Soviet PT-76 using shipping containers for cover after an Amphibious landing!
With Battlefront's release of Vietnam Tour of Duty kits, it is such a blessing for folks like me who do a bit of 'Cold War Gone Hot' and the PT-76 release is no exception. I have to admit, I knew next to nothing about Soviet armor, and initially thought these were BMP personnel carriers (A bit of knowledge from playing Battlefield 3) but turns out they were one of the very first amphibious light tanks, used as recon and by the Soviet Navy for landings. Since I am doing Cold War gaming as the 'Red Team', I knew these would be right up my alley!
Lets take a look at the kit itself:
Battlefront PT-76 next to QRF's BTR-80 and T-80
To no one's surprise, this is a standard Battlefront resin hull and turret with excellent detail, with metal tracks, barrel, hatches and crew. Of note is the large double oval hatch, which is hinged at the front, to provide un-buttoned crew some protection from small arms fire. The crew appear to be recasts of the soviet WW2 tankers with the ridged soft helmets. I imagine for PAVN tanks, you would just adjust your skin pigment slightly and no one would be the wiser.
There was some miscasting at the back of the hull, at the waterjet intakes, but unless you are holding the model very close, you would never notice it. I opted to not put on the mudflaps, as not all vehicles had them, but they are in the kit. The strapped-on fuel tanks at the back are cast into the hull. Also as usual, 10 rare earth magnets are supplied to magnetize the turrets. My big concern, as I am using QRF models for my other vehicles, was scale, but they were very close in scale (see pic above). I have a QRF ZSU-23 SP AA that was the same chassis as the PT-76, and once painted, you can't tell they are 2 different manufacturers.
Action shot of all 5 PT-76s, working their way through a port. (containers HO scale pre-painted)
Advancing on a bridge, we can also see the Soviet Naval Ensign on the hull.
"The PT-76 is a Soviet amphibious light tank which was introduced in the early 1950s and soon became the standard reconnaissance tank of the Soviet Army and the other Warsaw Pact armed forces. It was widely exported to other friendly states, like India, Iraq, North Korea and North Vietnam. Overall, some 25 countries used the PT-76.
The tank's full name is Floating Tank–76 (Russian: Плавающий Танк, Plavayushchiy Tank, or ПТ-76). 76 stands for the caliber of the main armament: the 76.2 mm D-56T series rifled tank gun.
The PT-76 is used in the reconnaissance and fire-support roles. Its chassis served as the basis for a number of other vehicle designs, many of them amphibious, including the BTR-50 armored personnel carrier, the ZSU-23-4 self-propelled antiaircraft gun, the ASU-85 airborne self-propelled gun and the 2K12 Kub anti-aircraft missile launch vehicle."
So I wasn't far off thinking it was a BMP at first, because that APC evolved from the BTR-50 (Another Battlefront kit for Vietnam)
Non-naval units also used the PT-76, mainly for Recon, but had no insignia to replace the flag markings. (HO scale bridge, modern train terrain is perfect for modern gaming!)
Real life PT-76's disembarking from a giant Pomornik-class Assault Hovercraft!
So, where do I get one of these in 15mm scale?!?
Again, as with the T-54/55 kit reviewed earlier, this is a godsend for cold-war gaming. Compared to QRF-made models, the Battlefront ones are far superior, even down to the mix of pewter used (QRF is way too soft) whilst having more details. The price is nice as well, being less $$ for 5 similar sized tanks as the box of 5 Battlefront T-54s. The only drawback I would say is the marring on the intakes, so I give the kit 9 out of 10 stars, Komrade!
Models Provided by Battlefront Miniatures