Saturday, November 30

1/35th scale Takom Object 279 Build Review

If it doesn't rain it pours … this– the "Object 279" from Takom is the second kitting of this type we have seen in the last few months. Let’s have a nice look at this all new tool super heavy AFV and put her together to see just how different she is…

Build Guide & Review: Object 279.
From Takom
Kit No# TAK-35001
1/35th scale
Dark grey Injection moulded plastic (+1 clear) + coloured P/E + cable
RRP $54.00USD

Takom Website

It seems like it has all been done (and sometimes done a few times) by model makers. So to achieve a fresh market you either have to start afresh and completely re-invent a kit making it much better, or find a new market altogether that has not been tapped. Well the resin companies are running out of niche just recently – as WWII has been exhausted, not only this but soft-skins, civilian vehicles and the paper panzers, WWI and the Korean war vehicles are now copping some attention and so has modern AFV’s on the battlefield today – what is left…. Soviet experiments perhaps? Enter The Takom Object 279 in 35th scale..

Object 279 (Объект 279) was a Soviet experimental heavy tank developed at the end of 1959 – it was extraordinary development in armoured warfare – It’s armour at the thickest point was 269 mm, and it’s boat like hull was covered by a thin, elliptical shield protecting it against APDS and shaped charge ammunition, and preventing it from overturning by the shockwave in case of a nuclear explosion! The shape of the hull was a revolutionary type and the four sets of tracks under the hull were to help with mobility of such a large and heavy vehicle (60 tonnes) on the harsh Russian terrain. Along with a changing tank doctorate to reduce tank weight and size and the fact that it was a complicated design that did not work as well as theorised was the main reason that it did not succeed as a design. There is one example that is now at the Kubinka tank museum in the former Soviet Union.

A note before we set off…

The purpose of this review is not to judge it on it’s own merits. It is not compare it to the Panda Hobby or Amusing Hobby kits just released in the same window of time – there will be a comparison of all three after the Amusing hobby is released when I have built all three - until then I will try my best not to compare this kit to the recently released Panda Hobby kit so as to be fair to all manufacturers. All of their kits deserve to be reviewed on their own merits and that’s what I wish to achieve here.

Let’s start at the start –
Now the box art is pretty “cool” if I can use that in a review – not since the Airfix Stuka B dive-bombing has there been such a good looking box that stands on end like this. IT is almost cartoon-like in the illustration representing a post-apocalyptic scenario with the tank rolling down a city street complete with a soldier in a nuclear/ biological/ chemical suit. It’s one of the most unique of recent times and most likely to be kept boxes after the model has left your bench.

There is a slightly thinner than A4 cardboard colour cover with a black and white instruction booklet inside with only eighteen simple stages to follow. There are indeed a few steps that you will find and do without prompting. Seeing I was on my second kit at this point of the ‘279 I was fore-armed when it came to the tracks – but this would again change with this review.

Charming illustrations and a “thanks to the people at Kubinka” from where the sole survivor is famously kept put you in a good mood to receive the kit that awaits you. Instructions are clear and not jammed up to tight so anyone can see them…. which leads me onto the colour choices…

Colour choices - three! (Though only one tank was ever made :-) )
The colours are presented in profile in the back of the instruction booklet for three vehicles -
1/ Object 279 1960 – This is the Russian green battered tank everyone knows from most of the poorly lit pictures available – there is a “120” on the turret sides of this tank – the most recent shots of the ‘279 before repainting show these numbers were beaten and scuffed to bits as was the rest of the tank – this will interest modellers.

2/ Object 279M – "120": this short barrelled TPC-152mm gun on this tank was planned but I have seen no pictures of it and neither have most anyone I know.

3/ Kubinka tank museum 2013 – the new three tone camo the tank was painted in recently – no one knows really the reasoning behind this scheme – but it is a scheme this tank was painted in!

By the nature of the experimental tank there is a lot of “what if” going on here - This to me is as liberating as it is frustrating. You could make up your own scheme and you aren’t tied to being historically accurate (which is a major concern nowadays it seems) Some more Russian style numbers would have been nice but I suppose you can source your own you really want. (Does anyone ever use the kit decals these days? we all seem to search for something different from everyone else don’t we?)

The Decals –
…well they are six white letters - showing the “120” of the object at the Kubinka museum. This wore off progressively as time and people scrambling over the tank.

The plastic: A dark tale…
The plastic here is a very dark colour – I have to say it may be hard for people with a vision impairment (isn’t that all of us) to easily see what’s going on with the numbers and smaller parts on the sprue. The parts are darker than their 1/16th Ft-17 we reviewed last month.

Anyway, that aside let’s look at the plastic – The dark grey/blue styrene is well moulded but with some minor flash and extra material for you to remove. There was a little on each of the suspension legs which need a bit of work to remove (X several times) but the end product hides any mistakes under the busy hull anyway.

The surface detail on the front hull and turret are very nice and in keeping with what you might expect of a scaled down representation of this bumpy effect of casting on Soviet tanks. There is a slight problem on the seam of the lower and upper halves at the joint on the turret but we'll examine that as we build it.

Photo Etch:
There is a sheet of photo etch metal to represent the items too thin and brittle to be represented in plastic. This is almost be described as a “powder coated” appearance but more likely baked in a paint which does offer a ready undercoat but comes off it bent too much. I am not sold on this yet in the baked on paint format.

The grill on the left is for the exhaust. The four square shapes next are the boxes to go onto the top of the turret. The circular mesh as for the port/starboard air vents which are almost covered up by their cover. The # shaped squares are attachment points for the turrets and there are also brackets for the turret searchlight and other small details – did you notice I say “turrets” (x2?????)……

The Sprues:
Firstly the hull:

Coming in two clamshell like halves that remind me of a large frogmouth opening the hull really is boat-like (or maybe even the Thunderbird 2) as it is flat and wide and almost elliptical. On the real tank, there is some anti-slip on the front of the tank and a rough surface is replicated here on the rounded glacis and the rear engine deck.

Looks like a Frog doesn't it?
The underside of the hull is again flat with two long trench-like slits in which sit the long narrow sponsons which the running gear is mounted on. These channels start narrow at the front and widen out to the rear and have two holes to guide them in and help with adhesion. These turned out to be a little bit of a problem as we will find out when I put it together.
Nuclear Biological Chemical Figure
The other thing you will pull out of the box right away is the figure included in the box (almost like a treat in a cereal packet)

He comes on a Russian Green coloured sprue with ten parts - mainly the NBC suit which is draped around his body and helmet. The goggles and mask fit into this suit nicely and the arms and legs just slip in no problems. The feet I found a bit ambiguous but I separated left from right ok and they just fit in the receptacles no problem. He carries a shoulder slung “sample bag” and there is a choice of AK-47 with or without stock for this figure as well. Pre-t-y-cool I reckon… I would like a crew dressed like this. He is actually sitting on my desk acting as its mascot right now…

The Transparencies
Two parts on this clear sprue represent the ribbed lenses of the lights on the left and right side of the hull. They slip into their covers easily and look good..

Brass twisted cable
To make the towing cable – a short length that fits in the tow rings on sprue A

Sprue A (X2)
These two identical sprues contain the long sponsons which house the suspension and the wheels, drive sprockets and suspension arms and fuel tanks. There are also the tow cable rings and several other smaller details on these two sprues.

The wheels are a-plenty on these sheets as are all of the running gear. It sits in the suspension arms and is not free spinning they must be glued in place.

Four parts of the complicated but very nice looking when completed long range fuel tanks on the rear of the hull.

The rear drive pylons and sprockets – these teeth on the wheels do not line up straight together once put together – so cut off any alignment tabs and square them up later – word to the wise…

These twenty-four suspension arms are well detailed but tend not to fit their onside inserts (on the far right) - so again cut off any tabs to align them and glue them with some good assistance from pegs.

Sprue B -The tracks (sprues X 6)
Six dark grey sprues make up the four track runs on this kit of the ‘279. These tracks are joined to the sprue at four points– now that doesn’t sound too bad but four points to unatach on each of the track links times that by four complete runs of 82 and you can see the time adding up in construction below the “bow-line”

Inside each of the tracks is an ejection mark. Which isn’t as bad as you may think as they are never seen when on the tank – you needn’t clean them up unless you are a real glutton for punishment or displaying the indie of the tracks in a repair o damaged diorama. The tracks simply just fit together with glue. They do not “click” or sit in without being fixed in place.

The company that makes a run of these tracks in vinyl will make a fortune I tell ya! I know some don’t like that medium but on a tank like this, you will wish you had something easier. The tracks are done well but in construction, they are a real chore to keep secured.

Sprue C (X2)
… Includes the details of two turrets for this kit – the optional turret parts for Object 279 and Object 279M versions are here as well as the two halves

The cast texture of the turrets is quite realistic – but the split of the two halves is worrying as I have had some experience with bad joints in the past (no pot jokes please)

The turret rings are here in their entirety – they can be displayed open or closed but its best you stick a figure in them if you do as there are no internal parts supplied with the kit.

The hollowed out 14.5 mm KPVT machine guns for the turret look good here – they move with the barrel as in real life. Notice two different cooling jackets here.

Sprue D
Sprue D contains both the gun barrel options, headlamps, the barrel lock, the side parts of the fuel tanks, the tools and railings for the hull of the tank and parts for the exhaust.

On either side of the sprue, we see the longer 130 mm M-65 rifled barrel gun and the other the almost stubby (in comparison) 279M 152mm barrel. The ling riffled barrelled 130mm M-65 gun is again split thru the middle as well and balances out the tank a lot better – the muzzle brake will look good after some sanding and cleaning up as it is hollow and you can see through it from side on.

The shorter TPC-152mm gun – all I know about his gun is what I have seen read - no pictures of this on the tank exist (as it didn’t happen) but the option is there and it is a good thing to have.

The short barreled 152.4 mm ML-20SM model 1944 (МЛ-20СМ обр. 1944 г) had a barrel length of over 4.5 meters. The fact that there was no muzzle brake further increased the firepower of the gun. It is two parts here split down the middle in the kit so it’s an easy construction. Like the long barreled main gun it sits in in only one way because of the joint shape so you cannot get it wrong.

The sides of the long range fuel tanks on the rear hull have handles moulded into them. They are one of the many parts which make these tanks up. The barrel lock of the back of the tank is a simple affair as well.

The two exhaust covers here slip into each other and can only (theoretically) be fitted correctly with the help of a small notch on each of them. There is no PE grille to go inside these.

Tools and the railings for the side of the hull are an easy fit on – as long as the holes are dug as per instructions! There are also several towing hooks for the hull in the top of this shot as well.

The gun cleaner and again we see a bad-ass looking band saw for cutting logs with no teeth? Maybe it had a cover over them? It isn't present on the current vehicle so who knows.

So now we move to building this kit – again we will avoid comparisons but there are one or two things to take note of in this very easy build

The build:
The best way to build this kit is to get the hard stuff out of the way first – everything below the waistline sunshine – so the order ( and this is from experience) you should follow is
1/ Running gear clean up and minor assembly
2/ sponsons inside lower half of the tank
3/ tracks and suspension on bottom half and inside the “trenches” that hold them

…Then however you wish to go after that. The instructions are good and follow them by all means. Just make sure you assemble the horizontal halves after the tracks go in and before any of the “furniture” on the top of the tank. I will say you should leave all of the tools and railings until the very end of this build as they are easily broken off. In fact much more than on a “normal” squarish tank because of the rounded upper hull.

The sponsons, the suspension arms, wheels and return rollers were all cleaned up – the minor assemblies done and it was all put together you can see the parts of the drive wheel in this pic.

You can see here in the four pictures of the sponsons the steps involved. (1) First the bare structure – note the three holes for the suspension arms to go into. (2) The second step shows the different positions for the suspension arms – the first showing the normal inclination and the second showing the collapsed suspension you see on the Kubinka version as it is in the current day. (3) The third pic shows the arms all in place. (4) The fourth pic shows the return rollers in place just before the wheels all get secured in place.

On the instructions it simply says for the track links (X82) – this is a bit cryptic – as it is much easier to assemble them in runs as the tracks NEED to be glued together securely. If you don’t affix them tightly then you will be cursing at broken links for the rest of the build. In the pic below you can see how I made:
27= the bottom row
36= the top row
5 each= for the rounded end tracks either side
4 on the bottom and 5 on the other bottom row bending upwards.

To be honest, if you want your tracks to sag a little more then slip in an extra link in the top section and bend them to fall more naturally.
The tracks then are easily glued in place along the rollers at this point so you can get to all parts of the undercarriage with no problems.

The sponsons are a real tight fit! So they need to be almost jammed into the bottom of the hull. This is the very best time to do this as you can really push them in there on a flat surface and even by using contrary pressure by pushing against the inside as you squeeze them in.

I started at the start and got paring away at firstly the tracks (82 in each of the four track runs) and then the suspension arms and wheels. These all take a fair bit of work. You will see that most of the model construction time is spent below the hull.

Interestingly the turret gun mantlet is only attached on one side - the same as the Panda kit...

The two turret parts go together easily but there is a decent sized gap around the gun mantlet. To replicate the turret texture either use some putty or super glue then pat it while it dries to recreate the texture. You can use glue to do this but in my experience, you usually just make the gap bigger before you need to fill it!

The turret hatches are nifty and open and close. You can see right down to the tank’s floor if you do not fill them with crew though.

The box frames were easy meat for my Xuron bending pliers... Also the bracket for the turret needed to be affixed with super glue as well.

Here is the turret from a few angles showing everything in place and the chin gap on the mantlet fixed as well. Notice the grab handles on the side of the turret which was drilled out with a .6mm drill.

Notice here the bare and fully constructed turret...

The good thing with this tank is that you can have two different turrets for the one tank! There are enough parts here to make both complete – or you can just use the same turret and interchange the barrels of the guns – as they slip in and out in a tight join. Here are both the guns in comparison.

Time to seal the two halves of the hull together… before you do there is a notice in step 12 showing you just where to drill your several holes in the hull for the early 1960 versions of tools and equipment over them.

The two horizontal halves of the hull go together very easily as there is a little lip inside for “storing” the glue as you work around the hull securing it together.

The next thing that goes together are the long range fuel tanks for the rear hull. These take a little cutting trimming and squeezing for them to go together. Once assembled it looks impressive but it is tricky to get to fit.

The fuel lines attach from the sides of the tanks to the hull – they are fragile though. You can see here as well the other parts which fit to the deck. Grab handles, toggles and the tools are here as well as the grilles for the rear engine deck which kind of slips in without having a definite way of locating it properly.

The front of the hull showing to good effect the non-slip area. Also showing are the two headlights which are thankfully clear transparencies and the guard rails on the front as well as the sides. It must have been really hard to climb onto this beast without them! The tow cable you can also see attached to the rings via superglue.

So now all of the little parts are together you can join the turret to the top – pretty easy when you are forewarned about some of the small problems of the underside area.

Sharp eyed amongst you will see I left off the rear barrel lock on some of these pictures - but here it is in place and the real deal on operations as well

So there you have it – three versions of this tank in different liveries thru time (admittedly one I haven’t seen in any pictures.) A simple construction that is marred only by the tracks being a bit flimsy in their construction I really can’t find any other faults on this kit.

The short barreled Object 279M w/152mm gun

The long barreled 130mm gun

With the figure - I could do with a bunch of these in a squad...

The figure is an excellent addition and the packaging is very attractive – but these are just sidelines as to a kit that is quite simple to build an impressive-looking kit once finished. The options count in its favour I must say. this is a great kit. Comparable in price and quality and ease of build to its opposition so pretty much the choice is up to the modeller. I like the marking & figure extras this ("3 in 1") kit has to offer though if there is an edge to be had then these will sway you either way.

Adam Norenberg

I would encourage readers to look at both this and the Panda Hobby kit and the forthcoming Amusing Hobby kits before they decide on which variant to buy as there are pluses and negatives for each tank. Although if you don’t want to wait for the outcome is very much the same on these tanks. Just a subtle bit of surface texture, track construction method and the additional options making the difference between the three.

Thanks to Takom for this kit to make and review.