Friday, June 10

Preview: The T-72B3M w/KMT-8 Mine Clearing System from Meng in 35th scale

The most up-to-date version of the T-72 (for now) the T-72B3M (with KMT-8 Mine clearing system) is MENG's latest 1/35th scale armour kit. Due to release in July, the kit's features are represented in our preview with CAD drawings. See what this kit is made of in our story...

Preview: The T-72B3M w/KMT-8 Mine Clearing System from Meng in 35th scale... 

T-72B3M w/KMT-8 Mine Clearing System
From Meng Models
1/35th scale
Kit No #​​TS-053
Box art by Felipe Rodna
Expected Release: July 2022
Kit designed in co-operation with Gur Khan Books
The Subject: The T-72B3M
The T-72B3M, sometimes unofficially referred as T-72B4, is a recent Russian upgrade of the ageing T-72B tank. It is a further development of the T-72B3 with some improvements. It has a new gun, an improved fire control system with panoramic commander's sight, improved protection and a new engine. This tank was first publicly revealed in 2014. 
A small batch of these tanks was produced. In 2016, it was announced that Russia is planning to upgrade a total of 150 older T-72B tanks to the T-72B3M standard. Currently, Russia is gradually refurbishing and upgrading a number of its ageing T-72B tanks to keep them operational and up to date. The T-72B3M can be seen as a low-cost upgrade of the older T-72B tank. By 2020, a total of 248 Russian tanks were upgraded to the T-72B3M standard. However, despite all updates and improvements, the T-72B3M is no match for modern Main Battle Tanks (MBTs). In 2017, it was announced that the first modernised T-72M3M tanks entered service with Belarus. However, Belarusian tanks have some differences.
Early production versions of the T-72B3M had older Kontakt-5 built-in explosive reactive armour. It has been reported that this tank will be fitted with a built-in Relikt explosive reactive armour of 3rd generation. Such armour is present on the T-90MS demonstrator.

One of the key features to identify the T-72B3M / T-72B4 is the panoramic sight mounted on the top center of the turret.
This tank has a new 2A46M5 125 mm smoothbore gun. Autoloader of this tank has some modifications and can use newly developed munitions. This tank can launch 9M119 Svir or 9M119M Refleks anti-tank guided missiles in the same manner as ordinary projectiles. Western reporting name for both missiles is AT-11 Sniper. A total of 45 rounds are carried, 22 rounds are stored in the autoloader and are ready to use, while the remaining are stored inside the hull. There is a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun, as well as a 12.7 mm roof-mounted machine gun. The last mentioned is manually controlled by the vehicle commander.

The rear side view of the turret with the snorkel.
The T-72B3M has got an improved fire control system over the previous T-72B3. It is fitted with a new panoramic sight with thermal vision, which gives it a hunter-killer engagement capability. Tank commander uses a panoramic sight with thermal vision to search for targets. Once the target is selected, the gun is laid on the target automatically and the gunner completes all the aiming and firing processes. During that time commander looks for the next target. Such an engagement method is present in all modern MBTs. The fire control system comes with a ballistic computer. Gunner uses a Sosna-U sight with a thermal imager. The T-72B3M has got day/night and all weather combat capability. The tank is also fitted with a digital radio system. So in terms of the fire control system and electronics, the T-72B3M outperforms the T-90 tank, used by the Russian Army.

   This MBT is operated by a crew of three, including commander, gunner and driver.
This tank is powered by the V-92S2F diesel, developing 1 130 hp. This engine was also fitted on some refurbished and upgraded T-72B3 tanks. It replaced the original 840 hp engine. As a result, the T-72B3M is faster than its predecessor. This tank also comes with new tracks. With preparation, this MBT can ford water obstacles up to 5 m deep. This deep wading feature is present on all Soviet/Russian MBTs. The T-72B3M also has a built-in blade for self-entrenching. The tank can prepare itself for defensive entrenchment within 12-40 minutes, depending on the ground type.
The Kit:
Working with the famous Russian army equipment research organisation,  the Gur Khan Books Publishing House, Meng are set to release a new 1/35th scale T-72B3M main battle tank with the KMT-8 Mine Clearing System kit. The finished model will be 280mm long, 113mm wide and 87mm high. 
The features set of the kit: The CAD drawings of this kit tell us a lot of the intricacies of the model and Meng has planned for us in this release...

The 4S23 Relikt explosive reactive armour and the modular slat armour are precisely reproduced.
The gun mantlet canvas cover and the unique 4S22 explosive reactive armour elements are designed by digital sculpting. 
Now proven to be not so effective, the bags on the side of the tank are a short term addition, one might think.
The 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun has two elevation options.
All crew hatches are operable.
The precisely replicated KMT-8 mine clearing system can be built in the retracted or deployed position.
Lights, observation ports and optical sights are represented with clear parts.
The engine grilles are represented by precision PE parts.
This kit includes a realistic and movable torsion bar suspension system.
Brand-new tooling double-pin workable tracks are easy to assemble.
This kit includes a quick assembly jig for the tracks.
Meng's new kit no #TS-053 "Russian Main Battle Tank T-72B3M w/ KMT-8 Mine Clearing System" in  1/35th scale will be available at hobby shops in July 2022

You can see more info on this kit and others from Meng on the Meng Models Website...