by: Darren Baker [ ]
This offering from Mini Art of the T-60 (screened), I believe refers to the fact that it is an up armoured production vehicle. Increased armour was placed on both the front and rear, sloped areas of the lower hull. The result of this was not an improvement as all it achieved was to slow the vehicle down. Prior to this being done the T-60 despite being produced in the thousands was a poor light tank and was not trusted by its crews. The Germans however, liked the T-60 because it was harmless to them, could be easily destroyed and when captured was found to be a good gun tractor. The T-60 was primarily produced during 1941, with a very small number being listed as produced in 1942 as the tank was just not up to the task.
This offering from MiniArt is packaged in the usual cardboard tray with a separate card lid. Inside there is a single plastic bag which contains two further plastic bags containing all of the parts for the model. The photo etch parts are in a card envelope with the sprues in one bag, and the clear parts and decals are in a separate bag with the other sprues. I really wish that Mini Art would not pack the decals and the clear sprues together as damage could easily occur, which fortunately is not the case here. Loose inside the box, is the instruction booklet which is of the usual standard produced by MiniArt for their larger kits.
This offering from Mini Art, is one of their interior model offerings and on this model the interior seems to be quite good. It should be noted at this point, that while this is an interior model kit, it does not include a full interior. What you do get are the areas where the crew worked, and that includes a full engine which the crew are not protected from. The driversí position has a well designed seat and includes details such as foot pedals, tillers and the like. The transmission/gearbox site to the front right of the driver, and has some very pleasing detail to it and should look good once painted and detailed. I am very pleased to also see that Mini Art has included the batteries for the model.
Moving rearward from the gearbox, you find the engine. This is a very nicely detailed portion of the model, but will be further and greatly enhanced via the addition of wire to replicate the cables. Something that caught my eye if accurate is a fire extinguisher mounted to the right interior wall, on the opposite of the engine to the crew, making access and use of highly unlikely. There is an interesting pipe system that runs from the top of the engine, mounted on the end of which is what looks like an air filter, an air filter that would not be amiss on any family car up to the 1980ís. I will say I was surprised not to find the engine closed off from the crew compartment, which to me shows how little Soviets seemed to care for the welfare of their troops. To the rear of the engine, there is a bulk head, which separates areas such as the fuel tanks and cooling system from the crew. This bulk head features the radiator for the water cooling element of the engine, and behind the crew area there is ammunition storage. Once the interior of the aspect of the hull is completed, and painting and weathering completed this should result in a very visually pleasing area of the model, that to a large extent can be observed thanks to the separate large hatches that can if desired be assembled open.
Moving to the wheels and suspension of the model, the road wheels of the model are the open spoke version, with rubber treads, and this indicates an earlier production vehicle due to late production vehicles having solid stamped wheels with no rubber. The stamped solid wheels had no rubber, due to shortages, but this also was just one more negative for the tank model as a whole. The drive wheel is a very fine moulding that will require an element of care to prevent damage to the teeth. The idler wheel is basically the same as the road wheel, but minus the rubber tread - as such make sure you use the correct piece. The tracks provided for the model are individual track links with three connection points to the sprue, and this will require a lot of care during the removal, clean up and assembly. The instruction state that there are 85 links per side, and while I like individual track links I do not look forward to tackling these due to their size.
Moving to the upper hull, you have one major structure, to which all the other hatches and details are added. The engine hatch design just to the right of the turret, the increased armour plates front and rear, the drive sprocket with two circular cut outs, the up armoured plates on the drivers viewing area, the gun mantlet and the octagonal turret are indicated by MiniArt to indentify this model as a plant number 264 produced vehicle. I am also pleased to see that MiniArt has provided a good level of detail to the interior faces of the hatches. The air cooling area of the model, has nicely replicated slotted vents that do a good job of replicating this area and which will look good beneath the photo etch engine deck grill. The track guards are separate mouldings that are very thin and so easily damaged or distorted if care is not taken. Tools and fire extinguishers mounted on the track guards, have been provided with separate photo etch clamps, which due to their small size could prove a difficult proposition for some modellers.
The octagonal turret of the model has been provided with a good level of detail on the interior that replicates all of the relevant parts required in this aspect of the model. It should be noted that this was a two man vehicle, with the gunner/Commander and the driver and so there is no basket on this turret. The 20mm cannon and machine gun mounted in the turret have been slide moulded, which is something I am very pleased to see Mini Art do on most occasions. The guns would have been effective against Infantry, sort skinned and lightly armoured vehicles, but would have been useless against German armour. Hatch detail is good both opened or closed and allows a pleasing view inside of the turret.
Mini Art has provided four finishing options for this model, which are as follows:
Unknown Unit - Red Army - Summer 1942
Unknown Unit - Red Army - RZHEV - July 1942
2nd Battalion - 3rd Guards Tank Brigade - Kalinin Front - 1942
Unknown Unit - Red Army - February/March 1943
As most of you know, I am not a fan of kits with interiors, due to the limited amount that can be seen. However, on this occasion the large hatches allow the detail to be seen relatively easily, without the chopping up of the kit, or the elevation of the upper armour of the model. The interior aspects of the model have been well tackled, which with the addition of wires to represent the cables should result in a truly impressive interior. Although this is a small vehicle and for that matter an unsuccessful vehicle, the amount of detail in impressive and well replicated.