Hobby Boss Soviet T-60 Light Tank Full Build
For some T-60 history and the first look at this kit please see this review: AMPS Reviews - Hobby Boss Soviet T-60 Light Tank - Armor Modeling & Preservation Society (amps-armor.org)
Hobby Boss's T-60 is a pretty typical kit for them. Instructions were very clear, fit was mostly pretty good, and the detail level was quite good. I did not follow their assembly sequence closely as will be seen below. But in general this is an easy-to-build, nicely detailed kit. I finished it in two sessions; it can easily be completed in a weekend.
Most kits start with tracks and wheels, but Hobby Boss starts with some hull modifications instead. The basic hull tub needs a few mounting holes opened and a few other mounting outlines scraped off. It only takes a few seconds. Based on this, I assume the hull tub in this kit will be used for other T-60-based kits. Here's hoping.
The next few steps are adding a few small fittings to the hull tub, such as towing shackles, the final drive covers and some axles for the return rollers. This was all uneventful, but, on the return roller axles, ensure they are straight/perpendicular to the hull side. They will not line up by themselves.
As you might expect on a small, simple AFV like this, the tracks take most of the work. The track links, all 180 or so, are a little tedious to prepare. Each link has three sprue attachment points which need to be cut off and then cleaned up. I would say almost half my build time on this kit was spent with the track link cleanup. Track links have nice detail including hollow guide horns. There are easily 20 or so extra links so if you lose, break or bend a few, you have a few spares. It is easy to inadvertently bend them when removing them from the sprue. By the book, the T-60 has 81 links per side. I used a few more than that because I wanted to show some significant track sag. Frankly this was the only part of this build that wasn't much fun. On the other hand, the rest of the kit is so simple, once cleaning up the tracks was done I felt like I was in the home stretch.
Wheel and Track Installation
The wheels are very nicely done. Cleanup is easy. The torsion bar arms have a good positive fit and align themselves perfectly. If you want to flex them to show uneven terrain, they'd need some minor modifications. The arms are delicate and, I suspect, very easily bent out of alignment if you're not careful. Roadwheels and idlers go on next and fit really snugly. I left the drive sprockets off till I was installing the track.
Track installation was really easy. I was a bit wary since I had heard that the tracks on this kit were a little wonky, but....they aren't. Just assemble them with a slow-setting glue and wrap them around the wheels. Fit around the sprocket was excellent - the links click into the teeth exactly as they should. I added a lot of sag to my model using a few extra links, but 81 per side is correct for snug tracks.
Once the tracks are on the rest of the hull is a breeze. There is a slight issue with the fit of the hull top to the hull sides - the actual fit and alignment of parts is fine, but, there is a too-thick plate edge showing that must be filled in. The two photos below show the minor filling/sanding needed.
The fenders have three small PE support brackets on each side. Other details such as the driver's hatch, lights, various vents etc are all added quickly and painlessly. I painted the inside of the hull black just in case it is visible through the mesh on the engine deck (turns out it isn't). The driver's hatch has no inner detail. Just a note, on real T-60s the driver's front vision hatch could be opened 90 degrees or 180 degrees, i.e. almost straight up.
The turret has a bit of an odd aspect to it - the front three sides are separate from the rest of the turret (see photos). It all fits just fine but I am not sure why Hobby Boss molded it this way. The problem is that it creates a seam that did not exist on the real turret. This is the only place on the model that really needed attention with major filling and sanding.
The rest of the turret looks good; the 20mm gun tube is a one-piece plastic molding. Hobby Boss included a metal version of this same weapon on their T-30 kit, so I was surprised not to see it in this kit. But the plastic tube is really fine. The DT machinegun is also in one piece, but without the muzzle drilled out. There is no turret interior except for the DT.
Hobby Boss's photoetch works well, but the bending required means annealing it is critical. I don't do a lot of PE that requires long, straight bends, so I substituted some plastic (in white below) for the PE splash guard in front of the driver's vision hatch. There's nothing wrong with their part; this is just my preference. The PE mesh over the engine cooling fan looks very nice, with a weave look. The tiny flat plates above the vision slits look great.
There are no clear parts. The headlight lens is provided as a solid plastic part, which I discarded. I used clear gloss for the lens instead.
Overall it went together well and other than the extra seam, it looks great. Here it is, ready for the paint shop.
I must mention two things here:
- The muffler is crooked, but I think that is my mistake. The mounting brackets are molded solid on the part and I think I cut too much away as I was cleaning up the part.
- If I were building this kit again, I would start by attaching the hull roof to the hull tub. That way it would be easier to get a good fill/sand job on the hull join without risking any other parts. I was following the instructions so I didn't realize this would be an issue till I had the wheels and tracks on.
Again though, this was a really easy, problem-free build.
Aftermarket opportunities for this kit might include PE fenders, but that's about it.
I painted the T-60 in the pretty-much-mandatory 4BO (Red Army green) as it would have come out of the factory. There are many online debates about this color, which I do not intend to debate here ;) I like Tamiya's RAF Dark Green but, whatever your choice, it has to start as green. A lot of T-60s were used in the winter of 1941-42 and would be camouflaged in white, but none of the markings options are for whitewashed vehicles so I stayed with green, T-60s were also very common in the summer 1942 fighting so no worries there.
I did my usual shading/weathering etc. The kit decals performed well. There is no information provided on the units or time period in which these markings are appropriate.
Hobby Boss's T-60 is a nice balance of easy buildability and pretty good detail. There are no major issues. This kit is easily with the abilities of any experienced modeler and makes for a relaxing weekend build.
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to Hobby Boss for this review kit.
Reviewed by Dan Egan
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