Monday, May 11, 2015 - 11:59 AM UTC
HobbyBoss has released a test photo of his upcoming Soviet T-18 tank. This small tank
will surely attract all those interested in the evolution of the Soviet Armoured vehicles.
The T-18, also known as MS-1, was the first tank developed and produced in Russia. More of 1.000 of these light tanks, armed with a 37mm gun, were built. They saw combat in Manchuria and serviced until 1932. Later on they still could be seen in training units.

Until now the only styrene kit of this tank was the old AER, whose moulds were later issued by Eastern Express.
From the only available photo of the new kit, it seems to have individual track links and no photo etch. However, being a test there is still room for improvement and the final model may have more details.
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I have bought a lot of these Hobby Boss kits over the years but this is the first one I have actually started work on. Hobby Boss love photo etch, I do not. The other issues is the tracks - Hobby Boss uses the glue together individual link types that seem a real chore to build. So – the kits sit. I bought this kit last Sunday and one evening this week had a dream about building it so it jumped to the head of the line. One week after this kit was purchased, it is well along to being finished. The pics below show where the project is now. There are a number of PE bits on the fret. Some were so small I could hardly see them and could figure out no way to work with them. A triangular bit was not shown in the instructions and I have not figured out where it should go. My skills are basic as you can see. The one big piece was needed for detail. This part really adds nothing to the kit that couldn't have been molded into the plastic easily enough. I can only guess that Hobby Boss regards these kits as a sort of limited run kit and decided to save money in the mold making process by resorting to PE parts. Hobby Boss brings us kits no other main stream manufacturer has attempted and I am grateful for them. I bought a tool to help overcome my fear of Photo Etch. It is a rolling tool to help make curved bends and I used it once before to make the curved engine cover screen on a T-34. I had hopes that this T-18 rear plate would also go easily. It was not to be. I worked this thing for a solid hour and then heated it to red hot to soften it again for a second session. Finally, I got the basic bend made and finished it by using the plastic part and one of the metal rods to roll the PE part into the final shape. The parts fit fine and all the holes lined up. Whew! The second big issue is still to be solved. I had some thoughts of trying to drill the track links to take Fruil wire but do not think there is enough beef in the tiny links to allow this to happen. The next idea is to make a wooden buck kinda like the HobbyTrax tool that works so well for making the Magic Tracks. I'll start on this today by working up a paper master. OK, enough palaver, here are some pics of this cute little tank:
JUL 10, 2016 - 10:31 PM
Unfortunately using P.E for the bits you mentioned is basically unavoidable. You cannot do perforations like that as a injection piece without have to throw any sense of undercutting in the trash.
JUL 11, 2016 - 12:08 AM
In retrospect, I wonder if the plastic part might have been better skeletonized to allow the PE bit to look like punched sheet metal. I have found just too little reference material to tell for sure what things should look like back there. I feel that the detail in the plastic would have been achievable in a couple of ways. A three piece mold would have don it or breaking this single part into sections would also have done it. I'm not a molding engineer, I don't even play one on TV, I'm just a guy gassing about it. The the PE bit is on I have to say that it looks good and I have gained a lot of experience struggling with PE which might have sharped my skills for the next HB kit . . .
JUL 11, 2016 - 01:19 AM
I have found HB to be pretty reasonable in their PE usage compared to say, Trumpeter. This kit only has a single small fret with 1x part 1 8x part 2 1x part 3 Ten parts does not seem excessive, and even so I think you only need four of part 2. And you won’t. The triangular piece is part PE3. There is a note at the bottom of the sprue layout (page 2), “Unused Parts: D2, D22, PE3”. So, in the end you only need five PE parts. I think a better explanation is that the real part is a muffler heat shield made from sheet metal and a more expensive mold would not make a better part. They probably thought the PE work needed (forming to a curve and bending four tabs 90 degrees) was within the skill set of their target customer. KL
JUL 11, 2016 - 05:43 AM
You could be right Kurt, but I am still not convinced that the PE added anything to this kit that could not have been done in plastic. Whatever the truth of it is, the area looks good once painted and the trauma is over. On to the tracks!
JUL 11, 2016 - 06:41 AM
I made a master pattern for the track buck yesterday out of cardboard. It took ten versions to get it dialed in but it is dead nuts on now. I have a sheet of 1/8" maple on order to make the buck halves. Next will be the job of removing the track links from the sprue & getting them cleaned up and ready for assembly.
JUL 13, 2016 - 01:37 AM
Thanks guys, this has been a quick and fun build. The 1/8" maple planks arrived and after a few additional tweaks, the laser cut out the buck halves. Because the sprockets on this tank are fixed and can not rotate, an index had to be added to hold the track teeth on the tool in the same position that they would assume on the model. This was made out of tiny bits of .040" sheet glued to one half of the tool. With that, construction of the first track built pretty rapidly. One link was not glued to allow the track to come off the tool and go on the model. Here are a few pics:
JUL 18, 2016 - 09:16 PM
I have very little reference material on this tank so I used a small illustration found online for inspiration. It showed a T-18 in 1929 that participated in one of the big Red Square parades before Uncle Joe. I thought this sounded interesting and with no details, I made up my own "legend." It seems reasonable to assume that no one in the Red Army from the highest general to the lowest boot would want to draw Uncle Joe's malevolent eye – so they gussied up the ole bus with a wash job, fresh paint and red star. The tracks would have been cleaned up but gathered dirt & mud from being in the staging area before running over the hard surfaces of the parade route. I was darned curious to see how the tracks formed by my home made tool would fit on the model. I painted them using a new technique for me. I painted them with a Tamiya color, Light Gun Metal then dirtied them up with washes. My assembly job on the track links themselves was less than perfect and the tracks broke in a couple of places. No huge problem but it did cause extra fumbling trying to wrap them around the wheels & sprockets. I got them on after digging out some of Pop's old Marine Corp words that mother told me never to repeat . . . So - here it is basically done. I forgot the three tow rings and will paint them and add them tomorrow. The total time from Hobby Shop to completion just under three weeks, light speed for me. Working tracks are still the A option for me but when they are not available the individual links can be made to work even by a modeler with my modest skills.
JUL 22, 2016 - 01:31 AM
Great job on a great little tank.
JUL 22, 2016 - 11:00 AM

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