Surprise in the mail

Discussion in 'Armory & Military' started by rockpaperscissor, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. I just received a couple of paper models from one of our American suppliers, and when I opened the package I got a nice surprise. Besides the two kits I had ordered, there was also a Maly T-38 light tank in there. Christmas in March! I did a little internet surfing to get some photos and info on this little tank, and I think it's something I'd like to build. It's a 1989 Maly, and suffers from the usual limitations of this line - blotting paper type card, yellowed from acid, a light coating of ink that looks like it would rub off if handled too much, etc. The registration looks pretty good though, and I'm impressed with some of the details and engineering. My question: have any of you guys ever built this kit? I'm thinking of photocopying it onto new card stock, and I was wondering if it's worth the time and expense. I'm toying with using it as a learning tool to try out some of the detailing hints and techniques I've picked up on these forums - rivets, hinges, etc.

    Thanks for any input,

  2. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    The T-38 isn't a bad kit. There are some minor fit problems around the driver's position but overall it fits together pretty well. I had problems with the suspension - it needs reinforcing before it will carry the weight of the hull without distorting. If I were to build it again I'd build the I-beams that hold the suspension elements straight though the hull.

    Certainly the original published model is probably unbuildable due to the poor quality card it was printed on. On my copy there was some colour variation so I scanned and recoloured it. Doing this also allowed building both the machine gun and experimental cannon turrets.

    The Soviet light tanks are very neglected subjects. I can think of only one other T-38 (in JT Digest) but you wouldn't want that one.

    Good information on the T-38 is at: (in Russian but makes a pretty good job of the text.)


  3. Thanks once again for your helpful information Charlie. I'll check out the narod site. I found several nice color photos of a well-preserved T-38 sitting in an armor museum, as well as several different views of the finished Maly kit built by someone with a lot of talent. It sounds from your comments like it would definitely be worth copying the kit onto new card stock. The Maly paper is so yellowed and brittle looking, I'm afraid it would snap off if I tried to fold it. It's unfortunate because the cut and fold lines are very finely done. The color registration is right on too. I understand Maly's newer kits are quite good. I hope they'll republish some of their older kits on better quality paper someday.


  4. Darwin

    Darwin Member

    Don, the only way to build the older Maly kits is to scan them. I've found all the kits I've attempted are buildable (read that as only very minor fit problems). Just take care during the scan/print process that you don't introduce distortions into the kit. It's always a good idea to scan and print an image of a ruler, placed both vertically and horizontally across the image area of the scanner. To give an example, my setup (HP scanjet 3700, photoshop 7, and Epson photo 820) produces a printed page that is 99.3% of the original vertically and 100.5% horizontally. Doesn't sound like much, but it means pieces like ship sides, framework, etc., will come out nearly an eighth of an inch short if using legal size paper. It wouldn't be much effect on the build if only it did the same thing both vertically and horizontally...however, when even the way the part is oriented on the page affects it's final size, it can turn you into a drooling idiot if you don't compensate for the dimension drifts somewhere in the process. I personally find it easiest to correct the dimensions in photoshop while I touch up the scanned image to get rid of color voids and correct for color registration errors on the original kit. Just take care....the image processing part can take on a life of its own, and you can find youself spending more time on the computer than you do actually building the kit.

    There is hope that Maly will update and reissue the older kits. I finally got my hands on a copy of the reissue of the USS Essex. From a first-impression standpoint, it is awesome, and easily one of the best bargains available in the current crop of models. I have no qualms about recommending any of the Maly kits issued within the last five years or so.
  5. Many thanks for your thoughts, Darwin. I've only built one Maly kit - the Putilow Garford armored car from 1980 - and although the paper was absolutely terrible, the kit was very well done with absolutely no fit problems at all. It spoiled me in one way, and frustrated me in another. I understand the newer Maly kits are printed on better paper, but if these older Maly kits were ever republished on 20th century paper, even as a limited edition, I'm sure they would be one of the most sought after lines by builders.
    I have a photocopy store within a quarter mile from my house. One of their copiers is a color laser model that does an amazing reproduction job, and will accept cardstock. The ink cartridges for my printer are so outlandishly priced, that it may actually be cheaper for me to have the copies made there.

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