The Soviet T-70 was the penultimate 'incarnation' of a series of light reconnaissance vehicles which began with the T-26 in the 1930s and was to end with the 80+ production vehicles of the T-80. By the time production had ended in 1943, over 8000 examples of the vehicle had been built. The vehicle continued to be produced at a time when the requirement for light Tanks had all but ended - superceded by the far superior characteristics of the T34 series and the heavy Armored cars in the Soviet inventory.. That said, it is still an interesting subject for the modeller.
Miniart: 35025 -T-70M Early Production Soviet Light Tank (With Crew)
is a 1/35th scale, plastic kit, consisting of 60 parts (vehicle), 176 (tracks) plus four, clear plastic parts for the periscopes and front headlight. The kit consists of only three (main) sprues a clear plastic sprue and four sprues for the track-links. The model is moulded in a good quality, grey plastic. The other parts of the model are an eight-page, full-color instruction sheet and a small decal sheet with markings for five vehicles. The kit is packed inside a fairly solid cardboard box with all the component sprues seperately bagged.
Also included is 35022 - SOVIET TANK CREW. WINTER 1943-45
, a 51 piece figure set, the review of which can be seen: HERE!!!!
In some depth...
The first impresion is good. Very few mould lines are present and there is an absence of any flash. Definition of the moulding, particularly in areas such as suspension is good, not overly crisp, but good. Parts layout is logical with each component easy to identify. The instructions are very good indeed, with 'exploded' views of precisely where each part should be located.
. The suspension of the T-70 consisted of five road wheels, three small idlers, a rear drive wheel and a front sprocket. The road wheels and rear drive wheel had rubber outer rims. The definition between the wheel and the rubber was pretty well-defined, the inner rims showing a marked 'depth' in their concave form. To my eyes at least, the wheels are lacking a bit of depth with the demarcation betwwen the rubber and the wheel lacking definition. The wheels certainly have the correct number (six) of attaching bolts along with the central bolt.
Very nicely done with all the panels moulded in place.
Everything is there as it should be. Although there are one or two comments that should be made. The double exhaust on the rear, SHOULD
have asbestos 'lagging' around the tubes which enter the engine compartment through the hull. The storage boxes have three hinges, which is correct on some illustrations but incorrect on others. The hinges are nor particularly well defined and could be reworked. The support brackets for the fenders are nicely done although I have little doubt that the first PE set for this kit will include replacements. Looking at the positioning of the brackets, I will echo the comments of Henk, who (correctly) identified a slight error in their positioning (see the appendice for his build review). The really negative part in the upper hull, are the two grilles. Much as the grilles in Trumpeter's KV series are unconvincing, these are simply too 'solid' to be much use. Replacements SHOULD be looked for...
: Apart from lacking the 'mirrored' pistol ports on both sides of the turret (thanks Henk!), this is a good representation. Some rudimentary detail of the gun breach is provided although with the large turret hatch (if a figure isn't used) some additional detail would be desireable in the turret interior. Also lacking is detail on the hatch interior. Other areas which could be added are the (very) crude weld marks on the turret lifting rings, 'roughening' up the mantlet, and for the super-detailer, the addition of casting numbers underneath the mantlet. The gun (one piece) is nicely moulded with a hollow muzzle.
: these are seperate 'link 'n length' which should provide few problems if a 'jig' is used during their construction. Delicately moulded with some VERY sharp detail, these are absolutely excellent.
: many of the smaller components such as towing hooks, shackles etc. are very nicely done.
There are areas which could be improved, however, overall, this is a superb kit - considering it is the first MiniArt
AFV, doubly so. It would be very surprising (not to say absurd) if the company could reach the techical expertise of other (longer established) manufacturers in its first release. However, the T70 was not exactly 'over-engineered' in reality. In my opinion, MiniArt
have captured the lines and the 'feel' of this vehicle very well indeed. There is an incredible attention to detail apparent in this kit. The most obvious comes with the care in the preparation of the instructions (other companies take note!) which are visually interesting and simple to follow. The subject matter is excellent as well, with the possibility to convert to a prime mover, a very attractive possibilty. After the 'bad-press' many Eastern European manufacturers have received in the past, this comes as a breath of fresh air. They have done good research and have applied it to a VERY high-quality product. Hopefully, this model will sell in large enough numbers to 'seed' other similar projects of this type, the BT series and the T-26 would be ideal future projects for the company....
Acknowledgements & Further Information.
Firstly, my thanks to MiniArt
for supplying the T70 for review.
Secondly, Henk's review of the 'Germanized' T70 can be seen: HERE!
Finally, research was done through my own material and a number of sites on the web.