green, black and dark yellow/sand or two tone of a sand base with either dark green or brown. Markings are very simple - a small decal sheet with numbers 1-0. The carrier film appears very thin. On my sample sheet both 1s were cut right to the edge of the paper and were damaged.
ConclusionOnline searching found prices of between $18.00-$32.00 US. If you are looking for something in 1/87 that offers more detail, and a chance to do some detailing on your own, this is probably the kit you are looking for. It requires some work and a lot of clean up, and so would not be a good beginner's choice, but ends up as a decent little model. It can make a nice diorama subject or be added to an HO scale layout as well.
This sample was provided to me, courtesy of SDV Model and the Kitmaker network. Thank you.