My models

T-80U: Construction

T80IMG_9570_res

When the announcement first cam out about Xact scale models releasing T-80U, I took notice, but didn’t find the news particularly …exciting.

Then came the review at Perth Military Modeling site and I had to admit there is something about this kit. Finally I have decided to get it myself and picked it up during my last visit in my local hobby store.

I know I may be repeating myself after the superlatives I have written about Meng’s D9R kit but I cannot avoid it. Given that this is first kit from Xact scale models, it is truly excellent entry to the market. Just a quick look at the sprues clearly shows that Xact scale is likely going to take one of the top spots among plastic model kit producers.

Quality of molding is excellent and details are sharp and crisp. The kit is quite complex and number of parts is too high for this kit to be something for a beginner. There is very little flash on the parts and ejection marks are almost invisible. There are some seam lines that will need cleaning, but these are very soft and will not pose any problems. I must admit that the quality of molding is such that I have decided to build this kit right away (yes, another one…). There are 2 photoetch sheets included and even pre-formed photoetch grill, which is perhaps the first such part ever included in the model kit that I know about. Level of detail is in my opinion such that I do not plan to wait for any resin/photoetch parts.

Being more than half-way through the construction I can say that the kit is well designed and fit of the parts is excellent. There is number of attachments that have to be added onto the turret and the locating holes have to be drilled out but Xact scale came out with quite smart way on how to provide guidance to drill these correctly and thus the fit is very good. There is large assembly of wading equipment which is easiest to be assembled separately (steps 37-41). While putting this together and seeing the complexity I found it hard to believe that it will fit into the locating holes on the turret. But it did and quite nicely.

There was one area where a modeller has to be careful – smoke grenade dischargers, I believe that this is the only major mistake in this kit. Smoke dischargers are quite prominent on the front of the turret and have to be carefully aligned, they have to be parallel (when looking both from side and top).  Designers did not realize that if the base (parts 2 on the left side and T3 on the right side) for all the dischargers is going to have the same shape, these dischargers are not going to be aligned correctly due to the curvature of the turret – instead of being parallel they will spread pointing outward. You will have to sand the base of these dischargers to compensate for the curving of the turret to have them aligned properly.

This however is the only such area of this kit I had encountered so far.

The only part of this kit that I intend to replace are the tracks. The tracks provided in the kit are the vinyl ones and while molded nicely, they are not good enough for me. Edges of the tracks are distorted in few places, so I have decided to go for the Friul tracks which are my favourite (though more expensive) alternative.

Given that I have been working on this kit only something over a week, the progress is quite fast due to its quality. I am looking forward to have the construction finished and move onto the painting phase.

If you are interested in this kit make sure to check out review on PMMS site (here).

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