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In-Box Review
135
IT-1 Missile Tank
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by: Matt Flegal [ NINJRK ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

History

In 1956 Premier Nikita Khruschev was an ardent supporter of missiles in general and decided that it was time to cancel the Soviet line of heavy tanks then in development with missile armed ones. While the various design bureaus felt it was a foolish idea they did what they were told and began development of several different designs. The Uralvagon bureau began the design of the Obiekt 150 which consisted of an elongated T-55 chassis and a new turret armed with the KB-1 bureau's 2K4 Drakon missile system. The 3M7 Drakon missile was radio controlled and capable of penetrating 50 cm of armor and displayed remarkable accuracy for the time. However, as a trade-off only 15 of these large missiles could be carried aboard.

Delays in the missile system development led to the first production standard vehicle not rolling out until 1964. Ironically, the delay allowed the chassis to enter production in 1962 with a new turret as the T-62. Production was then delayed for several years after Kruschev was ousted and the tank didn't enter service until 1968 when fears of new NATO tanks like the Chieftain made it attractive again. These 220 tanks were issued to battalions in the Belarus and Carpathian Military Districts with tank crews in some and artillerymen in others. It flopped in service due to being overly complex to maintain and having a 300-500m dead zone radius around the tank before the missile guidance system kicked on. In 1972 they were pulled from service and converted to recovery vehicles.

the kit

Trumpeter has released the kit using their previous T-62 hull with a new turret in gray plastic, 4 black sprues for the rubber tires, a clear periscope and light sprue, and a small photoetched brass fret. 12 pages of black and white instructions are included along with a glossy color page to show the complicated paint scheme for operational tanks (overall Soviet green with no markings at all!).

Suspension:
Trumpeter took a pretty standard approach here with the exception of the separate rubber tire pieces for the roadwheels. Torsion bars are separate and have a semicircular portion that inserts into the hull so, if you want an articulated suspension you'll need to perform some minor surgery. The connection to the roadwheels is a little bit loose so be careful attaching them so they're not askew. On test fitting, the idler still seems to sit a bit too far from the hull for the tracks to attach properly so shaving down part A29 by a mm or so is probably in order.

The tread on the tires is very nice but probably wouldn't have lasted many miles before being worn away so I'd grab a sanding stick and take them down a bit. Tracks are nicely molded and are individual link to link. Cleanup should be relatively painless and they fit together nicely.

Hull:
It's pretty nice, actually. Fenders are separate pieces which makes using aftermarket brass (if you must) easy. The two hull halves show some very nice molded detail and slide molding is evident in the suspension mounts and driver's periscopes. As is usual, no piping is supplied for the external fuel tanks, an obvious yet common oversight that I continue to fail to understand. Their hull connections are also significantly simplified.

Brass mesh is supplied for the rear hull and is very fine. If anything, the weave is too tight compared to photographs. Storage boxes are nice, and even have an adequate representation of the various bolts and wing nuts on the real tank. The front light-guards are noticeably thick so replacement with wire might not be a bad idea. The unditching log is nicely molded but the ends are smooth and featureless.

Turret:
It's a combination of very nice and adequate. The turret has a pebbly texture which is far better than smooth but not especially accurate to the actual casting. The molding on the turret itself is very crisp and quite pleasing. There are a number of weld beads around the sighting boxes which could use being added. The hatches are separate with the exception of the missile loading hatch and sighting door, so no in-action opportunities there.

Grab handles are nicely in scale but delicate enough that Trumpeter wraps them in padding for shipping. I'll probably go with making mine from wire just for strength but they are certainly usable right off the sprue. My one mild disappointment is the missile and launcher are noticeably simplified which is a bit of a shame, since that's where the eye will be drawn. At the least, I would have liked to see the missile fins coming from the PE fret. However, the fins are as thin as is practical with injection molded plastic and it will look nice enough when completed.

Accuracy:
Needless to say, I haven't measured one of the survivors. There appear to be at least two somewhere in Russia with walkarounds at:

svsm.org

and

narod.ru

There are differences between the two and I have no clue if those differences reflect production changes, came from restoration modifications, or what. Overall, the model looks pretty accurate with the same hull issues noted on Trumpeter's other T-62 base kits. If you're not willing to do surgery you'll need to live with the rear hull plate angle. The turret looks pretty accurate although compared to drawings it looks a little fuller at the front. Of course, the drawings could easily be wrong!

Weld beads are needed around the sight housing and will help. One of the surviving tanks has a raised platform in front of the sight while the other doesn't; the kit does not have one. The loaders hatch does not have the cut-out in front of the periscope. The sight seems to be too sharply angled at the back. All of these things are minor and require an excess of AMS to be worth changing. I've been seeking treatment and after years of therapy I shan't be modifying the kit outside of adding weld beads and piping. . .

Final thoughts

Trumpeter has released a solid kit of an extremely rare production tank. Despite a few omissions and simplifications it's a nice model of a tank that had little expectation of being released in plastic.

It makes sense in retrospect for Trumpeter to release as many variants of their T-62 kit as possible but this kit is still a very pleasant and welcome surprise. Trumpeter still isn't quite at the level Dragon is but it's awfully close and lags maybe a year or two behind at most. The molding is first rate, the detail is generally solid and nicely busy, and the price is very attractive.
SUMMARY
Highs: Nice molding and good detail and shapes. A pleasing kit if a very esoteric subject.
Lows: The missile and launcher are simplified. Where the heck is the prominent fuel tank piping?!
Verdict: Very nice kit of a long desired but rare cold war tank.
Percentage Rating
87%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 05541
  Suggested Retail: $40
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jun 30, 2012
  NATIONALITY: Russia
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 90.45%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 84.63%

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About Matt Flegal (ninjrk)
FROM: ALABAMA, UNITED STATES

Copyright 2017 text by Matt Flegal [ NINJRK ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Lol, so true! Thanks for the review. Jurjen
JUL 01, 2012 - 06:16 AM
Nice review Matt, great stuff.
JUL 01, 2012 - 08:00 AM
Sadly, all the good stuff in this kit appears to be inaccurate. Ironically, you will be better off buying Trumpy first release T-62 and adding Machine Burro IT-1 conversion to it then working with Trumpeter's IT-1 box. That way you will only be stuck with misshaped rear hull and engine bay bits.
JUL 09, 2012 - 08:04 PM
While I agree that the resin kit is better detailed I'm less convinced that the Trumpeter kit is inaccurate so much as simplified. The overall shapes look good (and the more I've been staring at photos the more I think Trumpeter got the turret front right and the drawings were iffy). If the resin kit was in production I would probably lean toward it, or at least beg them to release the missile and launch rail as it is much more finely detailed. However, that kit seems way OOP these days. I confess though to real bias; resin kits/upgrades from the better manufacturers always have much finer and prettier detail. Dragon is about the only one who gets in the ballpark but of course they have about 200
JUL 13, 2012 - 11:34 AM
Great review After working with the very "fiddly" Machine Burro IT-1 conversion, having a complete kit is nice. Yes some of the detail is simplified but a little plastic rod and strip go a long way. Also, the turret in the Machine Burro IT-1 kit wasn't completely symmetrical - it needed work to look right. I do wish Trumpeter would include the fuel tank piping but there are some nice upgrades that are less than the PE costs. Basically, it's like all of the Trumpeter T-62 kits. Main complaint (aside from coming out just after I bought the Machine Burro IT-1) - the sights are closed. I haven't found a listing for what is what, but there is a video of the tank firing so I opened the same "door" that was opened in the video - can't fire the missile with the sight closed. Had to "guess" as to what is actually behind the door. Don't forget, the Trumpeter kit alone is just about half what a T-62 kit and the Machine Burro IT-1 conversion would cost. That is enough for me to accept some simplification. Just to see this in plastic is great.
AUG 02, 2012 - 12:18 PM
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