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Soviet Small Amphibious Tank T-37A Early Version

 

S u m m a r y

Stock Number and Description LF Models Kit No. 35007; Soviet Small Amphibious Tank T-37A Early Version
Media and Contents: 293 parts in grey styrene
Price: Around USD$20.00
Scale: 1/35
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: First kit of this vehicle in this scale; very nicely done and very good details
Disadvantages: Single link tracks may make modelers howl due to petite size
Recommendation: Highly Recommended for all light armor fans and Soviet tank afficionados

 

Reviewed by Cookie Sewell


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F i r s t L o o k

 

Just today, I commented to Bill Miley when looking at a gorgeous new kit of the Pzkw. I Ausf. A, too bad the same company wasn't going to do a model of the T-37, the only Soviet era light tank still not available as a plastic kit. Less than an hour later, while combing the stacks in the Avenel Hobby Shop in New Jersey, lo and behold what should I find but a plastic kit of the T-37A. While there are a couple of T-38 kits out there from Techmod, Cooperativa, AER and others (I think it's two sets of molds that make the rounds in Eastern Europe) this is a totally new kit. The parent company is the old SDS/FORT, which has now been picked up for marketing by Eastern Express, so this kit may be released by them under their brand name.

The Soviets came up with a need for light, amphibious reconnaissance tanks in the early 1930s, and the T-37 was the first one which met all their requirements and entered series production. This tank was designed by N. N. Kozyrev at the "Oridzhonikidze" Factory No. 37 near Moscow in the early 1930s as a two-man scout tank that could swim without preparation and provide high speed and maneuverability. It was accepted for service in 1933, but the T-37 was never produced. It was replaced instead by the improved T-37A. This tank essentially differed from the T-37 in having a domed turret roof to provide more room for the commander, a new stern, more armor protection, and kapok-filled floats on the tops of the fenders to increase buoyancy reserve. 1,909 of these tanks were produced between 1933-1936 at Factory No. 37 and the Gor'kiy Automotive Factory GAZ . The later T-38 was an improved T-37A with the driver and engine positions reversed, so the turret moved to the left side of the hull.

The LF Models kit is a very nicely done kit of this tank, and has many very nice and petite details which are hard to see at first due to the heavy, "garage" quality sprues. No part of this kit or sprue is more than 105mm long, so it appears to have been a home-made design that the company produced and marketed.

There are some innovative ideas included with this kit. One of them is the choice of solid spring units or two sectional ends, to which the modeler must add his own springs. (They appear to have planned on including them, but none came in the kit.)

Wheels and other details are fairly well done, and the hull looks good even though there are some seven major parts to it. Some modeling skills are required from time to time, as some parts are not fully formed or drilled out, but the directions do explain where to drill and what to do (in Russian, alas, but the pictures are pretty straightforward.)

The model comes with 192 track links which are quite small and will probably frustrate the most hardcore modeler. Test fitting shows they fit beautifully to the wheels but I recommend fitting the tracks before cementing the fender floats (unnumbered, but obvious) to the sides of the hull.

The model can be built as either a T-37A or T-37A-RT with radio antenna. While the directions show it cut into two sections and cemented to the floats separately, this is wrong. The antenna is one single piece that raps around in front of the turret and driver-mechanic's position. The part in the kit (B13) is correct as molded. It goes on as shown with the bends rising at the rear of the fenders.

Decals are the generic between the wars ones and provide for five different color sets for platoon/company/battalion markings. One set of Finnish swastikas and three German crosses are also included.

Overall, this little beast was a very pleasant surprise, and fills in a gap on my shelf. Note that you can now get all of the major Soviet WWII era light tanks as kits: T-37A, T-38, T-30, T-40, T-60, and T-70. (T-26 and T-50 are "escort" tanks, not light tanks; BT-2, BT-5 and BT-7 are "fast" tanks.)

Cookie Sewell
AMPS


Review Copyright 2002 by Cookie Sewell
Page Created 29 September, 2002
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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