First, I have a commentary from a friend off of my e-mail. Not sure if he wants to be ID'd, so it is anonymous for right now - (I did do a little editing and fact checking
The T-62M1 was the final Cold War version of the tank. It was a common variant with 'anti-radiation shielding in the 8th Guards Tank Army and the 79th Guards Tank Army in the mid-to late 1980's. In the beginning of that decade the T-62 was the main war fighter of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany. T-55 was still in the Motor Rifle Divisions and Independent Tank Battalions. T-80 deliveries were not as fast as the Russians had hoped and they moved them around a lot to give watchers the impression that they were everywhere, but it was 1986-7 before the T-62 was replaced in the forward positioned Tank regiments. However they soon replaced the T-55 in the second echelon units with the T-62 and the T-55 remained in service until the end in Independent regts and training units.
The T-62M1 with anti radiation cladding was a typical tank of the Soviet front line in the mid 1980's. It was the best of the T-62 line and a lot were given the T-72 engine. There were 94 of these tanks in a Regiment and 51 in an Independent tank regiment. Hardly a rare beast! The 1V13 laser sight linked to the KMT-2 laser, made the Rapira-2 gun a very useful and accurate anti-armour weapon in the European environment at this time. Used with the ''Shenska'' main gun launched missile (AT-12 Stabber/Swinger) that had a maximum range of 4,000 metres against both tanks and anti-tank helicopters, it was almost as good as a T-80BV except for its sluggishly slow speed.
The Soviets had rapidly fitted their front-line armour with anti-radiation cladding to defeat the very real perceived threat from US artillery delivered nuclear weapons, especially the M752 Lance using the W70 warhead. Deployed in Western Germany with the US and British Armies it was a weapon greatly feared by the Soviets. (Incidentally the West Germans wanted nothing to do with this system and refused to deploy it. It would kill hundred of thousands of their citizens if it was ever used]. Scientifically the lead shielding really had value in protecting the crews inside AFV's and the Soviets also fitted it to BMP vehicles.
This material was a grey colour, but was always over-painted on the top and left natural inside. Paint did not effect its chemical properties. There are many, many colour references on the WEB of the cladding over-painted in the tanks normal colour. The T-62AM/BV was, in the later half of the 1980's, the most numerous vehicle in the GSFG.
As more T-62's were replaced in the forward positioned regiments in Germany they were remanufactured by being "sanitized". The missile guidance systems were removed. The associated laser sight was removed as was the anti-radiation cladding and the side tucha smoke dischargers. This was done in base workshops in East Germany. The tanks were then rail shipped to be issued to The 40th Army in Afghanistan.
How a single example crept through unaltered is unknown to me, as is the reason why Mig Production want to sell their model as a ''Taliban tank''. All very strange.
The model depicted when in Soviet front line service was the best of the T-62's [and usually without side skirts]. They must have had a really incompetent logistics officer to ship one to Afghanistan !!!!!