Bug T-26

Discussion in 'First Impressions Kit Reviews' started by charliec, Oct 1, 2004.

  1. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    Model: Bug T-26 Light Tank (1933 model)
    Publisher: Bug for Ever
    Availability: Free download at http://model.icegroup.ru/main_ru.phtml?page=v60
    Scale: 1:25
    Format: PDF file
    Designer: Bug
    Model History: This model was available for purchase at the old cardmodels.net site and has been re-released by Icegroup as part of their V60 memorial (60 years since the end of WW2 - or the Great Patriotic War as the Russians call (called?) it).

    The T-26 was the most common Russian light tank of the 1930s. It was based on the Vickers E light tank of 1929. The Russians bought 15 examples from Vickers with a production licence and went on the build about 12,000 T-26s until 1941. The original T-26 had twin turrets with machine guns as the primary armament. The design was updated in 1933 with a single turret (identical to the BT-2 turret). This model represents this version. There were numerous updates throughout the T-26 production run - the final version used a BT-7 turret and reshaped welded hull. The T-26 was relatively underpowered and thinly armoured and was outclassed by the Wehrmacht tanks in 1941.

    The 12-page PDF file contains:
    1 1/2 pages of cover drawing and vehicle history in English
    3 1/2 pages of construction diagrams including a 2-view which is claimed to be in 1/25 scale. There are no written instructions but I don't see this as a disadvantage given the quality of the instruction diagrams.
    7 pages of parts - including the frame templates.

    I had some advantage in that I had a copy of the original Bug pdf to compare with the free download. Something odd seems to have happened in the translation of the Bug pdf into the free one - it looks as if the parts sheets are cropped by 2-3 mm on the right hand side - this only affects a few parts but I think raises concerns whether some rescaling of the original has occurred. The production values are similar to the other Bug models - at least as good as many modern commercial models.

    The colour looks reasonable for a Red Army vehicle of the 1930s but there's no weathering and there's a overall monochrome effect. Again the circle parts don't have centres marked which is an irritant. There are no unit markings or attribution to any unit in the text.

    The hull frame is typical of the Bug models - it's much more like an "egg-crate" than the box design the Polish designers use. I have the same reservations about this construction design as for the T-70 and Su-76 models in terms of mechanical strength. The weakness of the hull sides may be even more of a problem with the T-26 since the there are only two attachment points for the roadwheel assemblies implying reasonably high forces on these attachment points just from the weight of the model.

    The T-26 had a fairly shallow hull with the turret sitting on top of a pedestal in the centre of the hull. This means that there a multiple faces on the hull top - this model seems to capture that appearance quite well. There aren't the usual collection of modelled tools on the hull top - I'm not whether this means that the T-26s didn't carry equipment externally or you're expected to scratch build the tools. There isn't a modelled interior (can't really expect one) but the many external hatches are modelled with hinges and handles. This model really needs rivet details to look convincing - all the surviving early T-26s look like they were built in a 19th century boiler workshop - lots and lots of rivets.

    The suspension is reasonably modelled, aside from the previous comments on the attachment points. I think I'd replace the part representing the leaf spring stack with individual parts. The track does not have the drive slots cut out so the drive wheels are modelled with teeth only over 40% of the wheel. I think an obvious improvement would be to cut out the drive slots - tedious but worth it. The track is modelled as more or less two bands. The inner part of the track is made up of two parts with the central guide plates integral with the part. The instructions seem to require that the track has a core of 1mm card blocks cut to the profile of individual track links - this probably will be a big ask. There are also very small parts which are glued on the outside of the these blocks. I wonder if it this track design has any advantages over building the track link by link - it seems it would be a tedious build to get the tracks right.

    The turret is a fairly simple cylindrical structure - the internal framework is quite sparse so there may be some issues about the external skin sagging between the frames. I guess reinforcing the card on the turret skin might be mandatory. The 45mm gun barrel is quite well modelled but there is no elevation mechanism. The external rail aerial which goes around the top of the turret I don't think could be satisfactorily modelled in paper - and even if modelled would be very fragile - a wire part would work quite well.

    There are no other T-26 models around at the moment - from the viewpoint of representing an important AFV (in numbers if not quality) then this model is worth building. However, I have the impression that it wouldn't be an easy build because of the structural issues of the model , the need to add the rivet detail and the complexity of the track design.

    I haven't seen any images of completed Bug T-26 models around so I'd be concerned that there may be build issues which are real showstoppers which I haven't picked up in this overview.

    Instructions: B+ (well executed diagrams)
    Paper quality: n/a
    Level of detail: A (if you don't want an interior)
    Printing quality: n/a
    Artwork: B- (no weathering - just looks too bland)
    Value for money: Can't beat free.
    Skill level: Beginner to Intermediate
  2. Boris

    Boris Member

    About the rivets - not all of T-26 were built using rivets (don't forget that first T-26's were built in 1932) After 1936 most of the tank structure was built using welding but, yes , I agree that it would be nice to have more rivets (one could make them by using marker pen or make it from paper one-by-one (for crazy builder only :) ))
  3. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    There's been a couple of discussion threads on rivet details in the Armoured Models section. The threads cover embossing and surface application of rivet detail. I guess whether a modeller thinks rivet detail is important depends on a modeller's personal objectives in a build.

    The Bug model is of the 1933 update of the T-26 with the BT-2 turret - this certainly was rivetted together. The experience of operating T-26s and BTs in Spain in 1936 revealed the problems of rivetted construction - a small arms round could shear a rivet head off - the base part of the rivet would fly around inside the tank injuring or killing the crew.

    The last version of the T-26 - I think it's the 1938 update with the BT-7 turret - used welded construction as a response to this problem.



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