In-Box Review
PT-76 Review
1/35 Trumpeter PT-76 In-Box Review
  • DPP_02451

by: Gino P. Quintiliani [ HEAVYARTY ]

The PT-76 is a lightly armored, amphibious tank. Its Russian designation, PT (Plavajuschij Tank) is translated as Amphibious Tank. The PT-76 was developed between 1949 and 1951. It was adopted by the Soviet Army on 16 August 1952 and went into full production in 1953 at the Volgograd Tank Factory. There were over 12,000 total PT-76 tanks built, with approximately 2,000 for export. The PT-76 was formerly the standard reconnaissance tank of the Soviet Army. It was intended for reconnaissance, water obstacle fording operations, and Naval Infantry landings. Furthermore, the PT-76 is able to transport troops externally and support troops with its main gun during landing and establishment of beachhead operations.

The PT-76 main armament is a 76.2-mm gun with coaxial SGMT 7.62-mm machine gun. The first tanks were fitted with the D-56T Rifled Gun. It had no stabilization and this was one of the greatest disadvantages. Later it was replaced with the improved D-56TM (2A16) Gun.

The PT-76 was the first tank fitted with hydrojet engines to navigate in water. Water goes through the two inlet screens on the bottom of the hull and is ejected through the rear outlets. It is ejected at a high speed and creates a jet of water propelling the tank forward. It also has the ability to float in reverse and steers on water by closing the water ejection lid of the required side to turn.

The PT-76 was widely exported and participated in combat operations in Africa, Vietnam, the Middle East, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, as well as being used by most Soviet client states during the Cold War era.

This Trumpeter kit builds into an initial production PT-76 with the double baffle muzzle brake as seen on a howitzer, early style drive sprockets and some early turret features that distinguish it from later types. Trumpeter has captured these features nicely in the kit as well.
The Kit:
The kit comes nicely packaged in Trumpeterís standard, sturdy cardboard box with four sprues of grey plastic individually sealed in plastic bags and the upper and lower hull halves. The upper hull is also packaged within a cardboard insert to keep it from being damaged or scratched in transit. There is also a nicely molded pair of rubber-band tracks with crisp link details molded on both sides. Two small PE frets, a length of wire, a piece of string, a small decal sheet, nicely drawn instructions, and a color plate round out the contents.

The parts are molded nicely with minimal flash on a few pieces and most mold release pin marks in hidden places, with the exception of two prominent ones on the inside of the turret hatch. As long as you leave the hatch closed, they are not an issue. The quality of molding is high with fine details and smaller items molded separately for good definition.

The lower hull is nicely represented and has a fully detailed underside with access panels, weld seems, water intakes and other features replicated excellently. The road wheel arms are each molded separately and can be articulated to match rough terrain. The drive sprockets are nicely molded, but the teeth do not line up properly. To remedy this, round off the D-shaped key on the key on the back of the front half and line the teeth up visually or with the track as a guide. The road wheels are molded nicely with front and back details. The rubber tires have the standard Russian ribbing from the molding process, but as most models, they are way too prominent and should be sanded down to be just noticeable. On the inside, there are two water intake tubes so that the intakes and outlets for the water jets are not open to the empty hull interior. They do have a couple locating pins that will need to be sanded down for a smooth inner surface though.

The upper hull is equally as nice with finely molded details as well. Of note, the turret race on the hull is molded with gear teeth and no locking notches. This detail allows for super-detailing and turret removal if desired. Be careful if you do not glue the turret in place though, as there is nothing to hold it on. There are also separate hatches molded for the engine access hatches. These will allow an engine compartment to be shown if you scratch one, or a resin AM one becomes available. Two PE grills are included for the upper hull as well. The PE headlight guards are worth mentioning at this point as well. They are finely manufactured and well engineered in one-piece. With some good forethought, Trumpeter has molded bending guides for them onto the running gear sprues to assist in proper bending of the light guards. The remainder of the upper hull is pretty straight forward and equally as well molded.

The turret is just as nice with only the aforementioned release pin marks on the inner surface of the hatch, which isnít noticeable when closed. There is also a breach for the cannon that is pretty complete as well to help take up some of the empty space inside the huge hatch if you choose to leave it open. There is wire for the grab handle on the outside of the turret. Again, Trumpeter helps you out with a full-sized bending template in the instructions for it. The template makes it easy to get the correct shape of this piece. As with the hull, the remainder of the turret goes together without issues.

The decals are for two different vehicles. One is an unidentified Russian Green vehicle with turret numbers 491. The other is an unidentified Middle East version in a two-tone brown and sand scheme with Arabic numbers on the turret sides.
Overall, this seems to be a great kit up to Trumpeterís current standard of quality. It will build into a great kit straight out of the box with the included PE and wire grab bar to dress it up, and lends itself to some super-detailing if you wish. It is a great addition to any modern or Soviet armor collection and can be finished in any number of countries liveries since it is used all over the world.

EDIT: A full Build Review is now available as well to compliment the initial In-Box Review.
Highs: Great details and well engineered. Nice PE bending tools to make that part easy.
Lows: None that I can find.
Verdict: An overall great kit. A must for anyone interested in Cold War Soviet armor. It can be made into any number of versions.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 00380
  Suggested Retail: $35.00 USD
  PUBLISHED: Jun 12, 2008

Our Thanks to Stevens International!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Gino P. Quintiliani (HeavyArty)

Retired US Army Artillery Officer, currently a contractor at MacDill AFB in the Tampa, FL area. I have been modelling for the past 40+ years, really seriously on armor and large scale helos (1/32, 1/35) for the last 35 or so.

Copyright ©2021 text by Gino P. Quintiliani [ HEAVYARTY ]. All rights reserved.


I have the first one they released. I haven't finished it yet, but it seems like a generally easy build. The only thing I didn't like about it is the wire hand-rail that goes on the turret. I'm having a hard time bending it with the correct curve according to the drawing in the instructions. I'd like to paint it in desert color, as in some Arab country or smething, but I can't find any pics of one. Seems funny.. me being in Egypt!! Does anyone have any pics of this vehicle in any arab army service?
JUN 12, 2008 - 12:23 AM
I have the 1951 version with the different muzzle-break. I take that there are no other visible distinctions? I do like Soviet vehicles and the PT-76 in particular (a strange looking tracked bathtub with a gun, what more could you ask for? ). The PE might be my thing(I am very new at it) but I insist on not liking the tracks I can't exactly tell it in English, but somewhow the tracks keep their vinyl rigidity, they don't fit around the curvature of the road wheels so well. I agree on the quality of detail though... But still, I am a devoted enemy of vinyl tracks, so my impressions do not count I hope Trumpy brings out the long promised T-62 and gives us more Soviet stuff.
JUN 12, 2008 - 12:51 AM
Gino-- good run down. I had that old Glencoe one that stunk to the high heavens. I might try this one. Looking forward to seeing your build review. thanks DJ
JUN 12, 2008 - 03:50 AM
Gino, send me the thread link by PM when you start on this one and I'll add it to the review.
JUN 12, 2008 - 06:49 AM
Hi, I've been looking at this kit and was wondering if anyone noticed that the front nose seems a bit too short in lenght! it could very well be that I'm going nuts.. but something about the front section dosen't look right!...I was wondering if anyone noticed this! Best, Nick Cortese
JUN 13, 2008 - 03:59 AM
Hi Hisham, According to Wikipedia (which as we all know is infallible) Egypt did operate the PT-76 at one time, though whether they still do, I don't know. I couldn't find any pictures of this tank in Egyptian service. The article has a photo of a captured PT-76 in an Israeli museum, but I think it might have been repainted (I really hate it when exhibitors do that). Trumpeter's PT-76 (00380, the one in the review) comes with markings for an unidentified Arab country (I hate it when they do that, too. Tell us whose tank it is, guys! ). The website "IDF Modelling" has some photos of PT-76s other modellers have built. Go to "Vehicle Modelling", scroll down past all the Israelis, and there is a section for Arab adversaries. You'll find a Syrian PT-76 there. I believe some Arab armies received the PT-76B also. Have fun building your PT-76.
JUN 20, 2008 - 11:40 AM
Being a photo etch novice, I'm a little apprehensive about the delicate headlight guards on the PT-76. Is there anyone here who could maybe post some pics, showing how the guards are supposed to be folded, and whether it requires a special tool? Thanks!
JUN 20, 2008 - 11:44 AM
Gino has submitted an additional Build Review to go with the initial In-Box. The Build Review can be seen here: Thanks Gino!
JUL 26, 2008 - 08:06 AM
Thanks for the build review, Gino. The kit looks good! -YL
JUL 28, 2008 - 03:20 PM

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