by: Kevin Brant [ ]
The T-70 Light tank was used by the Soviets in World War 2 for both reconnaissance and infantry support. The two man tank, first fielded in 1942, mounted a 45mm main gun and 7.65 coaxial machine gun. While the light tank used in the Soviet army declined during the war, the T-70 actually stayed in service till 1948.
MiniArt first produced the T-70M kit in 2006, and has released different variants of the kit since. The latest release of this tank, labelled Special Edition, includes a previously released four figure set of Russian tankmen.
4 Plastic Sprues(includes single sprue of figures)
14 Plastic Individual Track Link Sprues
1 Clear Plastic Sprue
1 Fret of Photo-etched
1 Decal Sheet
Opening the box, the first thing I noticed was the small sprue count, but then again, it is a small tank. The moldings look great, with some nice detail on the tank. The kit does include a fret of photo etched parts to detail the grills and stowage boxes, which was not included in the initial release. All the parts were packed into a single bag, and I did have some parts that were broken off the sprue, as well as the barrel to the coaxial MG broken.
The figure sprue contains the four figures, previously released by MiniArt as just a figure set. The initial look show good molding, with nice uniform and facial detail. The four figures are dressed in long winter coats wearing Russian tankmen helmets.
For the review, I thought, letís build it, and was impressed. The kit goes together very well, and is a simple build. Having very few parts, I was able to put the tank together in a single evening. The overall fit of the parts is very good.
One area that required extra work was the rear engine deck grill. The instructions have the builder cut out and remove the plastic. This is then replaced by slats, which required some extra sanding of the newly created opening. I did notice that the slats shown in the instructions don't actually match the photo-etched slat shape once folded. With the extra sanding done to widen the opening, and a little measuring, I was able to glue the slats in and put the photo-etch grill over, with a good looking result.
It should also be noted that in step 1, for bending and mounting the side grill, the view in the instruction is from the rear of the tank, which is not specified in the instructions. It took some dry fitting to ensure I had this part shaped and mounted correctly.
The rest of the hull construction went very smoothly. As for the turret, the kit does include a breach for the main gun, but it is not very well detailed. This is not a big issue if you plan on closing the relatively large turret hatch. Clear parts are included for the viewing periscopes. The turret assembles well, with good fit all around.
Adding the running gear will take a little patience, as the parts are small and fragile. I also found after assembly the wheels did not sit exactly straight up and down, but some "gentle" coercing will help that.
The MiniArt kit does include individual link track, and the molding does look good. While not photographed assembled, I did assemble a few pieces, and it does look nice. Just a bit of a warning, being small links, they are fragile.
It should be noted that the kit contains parts to build either the early or late variants of this tank.
As for the figures, I was not completely impressed, most the fit of the helmets. I did assemble one figure, and found the fit was generally ok, but it did leave a couple of gaps that would be easily filled. As for the helmets, they are made from three parts, the top piece on the top of the head, and two side parts over the ears. The side parts are thick, and don't quite fit. To get these to fit, the builder would need to sand down the thickness to ensure a better fit and look when built.
The kit includes marking for nine different vehicles, with a mix of both summer and winter paint schemes. The decals look to be very well done, good color, and all look to be in register.
For a 10 year old kit, this T-70M from MiniArt looks to be a nice kit. Being a small tank, part count is low, but overall fit is very good. The kit has nice surface detail, and the photo etched parts add to this. The figures, in my opinion, are not the best, but with some work could produce some nice looking Russian's dressed for winter. I would definitely recommend this kit, as it is a fun and quick build.
Note: I will post some images of the completed and painted vehicle in the near future.