1:72 T-80 with VT-43 gun

UM / Uni Models 393

T-80, but not that one which you think about. Instead a way smaller subject- Russian light tank from WW2 period. Built from nice (although not without some annoying simplifications), little kit from Uni Models

The kit

T-80 was a World War 2 Russian light tank developed from earlier T-70. In 1943 attempts were made to arm it with long barrel VT-43 gun (which was a M-42 gun adapted for tank use). However, the prototypes didn't go beyond testing grounds.

Ukrainian manufacturer Uni Models based its T-80-43 model on earlier T-70/T-80 kits, just like the real thing was. Except the plastic parts, box contains quite worthless small PE sheet and generic “Soviet Vehicle 1” decals. The latter aren't very useful either, because most likely there was no makings on that particular tank. Apart from that, the kit is quite nice, but of course there is a room for improvement.


Vent above the engine is in my opinion the weakest point of this model. It is imitated by single solid plastic plate with some engraving and just doesn't look good. Therefore I cut out appropriate opening and scratch-built the shutter mechanism from polystyrene.

Top of the vent was then covered with piece of metal net. It doesn't look exactly like the real thing, but certainly better than the out-of-box solution. PE set from Part, dedicated for T-70, can be also used here, but I simply didn't obtain such.

Rest of the build was quite straightforward. I made some small modification here and there, but nothing fancy. Only one small detail from kit PE mini-sheet was installed, rest was substituted with wire and polystyrene. Front parts of the fenders were also replaced, to make them look thinner and more appropriate.


Painting started with black primer, Model Master enamel was used.

Base colour, Forest Green from Humbrol, was airbrushed. Some highlights were made with the same enamel slightly lightened with drop of grey.

Next step- colouring several details with brush. Model Master Rust and a black-grey mix.

Wash was applied after covering the whole model with acrylic gloss varnish. Mixture of brown artist oil paint and white spirit was used. Tracks were especially heavy treated with it, so it was basically a strong filter in this case.


Base for weathering was made with mat varnish from Gunze. Then some artist oil paints were used for some streaks, stains and to achieve more diverse colouring of exhaust.

Tamiya Weathering Master set was used to imitate dirt and dust. Some pigments were also used, especially around vents, and on exhaust installation. To make the tracks look more like metal parts, ordinary pencil was used.

I decided to make T-80 in "out of testing ground" condition, so a little bit of mud and dirt on the chassis would be expected. I used Valeyo pigments mixed with Model Master varnish, applied with brush.

Model was finished, and I broke this long thin barrel only once!

Finished model

The model represents T-80 prototype vehicle, armed with VT-43 gun, tested on Sverdlovsk proving ground in 1943


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