After the shocking horrors of World War II, where most of our planet’s population had to endure day after day of continuous terror, one would expect a period of prolonged and unhindered peace. After rain comes the sun, right? Well, in certain ways it did, in others it really didn’t.
What we now know as The Cold War, a period between the end of WWII and the collapse of the USSR (1947-1991) was a period of geopolitical tension between the winning sides, East and West. While there was no direct armed conflict anymore, their influence stemmed several proxy wars in other parts of the world. At the same time, the rivalry led to development of competitions known as “races”.
One of those races, the Space Race, led to fantastic achievements such as putting a man on the Moon. The other one, the Nuclear Arms Race, eventually led to Takom producing a nicely detailed and oddly looking model kit. Wait, what? Well, not directly.
With the threat of a nuclear war waiting to emerge, projects that would win said war started to be tested. One of them, the Object 279 was an outstanding experiment of mounting a gigantic 130mm gun on top of a resilient vehicle. Looking at it, you can understand why it’s considered as such. The four sets of tracks made it so the tank could chew through any kind of terrain you would throw at it, be it swamps, forests, and even anti-tank obstacles. The odd shape of the hull had a maximized effect on protecting against APDS and shaped charge ammunition. At the same time, distributing the weight evenly over a large surface made it so it could withstand a nuclear shockwave without overturning. To top it all off, the tank was equipped with something called CBRN protection, which, to all intents and purposes is a pretty hardcore trait keeping the crew safe of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear risks.
The outstanding traits of the design ended up being the reasons for its downfall, though. With the Soviet Union making a change towards lighter tanks, the complicated engineering and the overall weight were the nails in the coffin for an otherwise fascinating tank design.
When you read model kit reviews, depending on the year of the original tools, it’s either a catastrophe, or an almost perfect execution. The Object 279 by Takom in 1/35th scale, with its production year of 2013 makes an exception though. Let me tell you why.
Starting with the pros, I should mention that putting together the turret and hull has been an absolute joy. Perfect fit, great moldings and low-part count make this a perfect kit for a lazy Saturday at the bench. As a small quirk, the kit provides double the sprues for building two complete turret assemblies, both with fully-detailed barrel and photo-etch accessories. Nice!
Talking a bit about the downsides, one should mention the barrel options. Out-of-the-box, you get to choose between a short and rather boring 152mm, and the sexy 130mm M-65 L/60. What’s bad about this, you might ask. Well, they both come in two halves and, with that level of detail, you are not going to spend days cleaning-up nasty seam lines. Luckily, there are after-market options. I chose RB Model’s 35B133, which works great, even if it says it’s for the Panda Hobby kit.
For marking, Takom only provides two small 120 decals. I think they missed an opportunity to go wild with some alternate history for an otherwise fascinating prototype vehicle.
Next up, there’s the elephant in the room. You may have noticed I didn’t mention the tracks yet. Oh, boy. With this model, I had my first opportunity to long for rubber-band tracks. Or at least link-and-length. Why, oh why did you have to punish us modelers with this individual link shenanigans, Takom? Of course, if you’re willing to, these Master Club metal tracks are a perfect alternative, but at the same price of the kit itself, I had to make a pass.
Going for the kit option, you’ll have to cut and clean up what looks like a thousand pieces. There’s also a pretty big ejection-pin mark on the inside of the links. Not difficult to get rid of, but multiply it by 320 and you have a pleasant night on your hands.
If you’re curious for some alternatives, there are two mainstream options available on the market: Panda Hobby and Amusing Hobby. While pretty similar in the overall engineering, there are quite a few key differences from the Takom one:
Alternative #1 – Amusing Hobby
- Tracks are also formed of individual links, but they come pre-cut, ready to assemble. Sadly, there are also individual pins for joining the links. Yuh! At least you get a jig for putting them together
- The barrel is molded as multiple one-piece sub-assemblies, apart from the thicker middle part which is molded in two halves. The smaller the seam, the merrier
- You don’t get a towing cable at all, as opposed to Takom’s high quality metal one
Alternative #2 – Panda Hobby
- Deeper and more natural-looking cast texture for the turret and main hull
- Individual track links with ejector-pin marks on the outside in a pretty difficult to reach recess
Painting & Weathering
Following the complete build with an even coverage of AMMO by Mig One Shot / UMP / Stynylrez / Badger black primer paved the way for a nice modulation with AMMO’s 4BO Russian Green. Lighter coverage in the recessed areas allows for naturally formed shadows. Gloss coat, decals (thanks to Meng’s Whippet for the Soviet Union stars), another gloss coat and we’re ready for weathering.
AMMO Oil Brushers Dark Brown and Buff, sponge chipping and a home-made oil wash made all the details pop and all the panels blend together nicely. The underside mud is a mix of Dark Earth and North Africa Sand pigments on top of AK Interactive Earth Effects.
Quite subtle effects, coupled with a very detailed kit make for one of my proudest models yet.
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