Maquette 1/35 T-26-4
|Reboxed Zvezda kit
The T-26 was one of the most modified and numerous small tanks to see development in the 1930s. The Russians purchased 15 British Vickers 6-ton tank and the technical plans to produce them in 1930. From these beginnings the T-26 was born. One of the least-known variants was the T-26-4, also known as the T-26A (A standing for ‘artillery’). It boasted an enlarged turret with a 76.2mm KT gun. Only five were built in 1933-34 with one being damaged in a gun malfunction in September 1934. This lead to the cancellation of the 50 units allotted for production. None are known to have fought in any war zone.
This kit is the Zvezda molding reboxed for Maquette. This one comes in a standard two-piece box. Zvezda (and later Italeri, who leased the molds) have released various different versions of the venerable T-26 series. However, this new release from Maquette has not been offered before.
Upon opening the box you are met with a two-sided single instruction sheet. The instructions are a bit spotty in some areas but, overall, are passable. Decals are for one vehicle and are actually from the Zvezda kit #3538 and are not applicable to this version. They appear to be opaque but the fidelity/sharpness is marginal. I would look at cobbling something up from your spares. This being a test-mule, I would think markings would be very few (if at all).
What you get are the standard Zvezda T-26B sprues with the tank’s lower hull pieces, running gear and external upper hull details, all molded in dark green. Zvezda designed this kit with frugality in mind as any parts not applicable to the kit are not on the trees. No extras for you! Nor are there any figures included. The tracks are supplied as vinyl two-piece affairs molded in silver. Comparing these to the ones offered by Mirage in their line of T-26 kits, the Zvezda/Italeri/Maquette tracks are much more detailed and look correct. However, the T-26 series had a noticeable ‘sag’ to the tracks and this is not achievable with these vinyl tracks. I would look into a set of individual links.
The new parts are resin and metal. The turret is cast as one-piece with a separate commander’s hatch, turret ring and mounting plates for the cannon. The turret is partially hollow to allow a figure to be placed inside. However, there is no pedestal or bracket to mount him so something will be needed to be done here to secure a figure in place. The overall detail on the turret is good with very little casting marks or ridges. It sits square on the mounting ring and I cannot see any warpage of any of the resin parts.
The cast metal parts are good but not remarkable in their detail. One wonders why these were not done in resin with the turret. The cannon barrel and bracing is cleanly cast. However, the barrel is not hollow. Furthermore, the end of the barrel (on my example) has leftover casting material in it and will need to be drilled out. The two 7.62mm machine gun barrels are nicely detailed and will look terrific once painted and installed.
Overall, this is a unique and notable inclusion into the T-26 family of kits. The resin and metal details make assembly a bit quicker that using injected plastic parts. Keep in mind, with it being a test vehicle your markings choices are awfully limited. And the tracks, while useable, would be best served to be replaced with individual links in my opinion. Recommended!
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