At the beginning of April, Large Scale Modeller kicked off its first armor-only group build, focused on the Eastern Front from Barbarossa to Kursk. After batting around the idea of another T-34, I decided I’d go in a different direction and build a Soviet light tank instead – the T-26.
Hobby Boss – which, along with Trumpeter – appears to be on an “All Things Russian” tear at the moment – already offers several flavors of T-26, with more on the way. I chose the Mod. 1933 because, well, I don’t know really! My intention is to do this one quick and to have fun with it, not get all bent out over accuracy.
The T-26 Light Tank was one of the USSR’s main tanks during the interwar period, and was actually the most numerous tank in the Soviet arsenal when Operation Barbarossa was launched. For a 1930s tank, it was decent enough, but rapid improvements in weaponry and design rendered it completely obsolete by the Winter War with Finland. When Germany invaded in 1941, the Russians went to war with the army they had, and it got trounced. The T-26 was slaughtered by German tanks, artillery and aircraft. And that’s when it was running. By the autumn of 1941 many of them were just wearing out, and were left by the roadside and cannibalized to keep other T-26s running.
Despite obsolescence and replacement by the vastly superior T-34, the T-26 fought in such pivotal engagements as the Battle of Moscow and the Battle of Stalingrad. Though by the time Kursk rolled around it was largely withdrawn to quieter areas.
The One I’m Building
I’m planning to build my T-26 as a member of the 20th Tank Brigade during the Battle of Moscow. Awesomely, all I have is this one small reference photo to play with.
After wrestling with the 1000+ parts T-80BV, this thing looks like a walk in the park! The only aftermarket I’m adding is Friul metal tracks.
Trumpeter and Hobby Boss both have a tendency toward being what I’ll call “oddly fiddly”. That is, much of a kit may build up in a well-thought out, logical manner. But then some subassemblies will pull in a stupid number of parts for basically no reason.
Such as the suspension bogeys, each of which consists of a staggering 21 parts.
Or the drive sprockets…
Fortunately once you get past the suspension things build pretty quickly.
Watch out for parts E9 and E10. I was so focused on getting them glued to the proper side of the tank that I totally missed that the surface detail should be facing out, where it forms part of the tow mount. Fortunately a little bit of plastic card fixes things nicely.
Also watch out for the driver’s hatch. Which should have a vision slit, but doesn’t. I cut my own and did a meager job of it.
From this point on, construction is really a matter of putting things together. Here’s the T-26 nearly finished building.
Note the lifting eyes on the turret. Those should lay flat.
I thought this was going to be a bear of a modification, but nope! Just sliced mostly through the rings with a #11 blade, pushed them over, and applied some MEK to them. Super easy.
Prime and Paint
Still moving fast, I sat down and shot primer (Mr. Finishing Surfacer 1500) basically as soon as I wrapped construction.
And then moved on to paint. Soviet 4BO Green is one of those colors. It’s just like Olive Drab or Interior Green where it varied considerably depending on where a tank was produced, where it served, whether it got touched-up, etc. But the paint nazis still argue about the exact shade.
Well. I read that Tamiya XF-67 is very close to the “generally agreed to be excellent” AKAN 4BO green, so I used it for my base. Looks alright to me.
In Part 2
Next up, weathering the 4BO, painting the various on-vehicle tools, and then adding whitewash. Somewhere in there I need to assemble the Friul tracks as well. Stay tuned…