by: Adam Berhidi [ ]
Originally published on:
The Trumpeter T-62 was a long-awaited kit with the first version hitting the shelves in 2009. It marked the start of a new era, as since then the Chinese company has been continuously issuing kits from the Soviet/Russian ”T-family”, including newer models like the T-64, T-72, T-80, T-90 and I also smell a surprise T-55 kit in the pipeline. The Tiran-6 is the 8th T-62 version in Trumpeter’s product line and involves the most conversion compared to the base kit.
Unfortunately on-line references are hard to find on the real vehicle (except for the one in Latrun), so my review will focus mostly on the kit’s quality and features. Tiran-6’s are Soviet-made T-62’s captured from Syria and Egypt by the Israeli army during the Yom Kippur war in 1973. These were upgraded to an extent, however they had less importance than the T-54/55 conversions as US-made M-60’s were already being imported at that point. The upgrades included new communication equipment, storage boxes, tools and machine guns, but the original cannon was not replaced according to the ”official” description of the Tiran-6 found in Latrun. Wikipedia states however (without source), that the sights were changed as well, just like the engine and in some cases the main gun (to a 105mm one). The occasional use of Blazer reactive armor is also mentioned here. Although it was hard to find real-life photos of Tiran-6’s, I’d still like to share some observations based on my very limited research. Firstly, it looks like not all the vehicles were upgraded the same way. Some of them retained the original front fenders and the fuel drums as well and also could be issued with mine-clearing equipment (as per the photos of a Tiran-6 sold to South Korea so they can get a better understanding on the North Korean tanks based on the T-62). Others do not have the rear stowage bin on the tower and/or the bustle rack on the hull. The configuration of the machine guns also might be different – there are 4 options in the present kit. The commander’s hatch opens to the rear on some photos while the one on the Latrun vehicle opens to the front (just like on an original T-62). That’s all I got, further observations/corrections are welcome and encouraged in the comments section below.
The kit arrives in a standard size Trumpeter box, a bit thicker than usual as it is jam packed with parts. The box art is a bit odd as it pictures parts for a mine cleaning device (not included in the kit), but only for the left side. Inside the modeler will find a truly multimedia kit: plenty of plastic parts, individual track links, separate rubber tire rings, a metal gun, two sheets of PE and a towing cable made of brass wire. The parts come on four big (including two identical), three medium and four small sprues, plus seven for the track links and four for the outer rubber part of the wheels. The lower hull is a separate piece. All sprues are carefully packed and some delicate parts have extra wrapping for additional protection. We also get the usual stuff: instructions sheet, painting guide, and obviously some decals. According to the info on the box, the kit has 310 parts, well I won’t count it but it is at least 500 (as Model 1962 has 484 parts alone, that is sure, plus the Tiran-6 parts), 217 of which are the track links.
What can be found in the box is basically a T-62 Model 1972 kit with three additional sprues and two PE sheet for the Tiran-6 modification, so I would rather focus on the Tiran-6 part. In my opinion Trumpeter’s T-62 is a really decent kit, however it did not met completely the expectations of the hardcore fans of Russian armor who were waiting for years for this kit. The parts quality is very good in general involving a great deal of slide molding, with some molding lines to remove, but no imperfections or visible knockout pin marks are present. The kit is easy to build, only the tracks might cause some pain for the beginners – but I am happy with this trend. Even if these track links might not be of the best quality, it is still a better “default” option in the box than the rubber one. Periscopes and lights are made of clear plastic.
My main concerns with the kit (not considering myself a rivet-counter) were the lack of the fuel plumbing, the almost completely missing attachment points for the tool boxes and fuel cells, the lack of the welding seams, and the incorrect pattern of the cast turret (it should have a typical “peeled potato pattern”). Having built it already, I’d say an average armor modeler should be pretty happy with this kit – it has everything: PE, track links, metal barrel and can be built easily.
The three extra sprues for the Tiran-6 contain a slightly modified Model 1972 turret, three nicely detailed machine guns and their mounts, Israeli radio sets, tools and tool boxes, towing eyes, fuel cans, modified front and rear plates for the hull (the same as on the base kit but with different holes for the parts to be attached), two big stowage bins for the turret, a rear bustle rack and modified front/rear fenders (just to name the most important ones). The quality is excellent, with very nice slide molded parts. The rear bustle rack on the hull for example has the grab handles molded on. The PE is for the screens on the engine deck, the brackets of the cans, nicely detailed locking mechanisms for the Israeli boxes and some other bits. Oddly enough there is plenty of PE parts not to be used, although both frets are marked as “Tiran-6”…
The color profiles are again supplied by Ammo of Mig Jimenez but also provided in Gunze Mr. Hobby, Model Master, Tamiya and Humbrol (where available). One is the tank from Latrun (based on the license plate), the other is not identified and has further markings as well.
The instructions sheet is easy to follow, although a bit cluttered for my taste on the page dealing with the turret details.
Upon reviewing the Tiran-6 parts and the images of the built kit, it seems to me that Trumpeter used the Latrun vehicle as their reference, and these features are pretty much spot on. However all the rest is just like on the base kit.
Construction starts with the lower hull which is a very nice example of slide molding – rich in details but still it is one single part. Interestingly enough, some welding seams are present on it compared to the first kits – looks like Trumpeter upgrades it tools from time to time. After some inspection, additional (new) welding is found on the edges of the upper hull and also on the front plate of the lower hull – but that is all (still an improvement!). Unfortunately the Tiran kit has a separate front plate that does not have the weldings present. The wheels are easy to paint as the “rubber” parts are separate – unfortunately the fit of these around the wheels is a tiny bit loose. Interestingly, the instructions suggest using the driver sprockets from the Model 1972 kit (with 14 teeth and a plate in the middle) but the vehicle in Latrun has the older one with 13 teeth. Luckily both are present in the kit, although I am wondering if the late sprocket would work with the OMSh tracks as it usually comes with RMSh (T-72 style) tracks in the Trumpeter T-62 series. The links have basic detail, and are a bit chunky and also a little too narrow for my eyes. Instead of the fuel drums, a bustle rack is added to the rear.
The frontal part of the upper hull has some nice PE parts although the function of these is a bit unclear to me – anyway they are present on the Latrun vehicle as well. There are two small handles for the driver’s hatch which is again an Israeli feature if I am not mistaken. The cover for the lights is a bit too thick, it would have been a nice idea to include that as well on the PE fret.
The front mud guards are nicely done but as they replace the original kit ones, their hinges are incorrect as the left and right side fenders are still from the original kit. In the reality (Latrun) they are attached with two separate hinges and a steel rod. The rear ones look OK and are enhanced with a bit of PE.
The various tools and boxes added throughout the build are well detailed (in some cases with the addition of etched parts) and have the attachment points and locking mechanisms present. I’d say these are one level higher in quality than the original parts. The bracket of one oil can is made up of two PE parts and also of small rods to attach it to the rear stowage bin.
The engine deck is from the Model 1972 kit, but without the covers (as per the instructions and the Latrun vehicle) however these can also be found in the box in case one would need it. There is an additional grille (seems to be an Israeli feature) placed over the smaller screen. The two bigger mesh screens are missing the raised lips around the edges.
The turret is a very busy and detailed area. The turret shell unfortunately has an incorrect pattern, it should show the so called “peeled potato” effect. Unfortunately there are also two mold lines on both sides of the mantlet, these will need some careful filling and sanding to look OK. The rear turret basket has nice details on the inner side as well and the bracket for the oil can is cleverly constructed with the use of some PE. Based on the reference photos, some prominent weld seams need to be added. The extended mounts for the radios are again typical Israeli feature of the Tiran, the one on the left side has four tubes welded together. Unfortunately I have no idea what these are for, but Trumpeter provides them without drilling. The antennas are too thick in plastic, as usual with any other kit. The right side turret box has superb details molded on (grab handles, hinges) and some PE is used again for the clasps and other bits. Its attachment points are a bit too thick, however it is an easy fix with some brass sheet and plastic rods.
The M2 machine gun has nice details and the ammo box holder is made of PE plus a few rounds are also included. The M1919 machine guns look good to me but the way they are attached to the pintle/swing mount is not correct as per the Latrun pictures. The ammo boxes are also a bit low in detail, but on the plus side the barrels are drilled. The mounts look well made and their construction involves some PE too, and we have the option to choose whether the loader’s gun should be on the right side on a swing mount or on the rear on a pintle mount. So we have three mounting points attached as per the instructions but only two M1919’s should be added. The question is whether one of the mounts should be removed or not…
The original T-62 antenna pod should not be added as it was removed and covered with a circular plate fixed with bolts (unfortunately not included in the kit). The spare track links on the turret have correctly shaped attachment points and the connecting rods as well.
Upon a quick review Trumpeter’s Tiran-6 seems to be a very promising build with the modifications nicely captured. A good multimedia kit that will please most modelers save the hard-core fans, mostly due to the issues with the base kit. Finding good references is not easy, and I am not sure if the Latrun vehicle faithfully represents an active duty Tiran-6 tank. All in all I would happily recommend this kit to anyone interested in modern armor.