by: Andras [ ]
MiniArt issued a second T-60 with a different turret. This turret is from the even less known T-30 light tank which had the same armament (20mm TNSh cannon) as the first production version of the T-60.
There is precious little available online about the evolution of the T-30A and T-30B prototype tanks; it seems like the T-60 evolved from the T-30B prototype with a redesigned hull and turret. The T-60 turret was angled and relatively easy to produce (since it was made out of flat armor plates), whereas the original T-30 turret was round. (You can find ample information on the T-30 here: http://tankarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/simplicity-itself-t-30.html) MiniArtís model seems to suggest that the first batches of T-60s were equipped with the prototypeís original, round turret; this is what the painting guide (two 1941 versions) and the box art suggests. (The box art shows a green tank in the snow on the Red Square -presumably heading straight for the front from the military parade.) Since they both were produced in factory #38 first, it is a feasible explanation. The Tank archives website does speculate some tanks that were built in the Kirov factory might have had T-30 turrets.
If you look at photos of the T-40 you will see that the road wheels, the drive wheel are the same as the first production version of the T-60, and that its turret does look like turret included in this kit (the T-30 and T-40 tanks also had many similarities). Apparently the redesign of the T-30B prototype took about fifteen days to come up with the T-60, so itís not surprising to find shared parts between these tanks. In all honesty it is pretty difficult to figure out what the different versions of the T-60 were. (Tanks produced in different factories had their own differences, too, so itís not an easy matter; you can find quite a lot of information on the development of the tank here: http://tankarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/t-60-in-difficult-times.html)
One thing is for sure: both this and the previously reviewed T-60 models have cast road wheels, while other versions Iíve seen had stamped or even spoked wheels. The vehicle -as usual- was constantly upgraded even after its construction stopped. Some T-60s had a simple exhaust pipe sticking out of the engine deck right behind the turret, while others had a modernized exhaust system with muffler attached to the back of the tank (borrowed from the T-70). I found images of tanks with spoked wheels with and without muffler, and also found a version which only had the idler spoked (and was equipped with a muffler); practically all combinations seem to be possible. What I did not find was a picture of a T-60 with a T-30 turret; in fact I could not even find pictures of the T-30A or T-30B prototypes... It is confusing to say the least; any expert opinion would be very much welcome.
Since Iíve discussed the production model of the T-60 in a previous review; in this review I would like to focus on the differences between the two model. Which are not many, to be honest.
You have two different sprues to build up the model; thatís it. Everything of the turret interior remains the same; itís simply the turret itself that is different.
The model is your typical full Interior kit, but despite of this it has relatively few parts. With XXX itís about half of what the interior version of the T-54 had, but this is due to the size and simplicity of the real vehicle rather than due to MiniArt cutting corners. The model is full of details; and most of the things I brought up in the previous review apply to this model as well.
The box art is pretty striking; a green tank covered in snow on the Red Square; it does make you feel like itís been rushed to the front, since no winter camo was applied. (And, apparently, the turret was also used from an earlier tank design.)
There is a very comprehensive PE provided with alternative engine deck covers, bolts, tool clamps; interestingly itís a different design than the original T-60s, even though they have identical parts. (In the ďoriginalĒ we had to separate PE sheets; in this version the engine deck covers are integrated onto the ďmainĒ PE sheet.) The PE is provided in a nice little envelope which protects it very well. Be warned; unlike in most other MiniArt kits, which try to minimize the number of non-plastic parts, this time you get a lot of tiny PE to work with.
The plastic is very nice, and you have minimal flash. The typical overly thin MiniArt parts are still here in the form of the towing cable; probably best to replace it with wire.
The instructions come as the typical MiniArt booklet we have gotten used to by now: few colored pages show the painting options, and a black and white step-by-step guide for the assembly. They are somewhat redesigned, but they still have the original issues with clarity. The assembly steps are still a bit convoluted; Iíd suggest you build the larger assemblies first, and then add the details -this is especially true for the mudguards. (They are shown in different order and different orientations in subsequent steps, so it is a prudent thing to do simply to avoid confusion.)
Pay attention to the orientation of the parts on the drawings; they tend to be switched around in different steps, and in my build of the T-60 I did manage to switch the position of the main cannon and the co-axial machine gunÖ
There are only two painting options provided; both are from 1941, indicating that this is a very early version of the vehicle.
To be honest I canít really see the point of this model; it is a bit different from the main production version, but itís not an immediately apparent difference. (The turret could have been provided as an option in one single kit.) It may be of historical significance - the defence of Moscow- but itís pure speculation of my part. The conclusion is that having two very similar models give you an option to choose whichever you like; but itís hardly unlikely that anyone would build them both as they are so much alike. Itís an encouraging sign, though, to have several versions of the T-60. I think we can expect later versions of the tank coming out with increased armor (both aplique and thicker armor versions), different road wheels and upgraded exhaust system; not to mention the up-armed tanks with the ZiS-19 gun, and all the different modified versions. (Germans used them as tractors an ammo carriers as future options; and I just saw that the rocket launcher and Romanian TD version is already being promised for 2018. Now we just need the ďflying tankĒ modification...) The next logical step would be a T-70 model, but to be honest Iím hoping for a T-30, too; itís hard not to like a tank so ungainly you canít immediately tell which end is the front...