Hobby Boss 1/35 T-24 Medium Tank Kit First Look
|Date of Review||January 2013||Manufacturer||Hobby Boss|
|Subject||T-24 Medium Tank||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||82493||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||First kit of this vehicle in this scale in styrene; nicely done breakdown of parts enables accurate rendition of the vehicle with many options||Cons||Very little reference material available and some obvious postulation on the vehicle; missing radiator air intake|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$46.95|
Everyone has to start someplace. The Soviets started their legendary tank industry in 1922 with a direct copy of the Renault FT ("Russkiy Reno") but quickly moved on and began to foresee a massive tank fleet backing the Workers and Peasants Red Army (RKKA) in future wars. To that end, after a couple of abortive attempts to form an industry, the Revolutionary Military Councils formed the Main Design Bureau of the Weapons and Arsenal Trust (GKB OAT) and set them to design two new tanks: a small "escort" tank for infantry support, and a larger "maneuver" tank for breakthroughs and fire power support.
The first tank emerged as the MS-1 (later T-18) and over 860 tanks of this type were built between 1927 and 1930. The larger tank eventually appeared as the prototype T-12 maneuver or medium tank (even then heavier tanks were foreseen in the future) and was a 16 metric ton tank mounting a 45mm cannon and three machine guns. Both tanks were designed by the same teams, so both of them had nearly identical suspension designs: sprung four-wheel bogies with a vertical coil spring and a set of return rollers on each assembly. Four assemblies per side were used on the T-12, as well as a large split idler at the front and a cast driver with a "clamshell" scalloped shape to engage the teeth on the track links.
The T-12 had numerous problems and did not meet its requirements, but the design was felt to be sound and so in late 1929 a new tank was proposed with corrections to the problems with the T-12. The new tank, the T-24, used a down-rated M-6 aviation engine and a new transmission design using twin differentials and final drive units. It borrowed most of its design features from the T-12 but added some new ones, such as a fourth machine gun and a bow gunner. It was referred to as the "Three Level Tank" with three levels of armament: a bow gun in the hull, two machine guns and the 45mm gun in the main turret, and a fourth machine gun in a small turret on the roof of the main one.
The T-24 did enter production at the Kharkov Steam Locomotive Works (KhPZ), but only 25 of these tanks were built before the line was terminated in favor of the Christie Model 1932 tank from America, which with modifications entered production at the KhPZ as the BT-2. The reason was the T-24s were seen as expensive and capricious, but they were able to provide good service as trainers. The T-24s were all packed off to the Kharkov Military District for service, but by 1938 they were seen as not even having value as training tanks. They were sent to be stripped of all running gear components and converted for use as pillboxes in the fortified regions. But these tanks were never shipped out to those locations, and were captured by the Germans in 1941. Their further history remains unknown but were probably scrapped by the Germans.
This interesting early tank has long been popular with Soviet armor fans, and in comparison with many other tanks of the time was an advanced design and the forerunner of tanks like the T-28 medium. In 2012 not one but TWO kits of the vehicle were announced, and Hobby Boss was first to the market with their kit.
While the T-24 is a simple vehicle, Hobby Boss has done its best to copy the design from available references and appear to have it pretty much spot on. As it was an early design, there is little on the tank of note in the way of external items and with only a few cutaways nothing to show for the interior, so the kit is relatively simple. But there are some odd omissions.
The biggest missing item is the radiator air intake which goes on the right side of the rear hull behind the sponson bulge. This was an inherited feature from the T-12 and shows in the photos of the original under test. It is directly opposite the muffler and shown in all good extant plans of the vehicle. They do duplicate the shape of the intake on the rear panel on the right sponson (part D11) but seem to have missed the fact it is at the back of the intake! (For anyone wishing to add it the intake cowl is about 27mm long, rolled, and leaves about 2mm of space under it for air intake. The brace on the rear of part D11 can be used to figure its shape.)
Also a screen has been added to the air exhaust at the rear of the hull; due to poor quality it is hard to determine if this was really there or simply interpolated. (At some point based on later designs it most likely would have had one added, so this is not a big whoop.)
The bogie assemblies are neatly done and use PE parts for their side access plates and the sealing ring at the top; there are 13 parts to each one. Note that all of the wheels have rubber rims and tires on them.
The rest of the model is clean and easy to assemble. All four machine guns are flexible but the 45mm gun is fixed. The tail is clean and ejection-pin free and of a reasonably thin design so it looks proper.
The model comes with a small PE fret but it includes about 40 spare bolt heads for the clumsy to use in replacing anyone sanded off during assembly.
There is a small sheet of decals but so far I haven't been able to find any photos of the T-24s on exercise and verify them; they do look suitable for early 1930s markings and the recommended ones (3 with a unit insignia and "parade" wheel trim in white) do spruce up what is a somewhat dull finish. But given its construction dates it is likely in the browner shade of green used before the 4BO (FS34102) color was standardized.
Overall this is a well done model and the missing air intake is relatively simple to add from rolled stryene sheet.
- A 26x4 Road wheels, suspension bogies, machine guns
- B 11x2 Drivers, idlers, details
- C 27 Small turret base, tail girders, muffler, side plates
- D 18 Main turret base, tail, machine gun mounts, glacis
- E 12x12 Track links
- PE 70 Etched brass
- ‒ 1 Lower hull
- ‒ 1 Upper hull
- ‒ 1 Main turret shell
- ‒ 1 Small turret shell
My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!