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Tamiya BT-7 Review and Build

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Introduction
Built between 1935 and 1940, the BT-7 was a Russian light cavalry tank that saw service in the Soviet-Japanese Border Wars, WWII and the Winter War. Weighing in at just less than 14 tons, the BT-7 had a chain driven transmission powered by a 450hp Mikulin M-17T (V-12) gasoline engine. The main armament of this light tank was the 45 mm L/46 cannon. By the onset of the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, and with tank losses soaring higher and higher, the BT-7 was still in full production. By the time of the Battle of Kursk, the BT-7 was making up nearly half of the armor in the Soviet Army.

Early in the war and subsequently after the invasion of the Soviet Union, a large number of BT-7 tanks made their way into the hands of the German Army. These Beutepanzer were widely and effectively used by the German panzer divisions throughout the war.

Even with the creation of the T-34 tank, the BT-7 would remain in service throughout most of WWII, and up to 1945 in Manchuria, during the Soviet Union’s attack against Japan.

The Kit
As part of any build feature, I suppose it is important to talk a little about the kit that is used. For this build I used Tamiya’s 1/35 scale Russian Tank: BT-7 Model 1937, kit model number 35327. Release in February of 2013 this is a great little kit. I do like Tamiya models as they are fairly consistent in quality; the high quality of plastic and engineering make for a great fit.

Different this time is that there are not the usual bandies or one-piece styrene band tracks included. Tamiya provides a link and length version of track links; an excellent improvement! There are small ejector pin marks located on the inside of each one of these links but these can easily be filled and sanded or even left if this is not something that truly bothers you in a build. Much of the time cleaning the marks is not always required, depending on the level of dirt and/or mud you apply to the final step of the build, as they will not be seen anyway.

Another fine addition to this new kit is that there is a small sheet of photo etched parts. For this build all that is required is the intake screens and engine cooling vent screens; but this is enough to enhance the detail a lot.

On this build I will include a number of things. First being the kit itself; I will show what is in the kit as a sort of review to try and show the parts included, as well as some good and bad points I noticed along the way. Second, I will be showing some of the building process. I won’t bog down this article too much with this part as the kit is relatively simple to construct and there are not a lot of fancy building techniques to be seen here. Finally, I will incorporate a review of Glenn Bartolotti’s E-Book: Step by Step: Captured Tanks under the German Flag. This E-Book from Glenn is volume #36 and can be purchased at Glenn’s website for $1.95 US. Glenn is an exceptional modeler and has a knack for explaining his processes associated with his builds very well, covering a variety of subjects. Whether you are starting out or have been building models for a while, it is worth it to check out Glenn’s collection of Step by Step E-Books.

Back to the model here for a moment; as aforementioned, this is Tamiya’s BT-7 Model 1937. The kit comes in the standard pop-top box with the usual box art depicting the model within. The box contains the following:
  • 6 x Green colored styrene sprues of parts
  • 1 x Clear styrene sprue of parts
  • 1 x Sheet of photo etched parts
  • 1 x Decal sheet
  • 12 x Large poly washers
  • 8 x Small poly washers
  • 1 x 200mm length of chain
  • 1 x Instruction booklet
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About the Author

About Todd Michalak (TRM5150)
FROM: MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES

I am building what I like, when I like and how I like it; having fun doing it. I have been building and finishing models on and off my whole life but the past ten years things really exploded. Just about anything goes when it comes to hitting the bench, but wrecked armor, rusted hulks, ships or ...


Comments

Very nice article and lovely model.
AUG 08, 2013 - 01:25 AM
Thak you very much Dave!!
AUG 08, 2013 - 02:02 AM
Hi Todd, Lovely build. I do like this vehicle and it's straightforward construction. The link and length tracks look to be a a great improvement on the normal Tamiya style rubber band tracks. Excellent work. Al
AUG 08, 2013 - 02:42 AM
AWESOME Review Todd and BT-7 is stunning to say the least! Well done sir.
AUG 08, 2013 - 03:30 AM
Hi Alan! Thank you kindly Sir!! Big improvent with the tracks! Easy to clean too! Small pin marks but like I said in the review...sand and done or leave and cover with mud!! LOL!! Brotha Gary!! Thanks bud! Appreciate it...thanks!!!
AUG 08, 2013 - 04:27 AM
Excellent write up, T. A modeler and an author.... truly a man for all seasons!
AUG 08, 2013 - 04:40 AM
Hello Bob!! Thank you, thank you! LOL!!
AUG 08, 2013 - 08:33 AM
The is great, I wish more modelers would write up build-reviews like this! I just copied it onto file for my references.
AUG 09, 2013 - 06:17 PM
Thank you very much Jeremy! Sometimes it takes a bit longer...but it can be fun to go through the process!!
AUG 09, 2013 - 10:14 PM
What I like the most from the article is the part about scratch building of the "lost" details. How often we see posts on forums asking for help, because some detail got lost. With little bit of internet search and some work a new part can be built, which may look even better than the lost original one. The author definitely didn't have a heart attack from losing a couple of parts! Kuddos for that! I only would like to add that "the two white scratch-built parts on the rear deck" are not to fill with fuel, but to adjust the rear suspension shock absorbers. I wouldn't put too much trust in your historical sources, though. >>>"By the onset of the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, and with tank losses soaring higher and higher, the BT-7 was still in full production." No BT-7 was produced past September of 1940 as the T-34 started to go into mass production. >>>"By the time of the Battle of Kursk, the BT-7 was making up nearly half of the armor in the Soviet Army." Hardly over 5,000 BT-7 were produced at all time, and most of them lost in 1941-1942. More than 15,000 T-34 were built before 1943; plus, another 15,000 were built in 1943 alone. Plus all kinds of light tanks, KV tanks and SPGs. Not exactly "...BT-7 was making up nearly half of the armor...". Anyway, great build! Thanks for sharing with us! And good luck on your future projects!
AUG 13, 2013 - 03:46 PM