|T-72 Comparison & Turrets||by Simon Barnes|
With the release of the Revell T-72 M1 we now have a choice of T-72's to buy, who would have thought ! But how do they measure up to each other, the steel cut moulds of Revell against the Short run moulds of ACE?? Surprisingly there is not that much between them As I will attempt to show here.
The break down of the kits are very similar to each other but that is not the only similarity between the kits as will be seen.
Start off with the lower chassis in all cases the Revell kit is the Tan plastic and the ACE kit is the White.
Both kits are amazingly similar, here they have the sides glued on so it distorts the picture slightly because the ACE sides are higher and don't leave as much a gap as the Revell sides between the Hull, this is not a problem with the side skirts fitted.
Here we have the hull tops, I am afraid the only ACE hull I have left is for the T-90 and as such have already begun to modify it. Again there is a remarkable similarity between the two hulls, the difference between them is the fact that the Revell kit has a separate Glacis plate, The Revell kit is better detailed around the turret ring than the ACE kit, which is nice for those wanting to depict a blown up vehicle, the ACE kit has the open drivers hatch but the V shaped splash plate is moulded solid with none of the characteristic undercut, the Revell splash plate is a separate item. The Revell kit shows slightly better detail on the hull with a few of the finer points that are missing from the ACE kit, however on the engine deck the hinge for the access hatch on the Revell kit is very thin and the ACE one is more appropriate.
The next comparison is the Turret, as you can see there is an amazing similarity between the two, what I find more odd is the fact that the have both got the same mistakes, remarkably both turrets look like the Tamiya turret, right down to the lights and smoke discharger wires having no junction boxes where they meet just like the Tamiya kit!! The Revell kit has better detail around the sights in plan view but for those that have read the preview will know that they have their problems, the Ace gunners sight is a separate piece allowing for better detailing and correction, the main sight and laser rangefinder aperture is slightly wide and not a well detailed on top as the Revell one although it is hollow !.
As the turrets are the main problem with these kits I am going to stick with them and point out the differences between the various turrets found on a T-72. To start with the kit turrets, both a spot on for an either Czech or Polish license manufactured vehicle also sometimes know as a T-72G or Export,with the thinner frontal Armour. This is because when the license manufacturers switched to the laser rangefinder instead of the Co-Incidental sights the turret armour wasn't added to as it was on Russian production vehicles.This left them the same shape as the T-72, as these drawings will show.
As you can see both turrets are identical to the line drawings for the basic turret without added armour.
Before I go too far into the turrets I had better explain the differences and the different types: -
In the beginning there was......... the T-72
With the co-incidental sights, here both the License and Russian tanks had little or no difference between them.
Then along came the Laser Range finder which did away for the need of the right hand optic port, at the same time the Russians also chose to add newer ceramic armour to the front of the turret, which resulted in the T-72A or as it is more commonly known the M.
As can be seen from this picture the added armour altered the shape of the front of the turret and added a lip to both sides. When the License producers came to adding the Laser rangefinder they didn't add the armour to the front of the turret which left it the same shape.
A lot of this is now hidden behind the smoke dischargers which makes it harder to spot, however a point to note is the distance from the sight to the edge of the turret in this picture compared to the one below of a Russian example.
Given that the edge is roughly around the tops of the smoke dischargers you will notice that the distance from the sight to the turret edge has increased because of the new added armour, the lip runs directly beneath the wire for the smoke dischargers and is hat to spot, but it is there, as can be seen below
Now to confuse things even further, here are pictures of both the Revell and the ACE turrets.
And the other side
Which when compared to the M turret above, they look more like the G turret.
I propose that the Turrets should look more like this: -
Added to this shape problem comes the weld detail, Both Ace and Revell have it that the weld seam runs from the sight and around the cupola, this is wrong, as the roof and the cupola are two different pieces and the weld seams should run so: -
The third type of Russian Turret not yet mentioned was fitted to the T-72B this had even more armour fitted to the front of the turret to bring it to the same level of protection as the T-80, only this time it was not a subtle change but a great huge one.
At the same time the roof armour was added to as can be seen behind the main gun, also an anti radiation cladding was added to the outside, it has been said that this is not anti radiation cladding but the Kvorki armour that has also been seen on other armoured vehicles especially in Afghanistan, which would be an odd place to use anti radiation cladding ?? This was a fun one to build: -
The only other differences in the turrets are the ERA fittings but I will leave those as they are better documented.
With the different turret shapes taken care of, both the ACE and the Revell turrets have other problems mainly around the rear (just like the Tamiya kit!)
The above picture is a mirror image to get it the same way,(many thanks to Derek Jones who helped with the photo) as can be seen the turret rear should undercut a bit more than it does in the kits, although the Revell one is slightly better, The area needs to be improved so that it take a more rounded shape as below.Also shown on the real turret there is a small step at the rear of the turret, this is missing on both the kits but if desired can be added when the rear of the turret is done.
The other point, staying with the turret is the commanders cupola, both are separate items, however the Revel one is too shallow missing the rim with the bolts that can be seen on the real thing.
Not to mislead anyone the ACe one on the left has been modified by me, I have attached the bolts to the side, although there is the space to do this that is missing on the Revell one.
Back to the review, The only other thing that suggest that these two vehicles are T-72G's is the fact that on the lower hull where the attachment points for mine rollers or mine ploughs are, both kits only have the outer two on each side, they are missing the 4 in the middle, this is a definite trait of a Czech built tank as all russian T-72's had all the attachment point fitted, 8 in total.
The side skirts of the kits are the next major part with the revell skirts having the better detail to them.
The wheels are much the same with only the steel; cut Revell moulds allowing sharper detail, this is also apparent in the idlers and sprockets which are better on the Revell kit.
I will now go into a direct comparison of individual parts. They are in no particular order.
Here is a direct comparison between the two different road wheels, the ACE kit has separate hubs that although the correct shape lack the bolt detail of the Revell hubs.
It was always clear that the steel moulds of Revell would be better on detail
Here you can see that the ACE hatch has a rudimentary Inner and the Revell doesn't
Again the ACE has some sort of interior the Revell not.
Here you can see the differences in the barrels, the Revell barrel is shorter because of the separate muzzle
Here the differences are better to see
The Exhaust, as can be seen the ACE at least has some detail in this part, both shrouds are detailed.
The NSVT AAMG's the ACE one is better shaped and detailed, the Revell one although nicely moulded lacks a lot of detail on the gun and also no detail for the gun cradle, also it only has the one piston instead of the two it should, although both muzzles are different both in fact are correct, the Revell one is slightly too flared.
The Revell Rear stowage bin is a better shape than the ACE one, the side stowage boxes are similar with the Revell showing the better detail. The Yellow outlined area on the Revell rear bin needs to be removed as it shouldn't be there.
This just leaves the tracks
The tracks are similar with the Revell one being deeper and more but not totally correct, compared to the real track on the right, where the light parts are exposed metal where the tracks have made contact with the road and worn.
As can be seen the ACE tracks have no inner surface detail.
There is not a lot to choose between the two kits, the Revell kit has some better details that are missing from the ACE kit, however both kits seem to have the same problems, the question is which would you prefer to correct ?? Given the price variations around the world and availability of both kits, this is really the only deciding factor on which to choose.
Soviet/Russian Armour and Artillery Design Practices:1945 to Present by A.Hull, D. Markov and S.Zaloga Darlington Productions
The T-72 and T-90 Tank by Steven Zaloga and David Markov Concord Mini Color Series 7508
T-72 main Battle tank 1974-1993 by Steven Zaloga Peter Sarson Osprey new Vanguard No6
T-72 Main Battle Tank by Steven Zaloga Concord Publications 1004
T-72 By Tamiya News #12
Various magazine articles and photographs including Modell-fan, Military modelling and Military Machines in Review.