T-80B & T-80BV Main Battle Tanks
|Kit #: UA72024 - UA72025|| Preview
by Kevin Liang
- kevin_liang123 (at) yahoo.ca
Edited by F. Giovagnorio
Modelcollect is one of those startup companies that seem to do everything right. I feel privileged to have experienced its early history. At the start, they were only making resin T-90 copies, and selling them on ebay.
As time went on, they slowly expanded their offerings. I was one of the first people to buy their prototype T-90 injection kits. It was so new, they didn't even have a proper box. However, the quality was very high, and the hull was even diecast.
Unfortunately, some errors in the design were made. However, MC diehards pointed out the mistakes on Facebook. Unlike Dragon or Revell, Modelcollect's owner accepted the suggestions. In the next production run, the errors were fixed. It's rather difficult to find a braille scale manufacturer that bothers listening to its customer base.
In the present day, Modelcollect and its staff have been producing many of the AFVs we sorely lacked in the Cold War range. They not only make high quality (NOT short run technology like ACE or PST, but rather the same methods as Dragon/Trumpeter/Revell) unassembled kits, but pre-builds as well. The prices couldn't be more reasonable. On Modelcollect's website, the T-80 range go for about $20USD each, up to $30 for the pre-built models.
As you know, the T-80 was one of those half baked tanks in the 1/72 scale. The only kits were the Revell T-80B/BV kits (and the elusive T-80UD by Alex Clark/Cromwell Model). Unfortunately the Revells are the old Matchbox molds. They're completely wrong in most respects, and a waste of money (except the T-80BV's ERA).
In this review, I have two T-80 kits for your viewing pleasure. Currently, Modelcollect has released 5 T-80 kits (T-80B, T-80B special edition, T-80BV, T-80U, T-80UM2). Two additional T-80 diesel variant kits (T-80UD, T-80BVD) are in the works, and should be released soon. Weirdly enough, I've never heard of a T-80BV with a diesel engine. Maybe MC found some rare sources.
A little history on the tank: T-80 was meant to be for the best Soviet tank divisions. Thus, they're heavily armoured, and armed with a powerful 125mm gun that can fire ATGMs. As the love child of Soviet arms industry, they're equipped with a gasoline turbine engine, similar to the M1 Abrams. Diesel variants also exist for the T-80U, designated as the T-80UD. Now, mainly Ukrainians use T-80 diesel types. Russia still possess over three thousand T-80B/BV tanks in active service or storage.
Foreward: A common theme for Modelcollect kit is loads of extra parts. Your spare parts bin will absolutely get filled with useful goodies once you buy a few MC kits. Anyways, let's move on to the sprues.
Lower hull is molded extremely well. The suspension arms are attached separately. This means making a burnt out tank (destroyed torsion bars, thus laying on the ground) is very simple.
The engine deck is cast with the rear unditching beams. I believe the extra engine deck (top left) is for the T-80UD/T-80BVD.
Upper hull is molded without the applique armour. This allows you to recreate the very first production batch of T-80 if you desire. (early T-80 has the V water splash guard like the T-72 and early T-64s.) The gun seems a bit small to me, but you can replace it with an aluminum one (or a spare barrel from another MC kit). The hatch is open for figures, or blown out tank.
Side sponsons are separated, and attached last. The skirts are pre-attached. It's not a big deal unless you're trying to make a tank without them. From what I hear, some T-80 kits are coming with PE skirts.
I haven't seen the T-80U kit yet, but it would have its own sprue for this as well.
Tracks are similar to Dragon's DS material. I would've preferred hard tracks, of which is coming soon according to Model Collect.
This is T-80B's turret. T-80BV also comes with the same sprue. However, some parts won't be used, like the turret top. You can also see the front hull applique armour here.
You get two of these sprues per kit. The running gear is designed very well, with bolt patterns on both the inner and outer wheel. It completely blows the Revell kit out of the water.
The following two images are for the T-80BV kit ONLY. As said above. The T-80BV's kit is essentially the T-80B kit with a new sprue of parts.
The decals are well printed, and have numerous choices available. It includes a variation of Soviet Guards, East Germans, and modern Russians. It seems to be a common Warsaw Pact number scheme.
PE parts are included for the kit. It has the commander's MG shield, engine deck screen, and rear fender pieces.
In conclusion: an excellent rendition of T-80s that should not be missed by any Cold War buffs. These kits are very cheap for what you get. Considering your other choice is Revell/Matchbox. This is a no brainer.
Kit is graciously provided at subsidized cost by the manufacturer.