One of the most prolific tanks of the Soviet Early and Mid War eras that has been getting a lot of list time has come out in a new box set. Already released from the new Early War army book by Flames of War Rising Sun, comes the new revision of the T-26 Light Tank in the form of an earlier variation, the T-26 obr 1933. I personally could not wait to check these guys out as lists in both EW and MW have been including T-26s, here was my chance to paint some up and see how they stack up to other models.
The models of the T-26 obr 1933 are far and above more detailed than the existing Flames of War models and, in my personal opinion, have a more interesting look to the turret than the T-26 obr 1939 models. The angular lines, the rivets, the flat surfaces; these all appeal to my interest and the way I like tanks to look instead of the conical turret featured in the later year models. The chassis is mildly similar between the two versions but the 1933 maintains a boxy and angular design while the 1939 begins to see more smooth lines. To me, it is all about the turret - it is where the eye is drawn to and I feel the 1939 is somewhat bland when the 1933 is there. The option to mount the two MG turrets is available in the resin model but no turrets are provided as part of any kit that I have seen, thus the option for the T-26 obr 1932 is left to be converted on your own.
Options provided in this kit not only extend to being able to swap between the 45mm and the flame tank variant, but a slew of rear-turret MGs and the AAMG with copulas were provided. There is no easy way to make both guns/mantlets interchangeable, but I found that by drilling out the turret and mounting a magnet inside and then adding a bit of paper clip to the inside of the mantlet, it was possible to magnetize each weapon system to swap as needed. This allowed me to produce 2 types of tanks from 1 model with just a little effort. Now to the mildly confusing part: the rear-turret MG and AAMG are included, but both options are unavailable to the 1933 model according to Rising Sun. Bits were included in the package to add both of these to each tank, and while technically the KhT-130 can equip the rear-turret MG, neither can mount the AAMG, only the 1939 model. I decided to go ahead and mount them anyway as the stat line in the book does says T-26 1933 or 1939, and no difference exists between each tank stat wise nor point cost wise. Historically this may be incorrect, but the bits look too good not to be included and on the table it would be a rarity to find anyone that would mind so long as the points are paid for if the equipment is used.
MODEL: 9/10 Tons of bits and options available for this model, even different gun mounts are provided with a bit of modification and converting.
As is the current trend for the new Early War Soviet Tank box set, the T-26 obr 1933s weighs in at 5 tanks in the box for $52 USD. For $10.20 a tank, this beats the price of an individual tank by a dollar or two. This price is about on-par with the current Flames of War pricing but may seem a little pricey for only 5 small tanks.
PRICE: 8/10 There are cheaper alternatives to the Flames of War - T-26 obr 1933, but the 1933 model is unique to Flames of War production and does include the extra weapons. It is also inline with other 5 model box sets.
Painting these tanks up was phenomenally easy - so easy that I went ahead and tried a few new things to how I typically paint just to see how it would turn out. To start, I used an airbrush and Vallejo surface primer in the Russian Armor Green variety - perfect paint match to the Battlefront Spray Cans that no longer exist.
From there, I painted the tracks with German Grey as their base color and the exhaust pipe with some Cavalry Brown - my typical rust red color. Finally, I painted all the MGs in a Dark Sea Blue to give them a parkerized coloration. Once all of these base colors were dry, I used a wash on the tanks for the first time ever as I tend to dip everything. For the wash, I used a simple black wash that is from Secret Weapon to add depth to the model and fill in spaces. With so many angular surfaces and raised rivets I wanted to try a dry brush effect to try to subtly bring up some details in a quick fashion. I did a two stage dry brush for the green with the first a 50/50 of Soviet Armor Green and Soviet Uniform. I then jumped to the second stage with just Soviet Uniform in a very light dry brush to only hit the very edges. The only other dry brush needed was a metallic for the tracks and MGs and then it was completed with a quick hit from the dull coat to mellow everything out.
PAINTABILITY: 9/10 These models are very easy to paint up, and I typically do not enjoy painting.
The T-26 obr 1933 is a very nice model with a ton of options, easy to assemble, and easy to paint. This was one of the easier models I have built and painted, the only complicated part coming from my own desire to magnetize the guns to the turrets. The only thing I would have liked to see is some decals included in the box, but if that is my only complaint then it must be a pretty good box. To create a complete company (platoon for any other nationality) you’ll need 16 in total, double that for a batalon, and you're looking at a pretty hefty entry fee with $52 USD for 5.
While other vendors produce T-26 obr 1939 models for far cheaper, the T-26 obr 1933 models are unique to the Flames of War production line and I really prefer the 1933s. I cannot recommend these enough, plenty of options for weapon systems and bits, easy to construct and paint, and not to mention the fact they are the mainstay of the EW Soviet armored force. These just simply cannot be passed up and I plan to pick up one or two more sets of these.
Overall Score: 8.25/10: Must buy for Soviet Players.
Chris Hecht WWPD's online community manager, and leader of the 1st WWPD Panzer Division in World of Tanks. Chris has been participating in tabletop gaming since the second edition of Warhammer 40k. Now he enjoys competitive FoW and Bolt Action, but still retains his prized original first release Necron Army. In addition he runs a YouTube channel under the handle of Darqueling that features many videos related to video games.
Models provided by Battlefront Miniatures.