Wheel-track Tank BT-7 Model 1937

Manufacturer: UM (Kit No. 311)

The latest in the BT series from this company is the modernised version of the BT-7. This 1937 model is distinguished by a conical turret, which can also be seen on the later models of the T-26. This kit is the same as #310, but with a new turret sprue. This is the first time this version has been made available in this scale. Prior to this, the only way to model this tank was to kitbash the Modelkrak BT-7 (Model 1935) and the Skif T-26.

Sprue 1 has the major hull components. As you can see, the hull construction is very complex, with multiple parts that represent the many facets of this angular hull. The side walls are of a double thickness, thereby allowing the inclusion of the wheel suspension springs inside the hull wall, even though only a portion of them will be visible when complete. The driver's hatch can be modeled open. The molding quality is very good throughout the entire kit. Rivet and bolt detail is plentiful, and there are few sinkholes or ejection pin marks.

The wheels and tracks are the same as included with prior BT tank kits, and are amazingly well done. The hubs have great definition to them, with numerous bolts around the rim. There are a couple of sinkmarks on the sprocket wheel behind the rim bolts, but these will only serve to accumulate the wash around the bolts, and probably won't pose a problem. What I am concerned with, however, is the ejection pin mark on the center of the front wheel hub. The instructions don't implicitely state this, but remember to keep the flat edge of the front wheel hub at the top of the wheel. This hub was fixed in place, and the flat edge always faced to the top. The boxart correctly shows this feature, however, the instructions are incorrect in showing the flat edge facing towards the front of the tank. The tracks are fantastic.

The turret is rather plain, but again, is very well molded. Unfortunately, the hatches are once again molded closed. Interestingly enough, the twin spotlights often mounted on top of the gun mantle (as shown on the boxart) are not included in the kit. None of the diagrams for the painting and marking instructions do not show the lights, so I am unsure if these particular vehicles did not have the lights, or if the drawings simply reflect what's in the box.

Another fine feature of this kit is the small fret of photoetched brass. The engine deck screen, and some engine louvres are included as brass parts, and will look great when assembled. Once again, I would say that it is really great to see a manufacturer include etched parts as a standard component of their kits.

The decals are comprehensive, and include markings for three vehicles. They are thin and very well printed.

I would very much like to thank Rafal Niedzielski for making this kit donation.

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