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Digital Subscriptions > Military Modelcraft International > December 2017 > T-80B FINAL VERSION.

T-80B FINAL VERSION.

Alex Clark builds and details the Modelcollect kit.

The T-80 is one of the iconic tanks of the 1980s. In many ways it embodied the idea of a Soviet ‘Super tank’, certainly in the eyes of some in the West during that time. It first entered service in 1976 but underwent a number of improvements and the introduction of different variant for many years after. One of the main points of interest is the use of a gas turbine engine which gave it some very unique strengths (and also drawbacks!) Although an incredibly agile tank, it was a real fuel hog and compared to other contemporary Soviet tanks was extremely expensive. Some of the later versions were fitted with more traditional diesel engines to counter these issues. Although never exported anywhere near as widely as the more well-known T-72, a few countries have operated them. These include Pakistan, Cyprus, Belarus, South Korea and Yemen. Some sources state that China also received a batch in the 1990s.

The T-80B Variant

The T-80B was introduced in 1978 and underwent a number of changes during its production run. At various points in time after that it received a new gun, an upgraded engine and additional armour on the gunner’s hatch and around the cupola. The glacis received an additional welded armour plate around the 1982-84 period, this being retrofitted on existing vehicles. Very late production vehicles didn’t have this, but had extra armour integrated into the glacis as part of the manufacturing process. It was from these builds that another variant was created, the T-80BV which was essentially a late production B with the addition of Kontakt reactive armour bricks over the turret and hull. You can read a fuller account of the development of the T-80 in this month’s Armour in Profile feature.

The Kit

Modelcollectmarket a whole family of T-80 variants, including main variants such as the T-80B, BV, UD and U, along with some of the less commonly seen types such as the BVD, UK, UM2 and even the Black Eagle mockup tank, based on the T-80 chassis. All are based around the same set of core sprues and parts, with additional bits provided where necessary. Some kits contain some of the extra parts which are handy for the spares box. The kits come with photoetched parts and in general they are very nicely done, being moulded well with a good level of detail. Some parts are a little simplified and benefit from some extra detail but the general shape geometry of the kits are good. I’d built the Matchbox T-80B (later released by Revell) in the mid-1990s and this was a very basic kit, being derived from the 1/35th scale Dragon kit that itself was based on the limited information on the vehicle during the late 1980s. Since then I’ve been building up references, ready to build another more accurate model, so I was very pleased to finally see a much better rendition released many years later! The kit represents an early production vehicle with the glacis applique plate but I was keen to model a final version, as per the original Matchbox kit, and so made the relevant external changes to the kit.

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About Military Modelcraft International

MODERN ARMOUR SPECIAL Inside this issue we talk about modelling and reference on contemporary AFVs.
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