Thursday, May 12

Preview: 1/35th scale T-72 "URAL" Full interior from Amusing Hobby coming in June

The Shizuoka Hobby Show always has some nice releases, and this year the first we have noticed is this, Amusing Hobby's continuation with their T-72 line of tanks with the "Ural" model in 1/35th scale. We look at the forthcoming kit and the subject in our preview...

Preview: 1/35th scale T-72 "URAL" Full interior from Amusing Hobby coming in June

T-72 "URAL" Full interior
From Amusing Hobby
1/35th scale
Kit No #35A052
Injection moulded kit
Photo-etch included.
The kit will be released in June.
The Subject: T-72 Ural (1973)
In 1972 a T-64A prototype was sent to the Uralvagonzavod plant so that they could work on improving the design. However, instead of improving the existing vehicle, the decision was made to create a new vehicle that incorporated what was considered the best aspects of the T-64 into a new vehicle that used the V-45 engine and incorporated a number of changes to improve the vehicle. The end result of the vehicle was so different from the T-64 that it was renamed Object 172. This vehicle incorporated a number of design changes as while they were able to mount the V-45 engine into the T-64 hull, it was discovered that it was more powerful but weakened the hull, creating cracks, which was another reason why the designer decided to create a completely new vehicle. 

A photo of a very early "Ural" which no doubt inspired the box art choice for this kit
The vehicle was also given the code name "Ural" after the testing location at the Uralvagonzavod plant. When a minister from Moscow visited the plant while it was still being designed in 1967, the head designer was chastised for not following their instructions. However, after being persuaded to at least look over the design, the minister was impressed with all of the new design changes and improvements made.

T-72 obr. 1973g “Ural” (Object 172M)
A dozer blade was present on the Object 172M prototypes created during the summer of 1972 for performance trials (shown in the photo below), and the final Object 172M model that was accepted into service in the Soviet Army as the T-72 Ural on the 7th of August 1973 had a dozer blade.
The 1st series production of T-72 Object 172M began in July at UKBM in Nizhny Tagil. However, due to difficulties in getting the factory organised for the change in production from T-64 to T-72, only 30 completed tanks were delivered in 1973. 

The T-72 Ural in Libya, 2016
Troubles continued in 1974 when out of a state production quota of 440 only 220 were officially declared, with the actual number of completed tanks being close to 150. As a result, substantial investment in tooling was undertaken. Only after modernisation, could the factory begin full-scale production of the T-72. Nizhny Tagil produced the tank in various modifications until 1992.

Iraqi Republican Guard T-72 Ural
It was armed with a 125 mm D-81TM smoothbore tank gun. The D-81TM gun on the “Ural” can be distinguished from the later 2A46 gun commonly found on Soviet tanks by the fewer ring marks on its barrel. Also, unlike the later T-72 versions, it had the searchlight mounted on the left of the turret. It also has flipper/gill-type armour panels on its side to counter chemical energy projectile. It had the TPD-2–49 coincidence optical rangefinder sight protruding from its turret. It has larger road wheels that delete the necessity of return roller wheels, unlike its counterpart, the T-64. The T-72 was the most common tank used by the Warsaw Pact from the 1970s until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. It was also exported to other countries, such as Finland, India, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yugoslavia, as well as being copied elsewhere, both with and without licenses.

Licensed versions of the T-72 were made in Poland and Czechoslovakia, for Warsaw Pact consumers. These tanks had a better and more consistent quality of make but with inferior armour, lacking the resin-embedded ceramics layer inside the turret front and glacis armour, replaced with all steel. The Polish-made T-72G tanks also had thinner armour compared to Soviet Army standard (410 mm for turret). Before 1990, Soviet-made T-72 export versions were similarly downgraded for non-Warsaw Pact customers (mostly the Arab countries).[citation needed] Many parts and tools are not interchangeable between the Soviet, Polish and Czechoslovakian versions, which caused logistical problems.

A Ukrainian T-72AV (or T-72 Ural with additional ERA) was destroyed by the Russian forces in Luhansk Oblast
Of recent, the T-72 has had an all-too-familiar role in the Russian invasion of Ukraine on both sides. Often the start of the "Turret ejection club" showing often destroyed and disabled (or towed) T-72's in the hands of new owners.

The kit from Amusing Hobby:
We have already looked at the T-72 in a few releases from Amusing Hobby. Lukas has made the "Moderna" and Paul has built the T-72AV boxing. This kit follows the same structure in that it is a full interior kit, with all of the accurate parts inside making quite a detailed model. Photo-etch is included in this model, as are the easy to assemble tracks with this type and the full suite of "early" features of the Uralvagonzavod plant.
Unfortunately, no other information has been released on this release. More information on all of their kits is available from Amusing Hobby's Website...