New Russian T-72B3 with 4S24 Soft Case ERA & Grating Armour (Trumpeter #09610)
Some kit manufacturers are blatantly fast in developing new products that relate to recent developments in the news.
Trumpeter certainly is in the field of Armor models, with a T-72B3 variant featured of a rooftop cage in welded steel, depicted as 4S24 Soft Case ERA & Grating Armour.
The latter protection is retrofitted on one of the most used T-72 variants in the Russian land forces, the B3. Some of you may remember my build of MENG's version of the B1 some time ago:
This vehicle was from a different manufacturer and depicted the B1 variant also with ERA (Explosive Reactive Armor) blocks fitted. Those blocks in fact protect from direct attack munitions such as RPG's and ATGM's but not the latest versions of NATO type ATGM's like NLAW and Javelin that have alternative roof, or top attack modes (also being fire-and-forget type).
The latter munitions have been shipped to Ukraine recently in the thousands, so the roof cage fitted to the T-72 B3 in this kit is meant to protect from top attacks with the more recent ATGMs but - following the conflict in Ukraine closely - I read that Russian tankers in fact dislike them, given that any penetrating hit on a T-72 can detonate the caroussel autoloader. This means that both (turret) crews must exit the vehicle ASAP after a hit not to get caught in blazing fires of propulsion shots or even when the turret-throwing occurs when all internal munitions in the tank sets of in one go.
Box art usually sells the kit, if not for good reviews on the web these days. But the Trumpeter artist impression is very speaking, it stems from a still below, depicting a T-72B3 turret being thrown of, originally and in fact accidentally filmed by a Chinese film crew in the Russian occupied part of Southern Ukraine far from the line of contact. Rumor has it this was the result of a UK supplied Brimstone adapted A2G missile, but it's still disputed. I frankly did not know that these cages were standardized in any way, for some reports speak about retrofitted cages as there seem to be as many variants of this case as there are welders at first look. Not that they are always effective though...
The result of a cataclismic explosion of internal ammo...
The video toured the entire internet beginning May. Not sure about the fate of the crew...
I don't know yet if I will get this kit, but the fact that it is avalable after little more than 100 days into the war in Ukraine speaks for itself. Something I wanted to share with the armor fans out here. Will build a 'normal' T-72 B3 soon though...
Happy modeling, Michel.
PS: Sorry for the front page picture, I wanted to depict the box-art but there seems to be issues with this site re. editing