Zvezda 1/72 T-90 MBT
KIT #: 5020
PRICE: $16.95
DECALS: several options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


The T-90 is a Russian third-generation main battle tank that is essentially a modernisation of the T-72B, incorporating many features of the T-80U (it was originally to be called the T-72BU, later renamed to T-90). It is currently the most modern tank in service with the Russian Ground Forces and Naval Infantry. Although a development of the T-72, the T-90 uses a 125mm 2A46 smoothbore tank gun, 1G46 gunner sights, a new engine, and thermal sights. Standard protective measures include a blend of steel, composite armour, smoke mortars, Kontakt-5 explosive-reactive armour, laser warning receivers, Nakidka camouflage and the Shtora infrared ATGM jamming system. The EMT-7 electromagnetic pulse (EMP) creator has been used in testing but not fitted to T-90s in active service. It is designed and built by Uralvagonzavod, in Nizhny Tagil, Russia. Since 2011, the Russian armed forces have ceased ordering the T-90, and are instead waiting for the development of the Armata Universal Combat Platform that is expected to enter service in 2016.


This comes in Zvezda's latest style of box with a flimsy 'letter box' exterior and a nice cardboard 'lunch box' style inner box with a lid. It is fairly large as the main sprue is quite big and fills the box. There are two other sprues that are identical containing road wheels and drive items along with the required fuel drums and finally, a black plastic sprue that is not vinyl for the tracks. One is supposed to bend these and while I've never tried this, apparently it works well. The lower and upper hull are single pieces, clipped from a sprue and placed in the box.

As you can see, there are a lot of small parts on this one. I was quite pleased to find that none of the very fine bits were broken as often happens. Molding is first class and I'm betting it assembles well. The kit instructions start you with the turret which is made of a number of pieces as the top, bottom and all the side bits are separate. There is plenty of reactive armor for the turret and other parts of the tank.

A modern tank has lots of storage bins and so it is with this one. They and smoke ejectors are all over the turret. The main hatch is in several bits and while I guess you could model it open, there is nothing inside to see as there is not even a main gun breech. Speaking of the gun, this is not a slide mold kit, though the muzzle is a separate hollow ring. In addition to the reactive armor, the turret contains a machine gun and some rather complex apparatus which may be an infrared sight or that jamming system mentioned in the history section. 

Interestingly, the assembly of the suspension, road wheels, sprocket, idler and return rollers is at the end of the build. There are quite a few items to attach to the upper hull, including an exhaust and the required fuel drums on the back. The instructions show one simply bending the tracks into position so apparently it is easy to do. There are headlight, various tow hooks and other bits to attach to make things look busy.

Instructions are an indifferently folded sheet of paper with nicely done construction drawings and a few detail images to help out. Two tanks are provided as markings options. One is overall olive green and the other is the multi-color camo shown on the box top. Decals consist of a lot of numbers and some guard emblems. The decals are fairly well done, but like all Zvezda decals are not first rate.


I like Russian/Soviet armor and I like it in this scale as it fits on my display shelf. This one is superbly molded and has enough detail in it to make any small scale armor fan happy. If you like modern military MBTs, then you should seriously consider this one.



July 2015

Thanks to your intrepid editor who braved miles of road constructions to get this to you.

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