Finnish Assault Gun BT42

Published: September 7th, 2011     
Box Art
Box Art
Reviewed by: Greg Wise - IPMS# 44378
Scale: 1/35
Company: Tamiya
Price: $70.00
Product / Stock #: 35318
Product provided by: Tamiya America

History Brief

As the Second World War progressed, the Soviets were fielding better tanks. The Finnish Army, on the other hand, had to make due with a large number of old obsolete captured tanks, which were for the most part lightly armored and armed.

The Finns redesign the BT-7 model 1937 tank. They constructed a new turret and armed it with British-made 114.3 mm howitzers that had been supplied by the British during the Winter War (Q.F. 4,5 inch howitzer Mark II, also known as 114 Psv.H/18 in Finland). The Finns constructed 18 BT-42s and these were pressed into service in 1943.

The BT-42 saw action for the first time in 1943, at the Syir River, where it was used to take out enemy pillboxes. The design worked reasonably well against soft targets but was completely useless in the anti-tank role. To counter this, the Finns copied a German-designed HEAT round for the gun, and it was initially thought that it could defeat the sloping armor of the T-34, however, this was not the case. The BT-42 soon became very unpopular among its crews. The mechanical problems could mainly be attributed to the new turret, which not only gave the tank a high profile but also added a lot of weight to the vehicle, overstressing the suspension and the engine.

The BT-42s were used again during the major Soviet offensive in1944. They were deployed in the defense of Vyborg but were unable to stop the advancing Soviet army. The BT-42 would suffer heavily during the fighting. At one point, a Finnish BT-42 managed to hit a Soviet T-34 18 times, failing even to immobilize the enemy vehicle. The Finns lost 8 of the 18 vehicles engaged without having made any significant contribution to the fighting. The BT-42 was retired soon after the Vyborg battles and was replaced in the role by German-made StuG IIIs.

The Product

Crew hatches can be depicted in either open or closed positions.Details including the shortened front fenders, storage boxes on side fenders, and accessories such as jacks have been realistically reproduced.Photo-etched parts to depict side plates of the mantlet and engine grilles are included. Comes with a standing crew figure and 3 types of decal markings.

The Build

The Tamiya design team has another winner; I encountered no problems during the construction. The kit is state of the art and falls together if you follow the instructions I had all major building completed and was ready to paint in about 6-7 hours. The famous Tamiya poly-caps came in two sizes and were used on the road wheels and gun. The photo- etch fret was a nice touch and came with a bending template to accommodate the larger engine cover grill. I added the length-link track after I painted and weathered the hull, being able to pop on and off the poly-cap wheels made this much easier. The crew figure went together in about five pieces and poses well with the assault gun.

The Bottom Line

This is a great kit the 'Tamiya' name speaks for itself. I highly recommend it to any skill level modeler at any age group.

My Gratuities

Thank you Tamiya America. And thank you IPMS.

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