The following introduction is provided by Zvezda:
The T-70B is an upgraded version of the T-70, it was developed in July 1942, with delivery starting in October of the same year, production was at the GAZ plant in Gorki and a plant no.38 in Kirov. The modification “B” differed from the early T-70 tank with a new reinforced running gear, modified exhaust outlet system and new drivers hatch. At the very end of 1942 a new welded gun mantlet was introduced, and in Spring 1943 exhaust manifold guards and stamped drivers hatch were added. T-70B tanks were armed with a 45mm 20-K cannon and a 7.62mm DT machine gun, the hull was armoured with 15-45mm thick plates. Power was provided by two twin automotive engines, with a combined 70 horsepower, there the noise of the tank was no louder than a normal truck. The T-70B tank was the second largest Soviet tank In World War II. These vehicles came into service with mechanised units of the Red army, went through the whole war and served until the victory.
This offering from Zvezda is packaged in a flip top cardboard tray, with a additional end opening card sleeve showing the artwork. The contents of the package are inside a single sealed plastic bag, with the decals and clear sprue in a ZipLoc bag packaged within the sealed bag - an aspect that O do not appreciate due to the risk of damage to the decals. An examination of the contents only reveals flow marks in some plastic parts, but this has not affected the finish, as regards touch and view.
The hull of this release is a multipart assembly, meaning the modeller will have to take care during the assembly, due to there being no internal support for the hull. This is particularly true for the exhaust manifold which basically rests on top of the hull. There is some surgery required on the hull sides, requiring some detail to be removed, depending on which variant you intend to make. Zvezda has provided two front panels for the hull, to allow fro production of the earlier or later models of the drivers hatch, and of course has provided both types of hatch with the option of having them open or closed.
The suspension arms I believe used torsion bars are added individually, and while set in the neutral position could be modified by the modeller. The wheels are moulded with a additional rear plate required, with very good face detail where it matters. The rubber tyre portions will of course benefit from some dinks and digs which would quickly accumulate in use. The drive wheel is a single cog, again with good detail and its removal is benefited by the gates used for moulding being on the end of the teeth rather than the gullet in-between. The idler wheel utilises the same structure as the road wheels, which would provide their reduction in the requirement for spares. The tacks for the release are provided by the link and length method with detail being good in my opinion and so far as I can see no ejector pin marks to concern yourself with. I know that some people do not like individual links, but I do feel this produces the most realistic finish as regards the look of the finished objects.
The track guards have four ejector pin marks in the centre of the underside, which will be very difficult to remedy due to the detail replicated in that area. One part that will be easily broken in this area is the tow cable, which is a very fine moulding likely to be damaged or broken during removal from the sprue unless extreme care is taken. The track guard hangers and track guards themselves have a very nice scale thickness to them. There is no photo etch used in this release, and looking at the model the only area where it may possibly be required is if there is a grille over the inlet area. The exhaust for this release has been well reproduced including a silencer box and all of the plumbing.
The turret as with the hull is a multi panel moulding, this has enabled very good replication of detail, that has made it more difficult for the modeller. If care is taken during assembly the result should be very good. There are two options for the rear panel of the turret, depending on the finish you are intending but I do not know what this represents as there is no information on the modification. Angled plates are added to the turret that protect the welds on the turret itself. Inside the turret a basic gun breach is included, this is complimented by a single piece barrel, but rather than having it hollow at the end a short hollow end cap is provided. A full DT machine gun is provided as is a sighting system. Depending on which variant you depend of finishing the model as, as in early or late two mantlets are provided and you must ensure that you use the correct receiver for positioning the barrel. Clear periscopes are provided in the kit that are nice to see, my only complaint within the turret is that a hole needs to be drilled in the roof depending on the finish you are going for and no detail is provided as regards the size of that hole. The hole marker itself on the inside has caused a mark on the outside which I can see but not feel. The turret hatch is large and can be depicted open or closed, but you will need to use some creative work to hide the empty interior. Zvezda has provided four finishing options and these are:
T-70B of the Commander of the 8th Self Propelled Artillery Brigade, Col. I Y Kochin, Belarus, vacintiy of Vitebsk, Vitbsk, February 1944
T-70B (early production) of the 5th Guards, Zimovnikov Mechanised Corps, 5 Gv, Ta, Ukraine, Autumn 1943 - Spring 1944
T-70B (late production) tank Column of the Gorky Dynamo, Transfer of tank to the front, Gorky, 21st December 1942
T-70B (late production) of the Central Front, Northern Front of the Kursk Bulge, July 1943
This release from Zvezda is a new release as regards the mouldings and as such meets the high standards that I have come to expect from Zvezda products. I really appreciate that optional parts have been provided depending on whether you wish to build an initial or later production of the T-70B. Negatives wish I can only critique the ejector pin marks on the underside of the track guards which will be difficult to tackle, but by the same score will almost need an inspection light to see them on the finished model, and no drill size being covered for the hole in the top of the turret depending on which variant you choose to build. The result of all this, is an especially nice release of the vehicle with the build options and at an especially competitive price. Zvezda has come a long way.