This kit was kindly provided for review by Michigan Toy Soldier Shop and is available to purchase either in their store or through their website
the back of the box
the contents, notice the two sided instructions!!!
all parts are clearly numbered on the sprue AND the instruction sheet
detail, as always, is tiny, crisp and beautifully rendered
I have 1/48 scale kits without this level of detail
tiny bolts on the gun mantlet
this is where I truly thought that Zvezda had lost it,
eight snap-tight pieces to get the hull bottom and the tracks together
tiny errors in dimension or manufacturing would be multiplied by each additional part
the parts, carefully cleaned of all traces of the molding process
they snapped flawlessly into place
more of the exquisite detail that is the trademark of Zvezda kits;
torsion bar arms are perfectly rendered, but no one will ever see these on the assembled model
the one-piece casting process means that the track-face is lamentably blank,
but the host of tiny bolts on the road wheels distracts the eye and mind from such thoughts
the acid test, the parts trimmed and ready to go
the hull sides fit perfectly
and the tracks snapped into place with equal ease
then I turned the instructions over to see this; the upper hull is cast as separate pieces that snap into position, the panels all meet along edges with a 45 degree bevel edge, I was prepared to spend a LOT of time holding the parts together while glue dried
the parts freed fro the sprues,
I very carefully trimmed away all of the little plastic burrs from the mold points
hoping to get a better parts fit.
and here they are assembled, to be honest I was flabbergasted, I had no hope that the parts would fit so well, the tiny gap under the nearest hatch is the result of me getting ham-handed when cutting away some sprue aside from the the fit was perfect
the main gun was a single piece and snapped right into place as was the hull MG,
the mufflers fit perfectly into slots on the rear of the hull
the main gun will need some gentle flexing to straighten out that droop
the amount of detail on the rear of the hull is excellent
as is the elegant detail on the rear of the superstructure
I take my hat off to the unrecognized genius who works at Zvezda that designed this kit, kudos are also due to the company responsible for casting the model as the tiniest flaw or warping would have ruined the designers efforts. This kit certainly moves the goal posts when it comes to snap-tight kits and also throws down a gauntlet to any other 1/100 scale model, every aspect of this kit defines superlative. I say with all honesty that I have never seen a kit in this scale (or in 1/72, 1/56/or 1/48th scale) that displayed better fit and finish. This sort of quality, at this price-point, simply destroys the idea of competition. If the rest of the wargaming model manufacturers aren't running scared they should be!
I simply can't recommend anything more highly.