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T-72B variant in Syria 2016 – MENG + Diorama

I started this project right after the Arco dei Fileni build. The concept centers around an ongoing conflict, in and involves a modern MBT, still in use today. I not normally build modern vehicles – leave Russian ones – but this one I wanted to complete since quite a while. You can revisit the build report here:

Short history:
The is one of the most successful modern tank designs in history, with over 20.000 built in various versions. The service history with the Russian Army dates to 1973 but the vehicle is still in active use today in many countries around the world. Amongst its users are many former Soviet peripheral states but also NATO members like Poland for instance. The low cost, high maneuverability and the deadly efficient 125mm smooth bore auto-loaded main gun are the main factors to its success and the tank is likely to be around for many years to come. The vehicle has a crew of three (driver, gunner and commander). The second picture below shows an AV variant that took an RPG hit on the leftmost ERA skirt...

This build depicts a T-72B variant in a Syrian setting in 1:35 scale. Upon the open entry of Russia to assist the Syrian Arab regime under Bashar al-Assad, some T-72B variants ended up in service there. There is ample documentation around that I could identify in support of this. Although the usual T-72AV and T-72M variants make up the bulk of the Syrian Arab Armored force, the B variant entered via older Russian stocks to stop the gap appearing because of the high attrition rates nominal for a conflict peppered by street fighting and urban skirmishes. These T-72 machines suffer heavily as the next pictures show.

The kit:
This is MENG’s TS-033 kit representing its go at the T-72B1 variant. The difference between various versions is sometimes minimal but this kit features the Kontakt Reactive Armor ERA kit that is to protect the crew from RPG’s and all sorts of (wire) guided missiles in this urban setting.
The build:
The build is well detailed in the WiP thread mentioned previously. I wanted to represent the vehicle on a dio base indicative of the urban environment it encounters in Syria. What is more urban and ‘civilized’ than a highway?

The vehicle build is virtually OOB with some damage featured (lost fender and scratches). The painting sequence was as follows: (1) primer acrylic black from the rattle can, (2) enamels dark yellow, grey-and-brown camo scheme on top, (3) acrylic matte varnish to make the underground bulletproof for the weathering step, (4) wash of thinned oils, (5) pigment base, heavy under the fenders, light on top, (6) hairpray fixation of the pigment layer, (7) enamel matte varnish finish to fix it all up for eternity.

The dio base is a wood and cardboard section of highway with featured display, electrical cabinet and highway light, all scratch built from Evergreen profiles and sheet styrene. The honor of the reader goes to him/her who identifies what the lamp was made of (and who read this journal up to here). The figure is a customized ‘German’ tanker from an old Academy kit. I used green stuff to model his tank helmet and parka. More on that in the WiP thread. All road signs and pictures were printed on decal paper on my inktjet printer and blended using acrylic varnish.

This is - in summary - a very nice kit. The level of detail is exquisite (what others do in PE, MENG does in plastic, so ideal for an OOB build) and given the time necessary builds into a great model of this infamous Russian MBT. Definitely not my last MENG kit!

I hope you like it! Louis’ Empire of Japan GB is next on the bench! @lgardner

Happy modeling!

PS: Special thanks go to my friend @afrikaneer for the weathering tips!

10 responses

  1. That's a fantastic model and equally great diorama, Michel!
    Cannot figure out the lamp, though...
    All the best!

  2. Excellent detail as usual Michel. Quite an impressive build especially from one that states they don't usually build modern vehicles. Could have fooled me on your T-72 build.

  3. For someone who typically does not build modern armor, it looks exceptionally well done. It is right at home in the urban environment you have built. Two thumbs up my friend ! You definitely hit a home run here with this one... but I have never known you to strike out either and build a “dud”. Everything you do is always magnificent and you have a very high standard for each one of your builds.

    Now I’m even more excited about what you have in store for us with your Empire of Japan entry.

    As far as the light, and what you used to construct it ... I honestly don’t have a clue. Possibly a helicopter rotor blade, or maybe even the sprue identifier such as “Tamiya B” (as an example) that you typically find on each plastic tree ? Just a guess.


  4. Outstanding job on this Michel. The balance of weathering and damage is spot on.

    Well done!

  5. Really cool article mate, and an impressive diorama.
    I quite fancy grabbing a piece of armour myself when the model shop reopens!

  6. @fiveten, @tom-bebout, @lgardner, @jamesb @richardmcstay48gmail-com

    Thanks for your kind words of encouragement. The lamp was made using this common article in craft stores: The polyacrylate packaging of .5mm stifts!

    Why make what's on your bench already!

  7. Awesome T-72 build (and history of the variant modeled)!

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