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In-Box Review
135
T-64A Mod 1981
Trumpeter 1/35 T-64A Mod 1981
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by: Adam Phillips [ ADAMPOLO13 ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

History

Introduced in the early Ď60ís, the T-64 was designed and built to be Russiaís main battle tank. Taking a few cues from the more commonly known T-62, the T-64 is actually much more technologically advanced. The main difference between the T-64 and the T-62 was that the 64 was designed for tank divisions and the 62 supported the infantry.

The T-64 was originally designed by Alexander A. Morozov, designer of the T-54, to be Russiaís state of the art, next-generation, main battle tank. An innovative element of the 64 was the development of an automatic loader for the huge 125-mm gun. One of the most interesting aspects of the T-64 platform is that it was constantly upgraded even from the minute it was first coming out of the factory. It wouldnít be easy to cover all of the design improvements made over the years so Iíll keep it to the major 1981 upgrades. The majority 1981upgrades encompassed mounting twelve smoke grenade-launchers on the turret, six on each side of the gun. The design team also replaced the gill plates with rubber skirts that were designed for a longer life.

Whatís in the Box

While waiting for this kit to arrive I did a little bit of research on Trumpeter Models prior T-64 offerings and was fairly confident that they wouldnít disappoint with this new variant. My initial guess was that it would be a lot like their previous T-64ís but with the addition of the new rubber skirts and smoke dischargers.

Opening the box I wasnít surprised to see a neatly organized box full of bags of grey sprue. In total the kit contains 21 grey sprue, 3 frets of photo etch, lower hull, turret, small clear sprue, decal sheet, and finally a sprue of grey DS styrene.

While sifting through the contents there were a few things that jumped out at me right away. The first, which was a disappointment, were the large seam lines on most of the sprues. You will see in the pictures that the seam lines are very prevalent on the new set of smoke discharges that really set this apart from earlier variant T-64ís.

The second thing that popped out at me was that Trumpeter Models did not include individual links for the track. Initially I looked at this as both a positive and a negative. Positive in the sense that I wouldnít have to assemble the tracks, the negative, what if the track detail is soft or the fit isnít very good? The second part of my concern relating to the track was the location of the sprue gate. Youíll see that the gates were placed right on track pins. Upon a closer inspection and very careful removal of the part itís possible to remove the track runs from the sprue while retaining the detail.

Lastly, both of the main sprockets had damage to them. Youíll see in the pictures that one of the teeth is snapped off and still attached to the sprue gate. I couldnít resist removing them from and seeing if I couldnít fix them. Fortunately the fix wasnít too difficult and the result is shown in the pictures as well.

All in all I donít think the seam lines or the track will affect the final result of the build. Unfortunately, the seam lines do force the builder to spend some time cleaning up parts which does make the process a little longer. In terms of the track, only the build itself will reveal any hidden secrets there.

Build

The instructions are laid out over 16 pages in a typical Trumpeter Models black white booklet. In total there are 14 build steps in 14 pages. Provided on the first page is the standard ďread before assemblyĒ warning etc. The second page gives a nice parts list. As a small note, there are 10 parts included which are not used during the build.

Step 1
Construction of the 2 Drive Sprockets, Idler Wheels, 12 Road Wheels, Suspension Arms, front armor plate.

Step 2
Continues the installation of the suspension parts, hull details, spare track on the rear of the tank.

Step 3
Track construction and the beginning of the upper hull construction.

Step 4
This step is devoted entirely to the construction of the rear section of the hull. A note to the builder, there are more than a couple pieces of photo etch associated with the step.

Step 5
Installation of both pieces of the top of the hull as well as continued installation of detail parts.

Step 6 & 7

Both of these steps are devoted to the build and installation of the side skirts and a few more details on the hull.

Step 8
This is the last step associated with hull mainly the anti ditching log and the fuel drums. Just as a heads up, the anti ditching log was molded in the DS sprue.

Step 9
This is where the turret construction begins with holes being drilled in preparation for the smoke dischargers.

Step 10
Continues the turret construction giving the modeler a choice of two mantlets. Again, these parts are made out of DS styrene so some extra care in sanding and paint preparation will probably be required. Mantlet part J6 provides a slight barrel incline while J5 gives a no incline display. This is also the step where the smoke dischargers are installed. Based on the diagram it appears that the parts on the R sprue have varying angles to them so attention should be paid.

Step 11
This step continues the installation of turret parts. This step also starts with the construction of the hatches, which if I might say, are very nicely molded.

Step 12
Main aspects of this are the construction and installation of the searchlight as well as the two piece barrel. I know there are varying opinions on two piece barrels but I have to say the details on this one are pretty sharp. With some extra attention to detail and some carful sanding the builder should get some excellent results.

Step 13
This whole step is devoted entirely to the construction of the machine gun.

Step 14
Construction ends with the snorkel being built and installed. Last but not least the turret is put on the hull.

Conclusion

From the moment I heard I was reviewing this kit was extremely excited. After taking the pictures for this review, even thought the seam lines and tracks worried me, my excitement hadnít faded and I couldnít stop myself from starting construction.

At this time I havenít finished the build but I have included some pictures of the process and how the kit looks now. In regards to my concerns about the kit, the seams lines really havenít caused me all that aggravation but the tracks were a huge disappointment.

In brief, the tracks in the kit did end up going together but not very well and not without a lot of frustration. If you decided to follow the instructions the tracks will not have any sag and if you try to add an extra link to the set thereís too much track and the fit is even worse. At the end of the day I chose to use the kit track and will try and hid the lack of sag behind the skirts.

Other than that there havenít been any major surprises in the build. Be prepared to do a little bit of seam filling but that is to be expected. The other thing I will point out is in regard to the two part barrel. The two pieces fit together very well and with a little bit of careful sanding the barrel came out very well.

After reviewing all the sprue and starting construction, I can honestly say Iím pleased with the kit. In terms of accuracy, Iím far from an expert on the T-64. That being said Iím sure that there are probably at least one or two inaccuracies a keen eye will pick up on. I will say that Trumpeter Models did a nice job with the molding of the parts. After cleaning up the seams the details appear sharp and the kit builds up very well. In closing Iíd like to thank the Armorama staff for giving me the opportunity to review and build this kit.

SUMMARY
Highs: Overall detail appears to be sharp. Kit builds up into a nice representation of a T-64A Mod 1981.
Lows: Large seem lines, difficult track assembly.
Verdict: I'm pleased with Trumpeter's execution of this new variant. The addition of the rubber skirts and smoke discharges will help set this apart from the rest of your Russian kits.
Percentage Rating
85%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 01579
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Oct 15, 2013
  NATIONALITY: Russia
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.00%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 84.63%

Our Thanks to Stevens International!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Adam Phillips (adampolo13)
FROM: RHODE ISLAND, UNITED STATES

Copyright ©2017 text by Adam Phillips [ ADAMPOLO13 ]. 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

Thanks a lot!
JAN 19, 2014 - 04:49 PM
Very nice review. Can this kit be used for a 70's era tank? I have seen earlier photos with the smoke dischargers but what I know about the T-64 could fit on a post-it. . .
APR 18, 2014 - 09:33 AM
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