Italeri (via Zvezda)
|Media:||Styrene and Vinyl|
S u m m a r y
|Contents:||184 parts (180 in grey styrene, four in sivler vinyl)|
|Price:||Price between US$19-27|
|Advantages:||Finally, a 1/35 scale kit of a T-26 which IS a T-26!|
|Disadvantages:||Some heaviness to features, two-piece tracks always a tough fit|
|Recommendation:||For all Spanish, Finnish, and Soviet-era modelers|
F i r s t L o o k
Note that the "First Look" tag only means that this is an in-the-box review, not that I had the luck of getting one before anyone else! (By now many modelers who read "Military Modeling" (UK) will have seen Steve Zaloga'sexcellent article on this kit and this tank.)
Having been frustrated for so long by half-hearted resin conversion kits for the simple but stalwart Spojnia kit of the 7TP, as well as the lackluster partial conversions from RPM and Mirage, I was absolutely delighted to see that Zvezda finally got its kit of the T-26 to the market. While it does use the BT-5 turret sprue, it at least was a shared turret between the two tanks. Modelers frustrated with the itty-bitty RPM/Mirage single-link tracks for their T-26 conversions, as well as the 7TP, should be much happier with these two-part affairs that have very nice detailing. Steve commented on their being a bit thin, but in the case of Zvezda's tracks and their past history, this should at least give them some "stretch" so they will fit better.
Steve commented as well on the fact that this tank has a mishmash of features. This is essentially true, especially if you want to do one in Spain. If not, then things are not a problem.
The model, which is of a post-1935 T-26RT model, comes with the production Russian rubber-tired steel wheels, rather than the solid rubber ones used on the prototypes and found in the RPM/Mirage kits. It also has the anti-Molotov Cocktail cover over the engine radiator vents, but unlike the other kits, offers no options. This pretty much nails the tank down as a 1939 or 1940 service model, as these were added after they found to be a dangerous threat in Spain. While it comes with the "rail" type antenna, many of the tanks in that time frame either had no radio set, or were converting over to the whip type antenna and the newer 71-TK-3 radio.
Overall, this is a pretty accurate kit and one which can be built out of the box without too much fuss or need to change anything. It IS a T-26, and not a 7TP with a bunch of parts stuck on it to look like a T-26. As noted, for those who want a more detailed model, the RPM/Mirage single-link tracks can be used. (Of all their kits, only the T-26S the Mirage T-26C/OT-130 kit with the conical turret and more accurate suspension can be recommended, but with the advent of this kit, I suggest you simply get this one and swap their superstructure parts onto it.)
It's about time!
Available through any Italeri kit supplier or from Squadron Mail Order.
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