KIT: Zvezda 1/35 T-80BV with ERA
KIT #: 3592
PRICE: $31.96 MSRP ($28.96 at Squadron)
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


The T-80 retains the low silhouette of the earlier tanks. The suspension consists of six forged steel-aluminum rubber-tired road wheels, drive sprocket at the rear, idler at the front, and five return road wheels. The rubber-tired road wheels are in two halves that are bolted together. The road wheel spacing is not identical and there are distinct gaps between the second and third, fourth and fifth, and fifth and sixth road wheels. The side skirt covers the return rollers. The rubber-bushed, double-pin track has rubber track pads and U-shaped track guides. The T-80 has a distinct oblong exhaust outlet in the hull rear. The driver's hatch is centered at the top of a sharply sloped upper glacis. Integrated fuel cells and stowage containers give a streamlined appearance to the fenders. The tank has a toothed shovel/dozer blade on the front of the hull beneath the glacis. There are attachment points beneath the blade for the KMT-6 mine-clearing plow. The low, rounded turret is centered on the hull. The commander's cupola is on the right side of the turret; the gunner's hatch is on the left side. The 125-mm main gun has a four section removable thermal shield. It has two sections in front of, and two sections to the rear of the mid-tube bore evacuator. A 7.62-mm coaxial machine-gun is mounted to the right of the mantlet. The infra-red searchlight is mounted on the right of the main armament. Banks of electrically operated smoke dischargers are mounted either side of the 125-mm gun/missile launcher, normally five on the left and four on the right. The T-80 has a GTD-1000 gas-turbine engine developing 1100 hp coupled to a manual transmission with five forward and one reverse gears. This is the first former Soviet operational tank to be powered by a gas-turbine engine. The glacis plate is of the laminate type for improved protection against kinetic energy and HEAT attack and there is a dozer blade under the nose of the vehicle. The turret is steel with an inner layer of special armor; the gunner sits on the left and the tank commander on the right. The T-80 MBT uses the same 125-mm gun and horizontal ammunition system as the T-72 whereas the T-64 uses a 125-mm 2A26 gun with vertical ammunition stowage.

The T-80BV is essentially the T-80B (an upgrade of the standard T-80 with ceramic armor) fitted with first generation explosive reactive armor. In addition there is a late production type with a new turret similar to the T-80U but fitted with the turbine engine and first generation explosive reactive armor. When fitted with its explosive reactive armor package, the T-80 is virtually immune over its frontal arc to penetration from all current NATO ATGMs which rely on a HEAT warhead to penetrate armor. With the explosive reactive armor fitted the smoke grenade launchers are moved from either side of the main armament back to either side of the turret and positioned between the turret side and the explosive reactive panels On the turret of the T-80, the panels are joined to form a shallow chevron pointing. Explosive reactive armor is also fitted to the forward part of the turret roof to provide protection against top attack weapons The explosive reactive armor package on the T-80 provides a high degree of protection against ATGMs such as MILAN, HOT, TOW and SWINGFIRE over the frontal arc. It does not provide any added protection against APDS or APFSDS attack. When the HEAT projectile reaches the MBT its high speed jet initiates the explosive between the two plates and drives the plates aside. These moving plates perturb and eat the mass of the incoming jet. The jet is then unable to achieve any significant penetration of the main tank armor.

Historical background courtesy of


In concert with other Zvezda military kits, this one is molded in olive drab plastic. Also like other kits, there is no bag holding the parts, and as a consequence, several have been ripped from the sprues. The level of detail is quite high and much on a par with the 'big boys' in this regard. The cast effect on the turret is quite nicely done. I did find some sink areas, mostly on thicker parts, such as a few of the reactive armor pieces,  and on the hull opposite ejector pin towers (you can see them in the photo). Fixing these will be simple. Only a tiny bit of flash was found on the drive sprockets. The tracks are solid plastic sections, with single tracks to wrap around the end bits. It sure beats the 'rubber bands' of some kits. For installation of the reactive armor, there are small holes on the turret while on the hull there are holes to drill out for main pieces with the smaller ones attaching themselves around it. Frankly, the instructions seem a touch vague in this area, though once underway, I'm sure things will work out logically. There are additional detail drawings of this part to help out. There is an entire new sprue that has nothing on it but reactive armor bits and armor plate for the turret mounted machine gun. One thing for sure, this will be a rather busy looking tank when one is finished.

The instructions are a bit different from previous ones in that there is a section showing the sprue layouts. There is very little detail painting information provided during construction, but perhaps none is really needed as most everything will be the overall color. The color chart gives Zvezda and ModelMaster paint information. Markings are for three tanks. The one on the box art is a 2004 tank in 'Military Brown', 'Medium Grey', and 'Medium Green'. Another is in 'Field Green' uppers with 'Flat Black' sides and underside as operated in the former East Germany. The final tank is in overall 'Field Green' from the 81st Guards unit in the early 1990s.  Decals are fairly well done and do need to be used with care as my previous attempts at using them have not been the most successful. I suggest placing them in liquid Future to help prevent silvering. Again, thanks to the off-white backing paper, I've had to alter the image so that you can actually see the white markings.


Overall, it does look as if it will make into a really nice model. Though I'm more of a soft-skin builder, tanks with reactive armor just look cool and this one as much as any other. It is nice to have kits available of modern Russian armor and this one should please modern armor builders.

January 2005

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