OT-130 Flame Thrower Tank

Published: September 12th, 2014     
Box Art
Box Art
Reviewed by: 
Gino Dykstra, IPMS# 11198
Scale: 1/35
Company: Hobby Boss
Price: $47.99
Product / Stock #: 82498

During World War 2 the Russians created a large number of flamethrower-equipped vehicles, useful for burning Germans out of strongpoints.  Some of them replaced a turret or hull machine gun position with the weapon.  Others, such as the OT-130, replaced the main gun itself and made this a dedicated flame thrower tank.

Like the original vehicle itself, Hobby Boss' OT-130 tank is a modification of the tried-and-true T-26, which by this time in the war had outlived its usefulness as a main battle tank.  The 45mm main gun was removed and replaced with a flamethrower unit and its appropriate internal tankage.  The kit itself features over 900 parts including two sheets of photoetch and seeming hundreds of tiny pins used to assemble the workable tracks.  There is no interior provided, although all of the crew hatches do open.  No figures are provided with the kit, although it comes with a clear lens for the headlight.

The proportions of the kit are spot-on, which is better than I can say for the numerous Mirage kits of this type I've pieced together over the years.  The surface detail is excellent, and certainly captures the pugnacious look of the original.  That being said, I doubt I'm the first to comment on the loose fit and fragility of the running gear, which was quite a trial to put together, as they engineered the kit to be fully articulated. I managed to break at least two springs trying to fit them to the pins in the bogeys and one was lost to the Carpet God. After much cursing, I finally decided is to assemble each bogey completely without the springs.  I then cut the bottom half of the loops off the springs (part A4) and glued them to their shroud (part D7).  Then, when everything was dry, I was able to cement these together into a fairly strong suspension. 

The tracks, which are also intended to be fully articulated (with insanely small track pins) are also a bit of a challenge.  Not being a fan of running models back and forth across the floor making putt-putt noises, I chose to assemble them firmly on the model and skipped the pins.  I truly admire anyone who goes to the trouble of inserting two tiny pins on each of roughly 230 links and keeps the whole thing fully articulated.  Me - I've got a life.

After the tracks, assembly became much easier.  Fit was excellent, by and large, and the only places I felt the need for putty were around the edge of the turret roof, on the muffler and to fill a couple of pin holes on the hatches.   I admit I'm not generally a fan of photoetch, as I have seen it used pointlessly on too many projects, but it was offered on this model to good effect, replacing what would otherwise be some rather clunky plastic.  Unfortunately, the Carpet God was particularly voracious during this project, and I managed to lose a number of small parts including the beautifully rendered headlight, which I replaced with an item from one of my Mirage kits.  Needless to say, it showed up later, but by then I could not pry the replacement part off.  My bad.

Essentially all versions of the completed model are going to be Russian green, more or less, although the color marking sheet does suggest a very attractive Finnish tank with the light blue and white turret bands.  Alternatively, you can do a whitewash for some interest and go to town with the weathering, as these machines were used in the field right next to the ground troops and would get quite worn with time.

For detail, I give this model high marks, less so for ease of build due to the complexity and fragility of the running gear and tracks,   Still, a wonderful kit and highly recommended.

My thanks to Hobby Boss, Squadron MMD for the sample and to IPMS USA for the chance to review this lovely model.

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