Kit # 72163 Review by Simon Barnes 

The latest in service Russian MBT is the T-90 which is in fact an upgraded T-72 given another designation given it's poor performance following the Chechyen war. To be fair given the circumstances not a lot of other MBT's would have faired any better, seeing as tanks are not built for unsupported urban warfare. Essentially the T-90 is a T-72B with upgrades. The Upgrades include new optics, armour and an advanced defence suite, the Shtora electro-otical countermeasures, the system is a fully integrated into the tank and includes the two optical "dazzlers" either side of the main gun, Laser warning detectors mounted around the turret and the anti-laser smoke dischargers on either side of the turret. It is also fitted with the latest Kontakt 5 ERA armour giving it a distinctive look. The manually operated NSVT 12.7mm AA gun on the T-72 has been fitted into a remote control cradle mounted on the front portion of the commanders cupola as in the T-64. There is another version of the T-90 with a welded turret instead of a cast turret, which has a different shape to it, unfortunately I have only ever been able to see bit of it as it is mostly covered with ERA. If anybody knows what it looks like I would be glad to here from them !

The two hull sprues are exactly the same as in the T-72 kit, the main hull comes in 4 pieces which fit together well, There is a small amount of trimming to be done to the top hull piece. The T-90 has a new style front fender, These are also on the T-72BM but that is another story!. the new fenders are included but the old ones have to be cut off, this is probably better before the hull is glued together, also the V shaped splash plate needs to be removed as the kit includes a new frontal armour plate. Also included on these two sprues are the turret lower half, the side skirts, which could do with being thinned and the main gun, which although correct in shape and size doesn't quite capture the look of the real thing, the other problem is that with this being the T-72 gun, the T-90 has the thermal sleeve rotated roughly 30 degrees to the right which means that the gun needs to be cut and rotated or you can cut off the detail and replace it in the correct position.

The next two sprues include all the bits to make it a T-90. The T-90 turret is based on the T-72B turret or the "super Dolly Parton" as it was Dubbed by NATO. This is basically the T-72 turret with added armour to the front cheeks, in the kit the added armour comes separate, meaning that you could backdate the turret to the T-72M with anti radiation cladding if you wanted. The turret although correct in plan form does have one major fault as far as I am concerned and that is the front roof portion when viewed from the side has a convex slope to it, this should be more concave in appearance, I hope to show this better in a separate article on the T-72 turrets. the sprue also contains the rest of the turret fittings including the Shtora optical devices. The second sprue contains the Kontakt 5 ERA for the turret also the side skirt fittings and the front glacis plate armour, as well as the two smoke discharger mountings.

The next sprue is the same as found in the T-72 and contains the smoke discharges themselves, the commanders cupola, NSVT AAMG, rear fuel drum mounts, lights and the towing hooks.

The next sprue or sprues as there are two of them the same are for the wheels, these are the same as the T-72 wheels with the option of either the old or new types of wheels, which is a nice addition and give you the option of modelling the vehicle of you choice.

The tracks are the same as included in the T-72, nicely detailed on the outside and although the guide horns are in place there is no individual link detail on the inside, which is a shame, However Ace do make a replacement track set in PE as do OKB should people want them. The other option is to use the tracks from the Revell T-80 although these are also poor in detail but there are pictures of the T-90 with T-80 tracks fitted.

Markings are included for two vehicles, both prototypes although the instructions show paint details for 3 vehicles one without markings.

With the exception of the turret, this is a very nice kit and builds into a fairly decent model without any major fit problems of this latest Russian tank, the kit scales out to exactly 1-72nd scale according to my references.


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

Various magazine articles and photographs

Back to ACE Models Kit List Back to Home Page