Trumpeter 1/35 Type 80 Chinese Main Battle Tank Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||June 2005||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Subject||Type 80 Chinese Main Battle Tank||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||0318||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$32.95|
The modern Chinese Type 80 main battle tank was developed from the T-69 series. It differs in design by having a brand new hull, as well as a larger main armament and a more modern computerized fire-control system. This includes a laser range-finder, mounted either over the gunner’s sights or over the 105mm gun itself, depending on the version.
The vehicle carries a snorkel which can be fitted to allow for deep fording. It has a built-in fire-detection/suppression system and the capacity to be easily up-armored by the addition of composite armor plates, to give increased battlefield survivability.
The crew configuration has the driver sitting at the front left with some of the ammunition, while the loader, commander and gunner are all sitting in the turret.
The kit comes in a large end-opening type box. This is very strange to make a box this large as an end-opening one. The box has a locking tabs to hold the end flaps shut. The box art is similar to how Tamiya does theirs…a color painting of the vehicle on a pure white background. A side panel has a tree view painting in full color of the camouflage scheme used on the type 80. There is also a very short paragraph (in Chinese and fractured English) giving the history of the vehicle. Another side panel gives two more views of the same camo scheme and paintings of the 3 figures that are included in the kit (also in full color). The bottom of the box has no less than 14 full color box arts of other kits in the Trumpeter line of tanks. Every one of them is a modern Chinese vehicle. Nothing like China based Trumpeter blowing their own country’s horn…sheesh.
The kit contains 5 very dark green sprues of parts, vinyl rubber-band type tracks, the hull tub piece with a small electric motor already bolted in place at the factory (yes kiddies…this is a motorized kit) some nylon screening, a length of string (for tow cables) and a bunch of metal Phillip’s head screws. The screws are to be used to hold the road wheels on and have them rotate. However, I think that will look like total hell on a static model…if you don’t want to run the thing around the floor like a toy. I haven’t seen one of a motorized tank kit in about 30 years, when Tamiya used to produce them.
Each parts tree is in a cello bag and those bags are in one larger bag. The nylon screen piece, screws and string are all in one cello and the rubber-band type treads are loose in the big bag.
The instruction sheet completes the kit’s contents. It consists of a single sheet that accordion folds out into 8 pages.
Page one begins with a black and white repeat of the box art, followed by a listing of Tamiya brand paint colors to used for painting the model. These are called out by Tamiya’s X numbers, in Chinese and English as to what those colors are.
Page two begins with illustrations of various tools suggested as needed to build the kit. This is followed by international assembly symbol translations. The rest of the page gives us the first 3 assembly steps.
Pages 3 through the top of page 7 give us the balance of a total of 15 assembly steps. The bottom of page 7 gives us 2 parts tree illustrations.
Page 8 begins with 2 more parts tree illustrations and decal application instructions (in Chinese and English) and then there is a 3-view illustration of the camo scheme and markings for the vehicle. Unfortunately, we are NOT told what outfit this scheme is.
Tree letter A holds the upper hull piece, side skirts, turret basket parts, many storage and tool boxes, return rollers, brackets, engine air intake deck, headlight grills etc. (59 parts)
Tree letter B holds turret parts, more storage boxes, grab handles, rolled bed roll, canvas mantle cover, turret hatches, smoke grenade launchers, external fuel drums and their mounting brackets and numerous other fittings (135 parts)
There is no letter C parts tree.
Letter D tree holds drive sprockets, idler wheels and road wheels (34 parts)
Letter E tree holds the parts are the 3 crewmen. They are divided into separate torsos and lower bodies on two of the figures, and the third figure has his torso and lower body as one piece. All have separate arms.(14 parts)
Lettering now jumps to the small letter H tree it holds only 2 parts, which are the main gun barrel halves.
The final part in the kit is the hull bottom tub It has a battery compartment and gear house molded into it. A small electric motor with it’s wiring and gears are already in place. Only batteries are needed to get this thing going. The factory has done all the installation and wiring for us. However, if you are going to do a display model you will want to remove this stuff from the hull and sand and putty-up the motorization holes and the on/off switch on the bottom. This hull piece has the suspension arms molded into it.
The final items are the piece of nylon screening (for doing the turret basket) the length of white string (for tow cables) and the screws (to hold the road wheels on). You will perhaps want to glue the wheels onto the axles and then make some sort of discs for the hub-caps on the road wheels instead of seeing metal Phillip’s screw heads.
The decal sheet is the final item. It holds a couple of red stars with a Chinese letter in the center of them and a bunch of white numerals. I have been told that these just may be some parade markings and not what the vehicle wore out in the field.