This offering from MiniArt is another of their popular kits with partial interiors that provide the modeller with options as regards display. The T-60 was a light tank produced in significant numbers just prior to the German invasion of Russia during World War Two, numbers vary but it would seem in the order of 10,000 were built over only a two year production run. The armour of this tank was light as it was intended as a reconnaissance vehicle; however needs must and it was often thrown up against much superior armour were it fared badly, but it did provide the Soviet forces with a nimble lightly armoured tank that when deployed in numbers could cause problems for the enemy.
When opening the box you are confronted by an unusually large number of sprues for such a small vehicle, but of course you also need to consider the interior details provided which increases the parts count considerably. An examination of the sprues provides a positive first impression of the model. The gates between the sprues and the moulded parts are small and for the most part not excessive in number, they also look to be easily accessible from what I can see. There are a few ejector pin marks that will need to be taken care of depending on how you intent to display the finished model, but unless a serious amount of the hull is going to be exposed this should not be an issue. The photo etched elements of the model are provided on two frets that are well protected by a card envelope; I also like the fact that the frets have a clear plastic sheet on them which will help to avoid parts disappearing into the ether when cutting them free. The clear elements are restricted to two lenses. The decal sheet is small in size but still provides twelve finishing options as listed below:
33rd Tank Brigade, The Parade on November 7th 1941, Red Square, Moscow
Red Army, Winter 1941/42
Red Army, District Rzhev, 1942
Red Army, Winter 1941/42
Red Army, Spring 1942
64th Tank Brigade, 21st Panzer Corps
Red Army, 1942
Red Army, Winter 1942/43
Captured Tank from an unidentified Wehrmacht Unit, Eastern Front, Winter 1941/42
Captured Tank from an unidentified Wehrmacht Unit, Eastern Front, Winter 1942/43
Captured Tank from an unidentified Wehrmacht Unit, Eastern Front, Spring 1943
Captured Tank from an unidentified Wehrmacht Unit, Eastern Front, Winter 1942
At the very start I have to say that I cannot comment on the accuracy of the interior due to my failure to find good reference, but with that said I am happy with the idea that MiniArt will have done their homework in this respect. The floor pan has a very nice level of moulded on detail present and I like that rather than having to attach it myself. The driversí station looks good to me, but I cannot see any starter controls, then again Soviet armour of the period did not exactly have a logical layout and you need to remember that the design took something like three weeks.
The transmission and engine are very nicely done and will easily look the part with very little improvement from the modeller. MiniArt has taken the same approach as another manufacturer I like and produced nearly all of these elements in plastic and so making construction a more enjoyable prospect for those who struggle with photo etch. It should be remembered that the modeller who really wants to add the detail will need to add cables and wiring to various areas. One really confusing observation I have made is that the gearbox with its gearstick is to the side and behind the driversí position and so not easily accessed by the driver, is this right? Something that I enjoyed seeing is the batteries and not forgetting fire extinguishers.
I should mention that the hull is made up of a series of flat panels with a lot of moulded on detail present. This approach by MiniArt has enabled them to add all of that nice detail and makes it easy for them to mix and match for future releases. Ammunition storage inside the vehicle is to the left of the driver and the rear of the fighting compartment and the rear of the turret placement. The areas that have not been detailed in the release are I believe the cooling area of the tank where the air intakes are and the fuel tanks. MiniArt has done a good job of the upper deck of the hull by supplying lots of panels the modeller can decide just how much of the inside remains clearly visible. I will add at this point that MiniArt has done a very good job of all those tiny rivets.
Moving onto the outside and the suspension of this model is not workable, but with a little forward planning the modeller can easily articulate the suspension for display on an uneven surface. The detail on the road, drive, idler and return wheels looks good to me and matches online images of the area. The track have been supplied as individual links and while this is not popular with everyone I feel it provides a good way of allowing the modeller to show track sag and the like without needed investment in after market tracks. The only downside of the supplied tracks is that there is three connection points on each track that will require cleaning up.
The air intakes have been well detailed on the outer surface as has the exhaust; the mesh used is particularly nice to my eye. The track guards are of a reasonable thickness and have nice ridge detail on both faces. The tools have been supplied clean and need the use of photo etched clamps to secure them in position, it is the photo etched clamps that will make many of us struggle who are not well versed in the use of this material due to the small size. The towing hawser will be a pain as its very thin moulding and surprising number of sprue gates will likely lead to breakages plus there are very small photo etched clamps which will really test the steadiness of your hands and sight in your eyes.
The turret of the T-60 is very small with a surprisingly large amount of detail within that small size. The breech of the 20mm cannon and the machine gun have a good level of detail present and with MiniArt having made extensive use of slide moulding the muzzles of both do have a slight hollow present. Internal and external viewing ports have been well detailed and all told this is a very nice area of the model with even the ring gear being present. Perhaps one of the most pleasing aspects of the turret is the large hatch which enables easy viewing of the detail present.
When I first looked at this model I was a little unsure of what to think, but having given this a thorough look over I am very impressed with what MiniArt has given us with this offering. Despite the small size of the model all of that interior detail can be displayed relatively easily without hacking into the model. The turret interior is particularly easily displayed and if you add the two man crew on the outside or inside you can make this model very visually appealing. The only area of the model that bothers me is the towing hawser and the photo etched clamps for it, this is because of the difficulty of removing the parts without damage and then attaching the small photo etched parts, in all other respects this model is very appealing.
Please note MiniArt has made big changes to their website so please take a look.