Monday, 9 March 2015

Teeny Tiny T-70 (Bolt Action)

Once again: Privet Tovarishchi! The mighty bear of the Soviet army have another tooth with which to grip the throat of the fascist grey wolf! The mighty... what? It's not, in any way mighty? Oh, well... the plucky T-70 light tank!

annoying "shinyness" in all these photos, actual tank much more matte.

The T-70 was one of a whole line of Soviet light tanks, it was first made in 1942 and replaced the T-50 infantry support and T-60 scout tanks. This is actually the T-70M variant because the '70 had a nasty habit of exploding due to it's engine configuration. Not long after the T-70M was replaced with the T-80 the Soviet Union abandoned light tank production all together and replaced their role with armoured cars while focusing on medium and heavy tank production. I think the T-70 was unfortunate in a way because it was developed at the time when the T-34 was king of the battlefield. A medium tank with the performance and speed of the light tank will always draw uncomfortable comparisons and the '70 just wasn't up to the job. It didn't help that the tank could literally only fit 2 crewmen so commanding an engagement was all but impossible for tank commanders who had to focus on gunnery. Anyway, enough history (more here), on with the show!

The first thing to note about this kit (the MikroMir 1:48 T-70) is that it is tiny, it feels like a 1:72 kit in many ways. In the photo above the T34-85 looks enormous compared to the '70 despite it being far from a big tank (wait till I break out the KV-1 or Maisey brings the Tiger). I should confess, at the time of assembling the kit I was ready to turn this article into a symphony of frustration at this kit. I hated assembling it. Lousy instructions of the mislabelled parts, "lets mash 12 steps into one, they'll figure it out" school; soft details on hard brittle plastic; unnecessary brass etch components (every ridge on the turret is a piece of brass you have to fold) and the worst track run I've made to date. All told on and off it took about eight hours to make. Approach this kit with caution, "Made in Ukraine" is unfortunately not a mark of quality it seems. That being said, it is the only (to my knowledge) 1:48 scale T-70 kit on the market so I feel fortunate to have one available at all.

Despite all that grumbling? My hate for this tank vanished under the first spray of primer. The various components were unified and the tank emerged. I had also by then done more research (seriously, to find out where to fit the rear road wheels, the instructions did not show it...) and discovered that some of the features of the kit that looked properly rough were accurately representing the tank! It's build quality is terrible! Not surprisingly, for Soviet armour, painting proceeded in exactly the same way as the T34-85 kit. Vallejo Cam Olive Green, highlighted by adding Green Grey, shaded by adding black. Tracks were painted in Vallejo Track Primer and Ammo Track Rust, the rims of the wheels in Ammo Rubber & Tires. There really isn't much else to the normal painting (Soviet armour is seriously easy to paint, "any colour so long as it's green!"). From then on it's all weathering.

Weathering was - again just like the T34-85 - just Ammo Enamels loaded onto a brush and then blown off onto the model with bursts of air from the airbrush. Starting with the lightest, and the greatest coverage, and working darker and darker for fresher and fresher splashes. I dampened the upper surfaces of the tank with odourless thinner and then ran the lightest earth colour into the creases, panel lines, around the bolts and anywhere else that dust would gather. Did some streaking anywhere that rainmarks would form and that was that. Last two things to mention are markings - again, hand painted by the crew so just a freehand "51" and a "For Stalin!" on the side - and the exhaust system. I decided that the crew had recently had a new unpainted exhaust fitted but the pressure of the conflict led to the tank being thrown back into service with no extra paint (there are stories of the tank factory in Stalingrad literally rolling off the production line, unpainted, covered in welders chalk marks and being crewed and driven straight into the conflict outside). As a result, the exhaust, which are all cheap metal, rusted fast. I wanted to play with the ammo rust colours and they are fantastic. Really good for the "jeffrust" stippling thing. I started from a German Camo Black-Brown basecoat and worked up.

So a fun paint job on a really, really hellish build. Shakes out as a fairly enjoyable tank. No idea how it will fight on the table, but I'll let you know. You see this is the first step of a Tank War army (list above) designed to reflect roughly the proportions of different models of tank in the Soviet Army, i.e. mostly T-34's with a big KV-1 and a little nippy T-70 for scouting. Two lethal squads of SMG armed tank riders to sweep aside the opposing infantry round it out (great help not having to have separate transports for them and it's very Soviet). I know we'll be facing a Tiger at some point... eep.

That's all for today tovarishchi, keep the vodka handy and your gun oiled for winter is over and spring will bring the attack once more!


1 comment:

  1. Nice mini-mini tank.

    Coincidently, apparently most of the tanks fighting around Donetsk now (on both sides) were all built in the same Ukrainian factory.