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Friday, January 10, 2014

T-26 Review

by Luke Melia

T-26 obr 1933 Light Tank Company

I was given a box of T-26 obr 1933 Light Tanks from Battlefront for review.  I had a little difficulty initially, as one of the tanks was missing a barrel.  I contacted customer support and promptly got a replacement.  I have to admit, these fell to the bottom of my painting queue during the wait and over the Holidays I put them off to the side. 

With the release of Desperate Measures, my interest in Soviets has been rejuvenated and I pulled out these guys again to brush up on my Soviet painting skills.  The box of five tanks retails for $52.00USD.  This is about the common price from Battlefront for tanks of this size.

You get options to model either a 45mm gun or to model the tanks as the Kht-130 Flame Tank.  I did not model of the tanks here with that option.  You also get a sprue with five tank commanders as another option to designate unit leaders or just add some extra realism and flair for your unit.

To assemble the tank you have eight basic pieces.  Everything was easy to assemble except the tracks.  There was an inordinate amount of flashing on the tracks and not only did I have to trim a little metal from the outside edges - which is easy and only takes a moment - but I had to trim the tops of tracks.  This caused me to have to cut metal bits off and then use fine sandpaper to smooth it off so as not to show the cut marks.  I also ran into issues with the tracks not lining up solidly with the resin body of the tanks.  I had to trim and cut the tracks again to make everything line up.  Without these difficulties, I could have assembled all five tanks in less than twenty minutes.  With the difficulties of the tracks I pushed closer to an hour.

I did not have a can of Soviet armor paint so I primed the tanks black and brushed a coat of Russian Green and then highlighted with Green Grey.  I then used my Magic Mud Wash from CGR Painters to completely ink the tanks.  Then I simply brushed some German Camo Brown in and around the tracks for mud color.

This is my fast and furious paint job.  The tanks do not come with decals, which is a big detractor for me.  Battlefront makes the best decals that I have used.  Not seeing them in this pack was a disappointment.  I will be adding decals shortly, but for the review purpose I wanted to show the tanks as they came in the box.

The Magic Mud does darken up the shade a little as I brushed it on very liberally.  Not quite as dark as the pictures show, however.  Please forgive the quality of light on the models.  The shading of light in my garage does not help elaborate the true tone of color.

So here are my negatives on this set:
1.  $52.00 seems a little high for five "small" tanks.
2.  The metal tracks were a hassle.  I would prefer plastic for the tracks for simplicity.
3.  No decals.  This small detail adds a lot of dollar value to me.

Here are my positives:
1. This set is pretty easy to put together.
2. The tanks are wonderfully sculpted and provide fantastic detail.
3. Options for flamethrowers is a very nice touch.

Overall Rating:  8.5 out of 10 Kommissars
Overall I am very satisfied with this set.  I would recommend to Battlefront that they just go ahead and go with plastic tracks and barrels.  It makes everything so much easier.  Assembly is, by far, the most important factor that I look for in a model and influences my feelings greatly.  Despite the issues I had with the metal tracks, these tanks were still a breeze to put together and paint.  From start to finish, subtracting drying time, these tanks took me around an hour and a half to assemble and paint.  Combined with the quality of the model it makes the $52.00 price tag a lot easier to swallow. I am also going to back up my rating by saying I have since bought two more boxes that are sitting on my painting table at this moment.

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