Trumpeter 1/35 T-90A MBT Kit First Look
|Date of Review||January 2014||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Kit Number||5562||Primary Media||Styrene, PE|
|Pros||Nice exterior detailing, distinctive subject||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$72.95|
The T-90 series represents a third-generation main battle tank (MBT) designed for the Russian Army and its clients. Originally designated T-72BU, the design is built upon the T-72 series but integrates some of the advances made in the T-80U including the more powerful diesel engine, enhanced armor, and mission electronics. The T-90A is the current production version in Russian Army service armed with the common 2A46 125mm main gun and enhanced thermal sights. Designers had started work on the next round of enhanced T-90s, designated as T-90M, but the Russian Armed Forces are now working towards the T-99 Universal Combat Plaform which is a common chassis for a variety of vehicle types similar in concept to the Manned Ground Vehicle portion of the aborted US Army Future Combat Systems.
Trumpeter is back with the latest in Russian heavy metal with this very nice looking T-90A MBT. The kit has about as many parts as you can put on a 1/35 scale vehicle that doesn't have an interior nor engine compartment. Even so there are well over 900 parts in this box and you will have a very in-depth project to build this beast.
The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on 18 parts trees plus lower hull and upper turret half. In addition, five trees molded in tan styrene, one tree in light gray vinyl, one tree of clear parts, and three frets of photo-etched details round out this kit. Duplicate parts trees are not shown in the images to the right.
One of the interesting trends coming out of China in recent years is a push to be the first with a given subject with some of those subjects being very esoteric prototypes or paper designs. Such was the case with the Dicker Max and more recently the Object 279 heavy tank. In this case at least, you have choices for a the primary main battle tank of the Russian Army. Trumpeter and Meng have both produced the kit with extensive detailing in both boxes, but each took different approaches to the final results. Of course Zvezda has also produced this subject with fewer parts and therefore an easier build (if that's what you prefer).
In this case, Trumpeter has provided the bolts and fasteners that mount the supplemental armor layers to the basic platform using photo-etched parts that are glued into molded-in recesses on the vehicle. Meng molded the fasteners as part of the hull, the details are there, just not separate. Which kit looks better? I'll leave that to the experts since the last Russian heavy metal I saw in person was an older T-72 in Europe. From what I've seen in other online assessments of the Trumpeter and Meng kits, both have a few bugs and both can be fixed.
With this release, you now have another choice for a nice T-90A at a price lower than the Meng kit (and higher than the Zvezda option). In any case, it is nice to see more kits of current front-line combat vehicles available and this kit will certainly provide some nice camouflage options as well.
My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!