Friday, January 1, 2010
Project: 1/35 T-64B Progress III
Here's how the T-64B as it stands now. Most construction of the turret components has been completed, with the only remaining components needed are wire grab-handles on the turret sides, wiring for the smoke grenades, commanders hatch (to be added after painting and decaling, so I can get everywhere), NSVT machine gun (to be painted and weathered separately), and a little bit I have no idea how it goes (instructions not very helpful) so it will require some research on my part to see how it goes.
Construction of the turret was pretty smooth. That being said, I did make a mistake. The sight for the AT-8 "Songster" anti-tank missiles has a plate on the bottom of it. I had assumed this was the way the mount worked, but unfortunately it was an artifact of casting. I didn't have sufficient photo references to catch it, and I realized this after gluing it on, so there is no way I can get it off again. Well, live and learn...
Unfortunately, the kit was missing the cannon breach. However, as I constructed it, I realized my initial idea of showing the vehicle on a road march wouldn't work. The 125mm main cannon is at a fixed elevation, which is too low and will interfere with the driver if I model him with the driver's hatch open. This required me to scale back the number of figures I was to use on it. Since the driver's hatch must be modeled closed, the tank is likely no longer on a road march, but perhaps on an alert readying for action.
With this scenario in mind, I could no longer have the gunner's hatch open with a figure; unlike western tanks, Soviet tanks from the T-64 on have an autoloader and 3-man crew. In a situation where combat is possible, the job of the gunner is to man the cannon. Thus, I closed his hatch, and the lack of a breech isn't as significant.
The more I look at the tracks on the kit, the more unsure I am that I want to use them. There are three options available: Miniarm makes a set of workable tracks as see here. While from all appearances (and experience with other track sets they make), they're very nicely detailed and cast. The problem? If you notice how the tracks go over and around the drive sprockets, you'll notice there is a gap between the end connectors and the sprocket teeth, particularly at the top. The real tracks were at least 3 pieces, with separate pivoting end connectors. The Miniarm tracks typically cast them as a single link with end connectors already attached. Thus the tracks do not articulate correctly.
The second option is from a company called MasterClub and can be seen (top of page) here. Again, while nice, they have the same limitations as the Miniarm set.
The last option is the set of tracks from Skif itself, as seen here. The advantages are that the tracks are cheap, if a little tricky to use. Fortunately there is a review of them here, and the word is, not good. So I'm faced with a conundrum: either use the kit supplied tracks (which for some reason have lightening holes on every other link), spend big bucks for the Miniarm set and live with the detail issues, or save (lots) of money and wrestle the bear useing Skif's set. Not a lot of great choices here. In the end I might just slap some mud on the tracks and call it a day. We'll see...