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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Review: T-35 Heavy Tankovy Platoon

- by Christopher Hecht

 From the new Early War army book by BattlefrontRising Sun, comes the massive Land Battleship, the T-35 Heavy Tankovy Platoon. Easily one of the most massive tanks of the Soviet Early War era, and possibly the entire war if you're talking size, has been released as one of the latest box sets. With it's insane amount of special rules and really fun history and feel, I have been looking forward to this model and have been bugging Dirty Jon over and over to get a crack at these monsters.

As with most current or new box sets released by Battlefront, there is a TON of stuff in the box relating to the model itself but it is lacking in accessories that a lot of us have come to utilize, expect and love.

The box contains two full T-35s with all 5 turrets for each tank. There really are no options to change up for this tank, but they do include the optional AA MG and have plenty of hull MG's to add to the main turret for its Turret Front and Turret Rear positions. As mentioned above, and in my previous review, decals and magnets are once again noticeably absent from the box and could have been fairly useful in the construction of this model, especially with the box art including decals on the model.

The main turret and mini turret mounting locations do have the indentation where a magnet could fit, so it would have been nice to have a set of magnets to make the turrets a little more controllable. When it comes to decals, there are options here, but technically I can give them a little bit of a pass. The box art does show a nice big red star on the sides, but when I was looking at the different paint schemes on line very few T-35s actually had the Red Star or other markings. Most just had some solid or dashed lines, which is what I based my paint scheme off of. So, while decals would have been nice, especially with all of the real estate on this tank for some typical war phrases and other marking, it may be a-historical so it is not necessary.

CONTENTS: 7/10 Turrets, more turrets, and a few more turrets!

Everything is included to fully assemble two T-35s, which are easily the longest tank that Battlefront has produced that is not a "Special Order." That title is held by the TOG II* (I cannot confirm this as I do not own a TOG II* but in reality it is about a half meter longer).  This model is so long that the tracks are not made of the typical metal we have come to expect, in fact they do not even come as plastic! As an interesting turn of events all the large major pieces, including the tracks, are solid resin. This is both a blessing and a curse. The detail is crisper in resin and does not have flashing, but they are susceptible to chipping which I did notice on small pieces of the tracks. No big deal though, we call that battle damage or wear and tear.

MODEL: 7/10  Massive model, very "Orky" but amazing.  Tons of details and a very typical Russian boxy appearance. The only flaws were unavoidable chipping in resin but otherwise everything fit together perfectly.

Off the top of my head there really are not very many options to compare this box set to in terms of contents and price in the existing Battlefront line. Two very large models with tons of bits comes in at $40.00 USD which, in my opinion, for these models is a fair price, especially if you shop at a retail outlet that discounts the price. The only thing that would make this price better would obviously be the decals and magnets if some were included.

PRICE: 6/10 A fair but still steep price for some giant tanks, while other manufactures have similar models for varying prices, Battlefront would certainly earn my dollar again as they hold to the consistent premium level of detail when I compare them to another set of T-35's I have from another manufacturer.  Again though, some stores may sell them at a discount, so I am by no means one to pass up a bargain.

As with most Soviet tanks, the T-35 is a pretty easy tank to paint up.  I did my typical paint job for these, base > detail > dip > dull, but in the future I may want to give that modular painting a try when I get the correct airbrush colors.  For the base-coat I went with my typical method, since the Soviet Green no longer exists, and airbrush a Vallejo surface primer of the Russian Armor Green variety.  

Similar to my previous tanks (which is now becoming my go-to scheme for Soviets), I base coated the tracks with German Grey and the exhaust pipe with Cavalry Brown (note: I think this time I actually used Scarlet Red by mistake, but the colors are similar enough). Finally, I painted all the MG's in a Dark Sea Blue to give them a parkerized coloration. 

I wanted to add some details to these tanks. Having searched around I found that early T-35's had a solid red line around the top of each turret and a dashed white line under it.  It has been a long time since I have painted straight lines but once they were on the turrets they looked really cool.  Departing from my previous review where I used a black wash, this time I returned to my typical Army Painter Strong Tones dip, because it gives a great shading effect and helps protect the model.  

Once the dip dried over the course of a day or two I hit the tanks with dull coat to bring down the shine and glare as much as I could. Admittedly, this is something that I do not have much luck with, even though I did a few different coats. Overall, this is the go-to painting style that I fall back on and I like the speed with which I can get stuff done.

PAINTABILITY: 8/10  Very easy to paint with tons of real estate, lots of tools and stowage to paint on the sides, and if you want a historic look there are different turret schemes.

The T-35 is an excellent looking model that certainly will turn a few heads when you put it on the table. At $20 a tank, they are a beautiful model that I couldn't wait to get my hands on. I am glad I was able to get a chance to paint these up, but I do have my complaints about the magnets and decals. If you are looking for one of the most iconic tanks of the early war, look no further! The T-35 is awesome and hilarious, tons of special rules and a really unique piece on the field, and lots and lots of guns.

Overall Score: 7/10:  NEED MOAR DAKKA! I mean...

Christopher 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.

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