Monday, September 19, 2016

Experimental Heavy Tanks

In the early years of the Cold War, a number of interesting experimental tanks were developed for the battlefields of that era. Most however, were never pursued beyond the prototype stage. For most mainstream model companies, these unique tanks have been too obscure to merit a release.

To fill part of this void, TOPOP, a Beijing based company that creates merchandise for various video game franchises has chosen to release three experimental heavy tank models as part of their Iron Fist line of diecast armor. These models were created in conjunction with the World of Tanks franchise, and represent Soviet, American, and Chinese heavy tanks from the WoT game.

I have the T57 and WZ-111, but not the IS-7. However, that may change if I can find the IS-7 for a low price.

The T57 was built on a M103 heavy tank chassis, and features an oscillating turret. Only a single prototype was built.

The model is mostly plastic, but it has a metal lower hull to give it a bit of heft.

The turret and upper hull have decent detail, though handrails and vision ports are the simplified style typical of diecast models. The turret is able to rotate about 45° to each side, and can oscillate up and down.

The wheels are also a bit simplified, and are attached to the hull on the reverse side by a rail that I presume is there to facilitate the mass production of the model.

The WZ-111 was based on the IS-2 and IS-3, but also had some design features of the IS-7 and T-10 tanks. The turret was still under development when the chassis was undergoing testing, so I don't think that any complete prototypes were ever produced.

The model has a plastic turret and upper hull, while the lower hull is made of metal. For some reason, the tank was dry-brushed in copper to simulate wear, making it look a bit unusual.

The details of the hull and turret are not bad, with the handrails on the side of the turret being actual plastic rods. Again though, the wheels are attached to the hull by means of a rail like on the T57.

The final model I want to present in this post is the Object 279 from the Russian Tank Collection. This tank was designed with four sets of tracks, CBRN protection, and a uniquely shaped hull that was supposed to reduce the likelihood of flipping over in event of a blast wave from a nuclear explosion.

The model itself is let down by the running gear which was not assembled particularly straight. This, in conjunction with the soft rubber material used for the tracks makes it difficult to arrange all four sets of tracks so they look like they are properly aligned.

The wheels only have detail on one side, with the back being featureless disks, but the tracks hide this deficiency, so it's not a huge issue for me.

The TOPOP models are better assembled than the Russian Tank Collection model and have much better paint jobs, but they are a lot more expensive.

For all three of these models, the main detraction is the running gear. The plastic rails used to attach the wheels of the TOPOP models are not too obvious from a distance, but I still don't like that they are there. Those of the Russian Tank Collection model on the other hand, are just poorly assembled.

Still, the T57 and WZ-111 are probably difficult to find in any scale, while the only other Object 279 that I am aware of in 1/72 is a resin kit that is probably at least four times the price of the Russian Tank Collection model.


FirstDagger said...

They indeed look quite nice for die-cast especially give that these tanks are so obscure and only featured in World of Tanks. Sadly the Object 279 is not featured in any game yet.

EY said...

Thanks for reading FirstDagger. I was browsing some of the WoT forums, and most players seem to think that Object 279 will never make the game because it would be too over-powered.