Skif 1/35 T-64BV

KIT #: 205
PRICE: $20.00 on the sale table
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


The T-64 was conceived in Kharkiv, Ukraine as the next-generation main battle tank by Alexander A. Morozov, the designer of the T-54 (which, in the meantime, would be incrementally improved by Leonid N. Kartsev's Nizhny Tagil bureau, by the models T-54A, T-54B, T-55, and T-55A).

A revolutionary feature of the T-64 is the incorporation of an automatic loader for its 125-mm gun, allowing one crew member's position to be omitted and helping to keep the size and weight of the tank down. Tank troopers would joke that the designers had finally caught up with their unofficial hymn, Three Tankers—the song had been written to commemorate the crewmen fighting in the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, in 3-man BT-5 tanks in 1939.

The T-64 also pioneered other Soviet tank technology: the T-64A model of 1967 introduced the 125-mm smooth-bore gun, and the T-64B of 1976 would be able to fire a guided anti-tank missile through its gun barrel.

The T-64 design was further developed as the gas turbine-powered T-80 main battle tank. The turret of the T-64B would be used in the improved T-80U and T-80UD, and an advanced version of its diesel engine would power the T-80UD and T-84 tanks built in Ukraine.

The T-64 would only be used by the Soviet Army and never exported, unlike the T-54/55. The tank equipped elite and regular formations in Eastern Europe and elsewhere, the T-64A model being first deployed with East Germany's Group of Soviet Forces in Germany (GSFG) in 1976, and some time later in Hungary's Southern Group of Forces (SFG). By 1981, the improved T-64B began to be deployed in East Germany and later in Hungary. While it was believed that the T-64 was "only" reserved for elite units, it was also used by much lower "non-ready formations", for example, the Odessa Military District's 14th Army.

With the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, T-64 tanks remained in the arsenals of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Uzbekistan. Mid 2014, slightly fewer than 2,000 of the former Soviet inventory of T-64 tanks are in service with the military of Ukraine and about 4,000 are out-of-service and awaiting destruction in Russia.


 This one was picked up from the sales table at the LHS, mainly because I'd just finished reading the Osprey book on the type and like often happens, a book is motivation to look for a kit.

Skif kits of whenever this was built (pretty much everything is in Russian), have generally soft detailing. By this I mean that where a corner of a part would be sharp, on this kit it is a bit more rounded. Not that it is bad, just not up to Tamiya quality, but then one would not expect it from these guys. I think of it as more a short run kit than anything. There are ejector pin marks or towers on most of the large parts. Note that there are a few open areas on the sprues where some parts fell off.

There are two features of this kit which will be quite time consuming. One is building the suspension. All of the road wheels fit onto the suspension arm and are held in place by a small plastic circle that is glued in place. There is then a cap that goes over this to hide this. Assuming you don't glue the wheel to the suspension piece, you repeat this eight times for each side.

The second feature will be the installation of the Kontakt 1 reactive armor. In some areas it is quite obvious where it is attached as there are small indentations in the hull for it. In other places it is not and on yet other pieces, one will have to attach small standoffs to the armor section prior to installing it on the tank.

A two piece gun barrel is provided and since there is no interior, there is no gun breech.There is an infrared spotlight and the smoke/grenade discharger typical of the variant so you know that Skif had done their homework. A snorkel is also included with its three sections carried in various areas of the rear of the tank or turret. Tracks on this one are in vinyl and are two sections per side, to be held together with the time-honored heated screwdriver. I'm not sure how well these will hold paint.

Instructions are pretty much all in Russian aside from a four-language history section. Drawings are well done so there should be no problem assembling the kit. Markings for four vehicles are provided, all in at least two-three different colors. However, since even that info is in Russian, I couldn't tell you the schemes. Check the internet though you could probably wing it as few would really know. There is a decal sheet, but it has not only yellowed a bit but appears to be quite brittle so I'm not sure how well it would work when applied to the model. Perhaps there is an aftermarket sheet, though I've seen photos of this tank with no external markings at all.


I have to admit that I've not a clue as to how well Skif kits build. It looks to be easy enough, thought with a lot of parts. One thing for sure, when it is done, it will look nice, especially with all that reactive armor, which I think just adds to the 'cool' factor on modern MBTs.



Copyright October 2015

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