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T-72B/B1 MBT w/Kontakt-1 Reactive Armor Kit

Trumpeter 1/35 T-72B/B1 MBT w/Kontakt-1 Reactive Armor Kit First Look

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review April 2015 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject T-72B/B1 MBT w/Kontakt-1 Reactive Armor Scale 1/35
Kit Number 5599 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Nice details, lots of ERA bricks! Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $104.95

First Look

T-72B/B1 MBT w/Kontakt-1 Reactive Armor Kit
T-72B/B1 MBT w/Kontakt-1 Reactive Armor Kit
T-72B/B1 MBT w/Kontakt-1 Reactive Armor Kit
T-72B/B1 MBT w/Kontakt-1 Reactive Armor Kit
T-72B/B1 MBT w/Kontakt-1 Reactive Armor Kit
T-72B/B1 MBT w/Kontakt-1 Reactive Armor Kit
T-72B/B1 MBT w/Kontakt-1 Reactive Armor Kit

The T-72 is considered the one of the second-generation tanks which started with the T-64 series. When the T-64 faced some engineering challenges for engine growth and improvements to its main gun auto-load system, designers looked to alternatives which became Object 172. After further enhancements, Object 172M entered production as the T-72. As with previous tank production, further improvements were incorporated into the design as field experience and new developments arose.

The T-72A replaced the paralax rangefinder with a laser system and added composite armor to the front and top of the turret. The T-72B replaced the main gun, added gyro stabilization, new sights and fire control system. The new gun could fire the 9M119 Svir missile as well as its array of standard rounds. Due to the increased lethality of adversary tank rounds and guided missiles, the T-72A and B were updated to employ Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) bricks which are directed charges that detonate on contact using the force of the blast to deflect or negate the warhead penetrator.

Trumpeter released the T-72B not long ago which is essentially this kit sans the reactive armor and at much lower parts count and cost. For those who like the look of the ERA brick-laden tank though, you won't be disappointed with this release. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on 21 parts trees plus lower hull and upper turret shell. Two additional gray trees molded in vinyl provide the mantlet covers and unditching beam (not used in this version). Seven trees molded in brown styrene provide the individual track links and the kit is rounded out with three frets of photo-etched parts and several lengths of wire. Note that duplicate trees and frets are not shown. Over 1300 parts go into this build!

Among the features and options of this kit:

  • Nice rendition of the model 1985 T-72B
  • Choice of two road wheel types
  • Nice photo-etched grill-work on engine deck
  • Nice plumbing detail on rear drum fuel cells
  • ERA bricks are mounted individually
  • Choice of two thermal sights/laser range finders
  • Nice commander's cupola with protective shield and NSVT machine gun

Where many tank kits opt to provide fenders molded with brackets and mounts in place, this kit allows for the installation or modification of the model to replicate a specific example with the various parts and mounts molded (or etched) as separate parts. While this will result in a bit of time to build up the ERA arrays on the hull and turret, the details are going to be great.

If you're not a T-72 expert, there is a great resource you'll want to know about. On Facebook, there are special groups focused on different topics, in this case the T-72, and they have some great expertise there to help you distinguish between some of the more subtle production variations that have gone into the field or have been added through depot maintenance. The photos that are posted there are outstanding and many are coming in near-real-time from various hotspots like Syria and eastern Ukraine. Stop by Facebook and search for T-72, you'll find some great resources in that group. There are similar groups for many other topics including the T-34 and T-62 tanks as well. Check it out!

While I'm not an armor expert, Cookie Sewell has also looked at the previous release I mentioned above and notes that it is one of the best T-72 kit on the market. Whether you opt for that simpler version without the ERA blocks or this release with lots more details, you have some nice options from Trumpeter to choose from!

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!