T-26-1/1939 Version

Manufacturer: Skif (Kit #218)

Second in a planned line of four versions of the Soviet light tank T-26, this kit represents the 1939 version with improved turret. Previously released is the 1933 version with the early turret (as seen on the BT-5). Still to come are two flame-thrower tanks, each one based upon the two standard versions.

This kit maintains the same high quality standards set by the company's earlier releases of the Zis guns. The moldings are superb, with very crisp detail, little or no flash or sinkmarks, and a sensible parts breakdown. My main disappointment with the plastic parts is the fact that the turret hatches are molded shut. Not only should they have been molded open, but it also would have been nice to have some crew figures included as well. The driver's hatch on the front hull gives the option of having it open or closed, but there is no interior detail, which will need to be added if you keep the hatch open.

There is a small fret of photoetched brass parts included, which is a very nice touch; the main brass parts being the sprocket wheels and fenders. I think it was a brilliant idea to include these as etched parts. Note that unlike many kits which include brass details, these parts are NOT also included in plastic, giving the modeler the option of using the brass or not. They only come in brass, so if you are hesitant to work with brass, you should consider this, before purchasing this kit. Also included in brass are hatches, latches, screens and other miscellaneous details.

The decals look very good, flat, thin, and all printed in single colors, so registration is not a problem. I dislike the tracks. They are single piece, soft vinyl, and are fairly stiff. The external detail is scant, and the insides of them are very poor, with no track teeth, but rather a raised ridge running down the center of the tracks (like the Hasegawa Pz. IV's). In my opinion, these tracks come close to ruining an otherwise very nice kit.

Compared with the Modelkrak T-26's, these Skif kits compete very favorably. The Skif kits are superior in the following areas: wheels, fenders, hull details and options, and decals. But the Modelkrak tracks are superior. This particular tank, the 1939 version, is not available from Modelkrak regardless, but the 1933 version is (as well as several other vehicles based on the T-26 hull).

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