Andy's Trumpeter T62  in 1/35
There were great whoops of joy in the Claesens’ household when it was announced that Trumpeter would be adding a T-62 to their already wide range. Like many, I had been waiting for a new, more accurate T-62 for many years. I’ve built three of the Tamiya offering and although it is a fun kit to build, I was getting a little cheesed off with building up the turret to improve its shape. Eagerly awaiting this to hit the shelves with plans to increase the size of the stash AGAIN, I was delighted when Robin offered me the chance to build this for the site.

The kit was featured in Military Modelling with a build article where Steve Zaloga gave the kit a good shakedown. Whilst not having achieved that level of expertise yet, I hoped to offer my slant on this old Cold-War bogeyman. I had said to Robin that it would be an OOB build but there are a few areas that needed improvement, e.g. the fuel lines.

The T-62 was the direct descendant of the T-54/55 series and was designed by the Kartsev Bureau at Nizhnyi Tagil. Designated Obiekt 166 during its development, it was accepted for service with the Soviet Army in the summer of 1961. A pre-production batch of 25 tanks was built towards the end of 1961 for trials. Large scale production was then given the go-ahead and commenced in mid-1962. Many components from the 5T-4/55 series were utilised but a longer, wider hull was used to mount a larger new design turret which would mount the larger U-5TS (2A20) 115mm smoothbore armament. The suspension is the same torsion bar system although it is re-arranged for the longer hull. The engine and transmission are also used but the cooling system was improved by introducing a larger fan. Other systems such as the NBC, fire detection and fording systems are also the same.

Kit reviews had commented on a number of issues and inaccuracies but in comparison to the venerable old Tamiya offering, this was light years ahead. The first issue mentioned was the black vinyl material used for the tyres (parts Z1) and I was not overly happy at the thought of working with this medium. However, let me lay that one to bed. The tyres are actually plastic, just moulded in black and are nicely moulded with all the seams you would normally get on the full size original when they roll out of the factory. As this was not going to be a pristine showroom example, a quick swipe with a sanding stick and the tyres age nicely. The wheels and the tyres are bevelled slightly so that the tyres will only fit one way, which is a nice touch. The idlers were nicely represented but the moulding of the wheel hubs was a slight disappointment, as they were slightly off centre. During the dry fitting of the drive sprockets I was not overly pleased to find the alignment slightly out. I therefore removed the lugs and lined them up by eye and a couple of the individual links. One of the other issues that is causing consternation to the experts is the angle of this rear bulkhead. Technically it should be at 90 degrees to the engine deck which is 2 degrees off the horizontal. For whatever reason, Trumpeter has chosen to make it 90 degrees to the ground. As Steve Z. mentioned in his article this whopping 2 degree error could be fixed but it is a lot of unnecessary work. And even if anyone gets their micro meter out to have a whinge about it, I'll still sleep at night. It looks close enough to me and life is too short.

The tracks are beautifully moulded individual link tracks with four moulding points to clean up per link... 217 links are supplied so there are plenty of spares. The instructions show 94 links each side. A tedious job to prepare them but it is well worth the effort. I was very pleased with myself as the tracks set but then reviewing the pictures for the blog, I suddenly let out a shriek & the bad language began. The photo didn't look right & I suddenly realised for the first time that I had put the left hand run on in reverse. I seem to have been plagued with track issues over the past two years... you'd think I would have learnt by now. Anyway once all the language had calmed down I simply slipped it off the wheels & turned it round. Obviously the idler and drive sprocket are different diameters so it required a little squeezing & reshaping. However, to huge sighs of relief I managed to get away with it.

Going a little out of sequence to get the hull closed before adding the detailed parts I started at the back with the engine deck. The first three parts are easy enough & require no further enhancement unless I was going to be totally insane and replace all the lifting handles... (not this time) but the rearmost section with the grilles needed some work. The fan cover (part G4) would normally be left open but this would leave a gaping hole as there is no meshwork supplied, additionally there are a couple of ejector marks on the underside that need a little treatment if you choose to leave it open. On the rear bulkhead, the lower un-ditching beam brackets are supplied moulded solid but reference shows they have a series of four holes drilled in them which probably provide tie-down points for the beam so I drilled them out appropriately.

At the front on the glacis plate, the armoured conduits for the light wiring was made from copper cable; these go into a new junction box made from one of the moulding lugs left over from the track links. The hatch itself has a little detail added from fuse wire with an armoured strip to the side of the hatch made from .05 thou plasticard. The vision port covers were made of the same stuff. I drilled out the back of the headlights and inserted fuse-wire for the cabling. Once these set, I looked at the kit parts for the light guards... The kit parts quite frankly are very poor. I've been fortunate enough to clamber over several T-62s and have got pictures of loads of them and these only bear a passing resemblance to the real thing. Coupled with the seams and poor fit they are parts that certainly need replacing with something else so I then spent a number of frustrating attempts to get the light guards right using copper wire. In the end and the sixth attempt, I got it how I wanted it.

Moving on to the turret, the plate with the turret MG was drilled out and then I set to preparing the barrel. This is one area that has come in for criticism as the barrel walls are very thick. Other issues are related to the barrel taper but on this issue I say, "Life's too short"; it is close enough for me. The canvas mantlet cover is nicely done and the kit also provides another part to give you the option of building without the canvas should you wish to. I shaved off the moulded armoured cable for the spotlight replacing it with telephone cable and I also decided I wanted to replace the plastic turret handrails. There is nothing wrong with the kit items really but I know they will not take any rough handling at all. So, it was out with the thick gauge florist wire and using one of the kit parts as a template I produced new handrails.

The next thing for this was the un-escapable plumbing required on any '55 & '62 build. Using my ubiquitous BT cable all three fuel cells were plumbed in as well as correctly repositioning the handles and the vent/drain plugs. I added and detailed the mounting brackets to complete this area. The kit does provide copper hawsers but like a numpty I misplaced them, (another one of the hazards of having multiple builds on the go.) They were therefore replaced with picture wire. Just before I primed her I got to the "can't see the wood for the trees" stage. So I thought I'd check over the details again for any final adjustments. It worked and I realised I hadn't sanded off the mould seams on the road wheels and I had completely forgotten about the front track-guard tensioners. The wheels were removed, sanded and replaced and the tensioners produced and then the whole lot re-primed.

Painting was a simple rattle-can process. I had both tracks fitted with really nice sag formed into them and I thought "Why don't I use up some of this wash to start the weathering"... About halfway through the process I let out an enormously loud expletive as I realised I had got one of the tracks on in reverse AGAIN!!! To make matters worse they were super glued and I thought I'd be stuck (excuse the pun) with them the way they were. A few hours of teasing and coaxing and I got the offending track off with only a couple of breakages to the run and then as I was prising the last bit free I slipped and the T-62 developed wings. It is not the easiest of things to do, trying to juggle a T-62 whilst still holding a scalpel in the other hand and so sadly the chassis plunged to the floor. The resulting damage wasn't as bad as it could have been but two breaks appeared[n one of the track runs and so further repairs were undertaken followed by restrained washes and pastels.

The decals were straightforward; just a few tactical numbers, followed by more liberal dustings of various pastels to create the dusty look I had envisaged.

I'd like to thank all who followed the Blog for their support, comments and patience and especially say thanks to Robin for giving me the opportunity to blog this (coupled with apologies for the time-delay) Roughly a year from start to finish but it was a fabulously fun build that has given scope for a few improvements along the way. Well done to Trumpeter. I can thoroughly recommend this kit and will be building more of these for sure.

(Ed: And for those who missed it or want a refresh, there is a link to Andy's blog on this build below.Robin)