The Russian T-72 Main Battle Tank, one could say it is the mainstay of the Russian Tank forces, more widely exported than any other Modern Tank and manufactured under license by no fewer than 5 other countries with the Then Czechoslovakia and Poland being the largest license manufacturers with India coming close behind. There are small differences between the Czech/Polish tanks and Russian ones, mainly that the turret armour is thinner than on the russian tanks and they also lack the plate welded to the glacis. Small by NATO standards, the main reason for this was the introduction of an autoloader for the 125mm main Gun, often derided in the west as not very good, the auto loader proved itself to be effective and quick when tested out on captured Iraqi vehicles at the end of Desert Storm/Desert Sabre in 1991.
Who would have suspected that a mainstream producer would do a T-72? the breakdown of the parts suggest that more versions are/were planned, whether we will see any and how quickly remains to be seen, the Hull and engine deck remain the same throughout the whole series, with the differences being in the turret shape and the wheels, the other Modifications were all internal. Unfortunately revell are not known for releasing other variants of kits quickly, look how long we had to wait for the uparmoured warrior and then they got it wrong !
The first sprue contains the upper hull, fuel drums and holders, NSVT AAMG and ammo boxes, the exhaust and Side skirts. The upper hull is unfortunately moulded with the drivers position shut, the front glacis is separate incorporated on another sprue, all the details are present but as in the case of the position lights a bit crude but still there, including the space around the turret ring. The light guards are included which is a nice touch and they only need a slight modification on one of them. The 3 ammo boxes for the NSVT, the two that are destined to be fitted to the hull have the retaining strap in place, but the detail that is on the box to be fitted to the gun is missing. The exhaust looks nice but it is moulded as a solid piece showing none of the detail in the outlet. The Smoke discharges are nicely done as is the rear most fan outlet with it having the correct undercut.The one fault that I can find with the hull is the cut directly in front of the drivers periscope, more prominent on Russian vehicles than others it is noticeable in it's absence
The next sprue contains the lower hull, rear plate, wheels, sprockets and idlers,snorkel, lifting hooks and towing hooks. The underside is fully detailed and is correct in details. The wheels are of the 8 nut variety, nicely detailed and correct. The inner wheels have no detail on them, this is not so bad as they will not be seen with the tank sat on its' tracks, however why detail the underside?? if modeled upside down to show the underside, then the wheels will need replacing. The sprockets have the track guide in the middle (actually it is just of centre). The other point that makes this kit a Czech or polish vehicle, is the fact that the lower hull has only 4 attachment points, this is common for license built vehicles of the Czech or Polish production, Russian vehicles would have a full compliment of 8
The turret comes in two halves with the top having separate sprue gates which suggest different upper turret halves to come. The gunners hatch is open but it has no detail to the inside, if it is to be positioned open then the inner will have to be built. The commander cupola is separate allowing for positioning, however the cupola is very thin missing the bolts heads around the outer edge, the commanders hatch is also separate but again has no inner detail. the main gun is nicely detailed with a separate muzzle, it is how ever a little on the thin side. The turret bin are nicely detailed and the right shape. Also included in the kit is the Iraqi Dazzler. The turret as I have said before is incorrect for a M with it being the G turret as used on the Czech/Polish vehicles.The other problem with the turret are the sight apertures with the front one being solid and the rear being Slightly too tall and having a solid front.
A bonus inclusion in the kit is a set of the newer type wheels with six nuts instead of the eight, this is odd because in reality the new type of road wheel was introduced with the T-72B, however now days it is possible to see the earlier M with these wheels. Also on this sprue is the front plate, this type is correct for the M with the added plate on the glacis, it is however not right for this kit, unless you want to modify the turret and add to the hull.
The tracks look to be correct and have detail both inside and out.
Markings are provided for 3 vehicles 1 East German NVA, 1 Iraqi, and 1 Finnish vehicle. technically speaking you can use the first two, Finnish vehicles were Russian built with the turrets having the thickened armour, The decals are thinly printed and in register.
All in all a nice kit, odd that it has exactly the same mistakes as the ACE kit, the turret and the hull?? The kit measures to 1/72nd exactly 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
T-72 By Tamiya News 12
Various magazine articles and photographs and drawings