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Trumpeter MT-LB

The MT-LB is one of the more obscure Soviet tracked vehicles but has seen a lot of use. A jack of all trades, the MT-LB has acted as an artillery tractor, armored personnel carrier, and weapons platform to name a few roles. Active in Soviet and Russian service since the 1970s, many MT-LB were supplied to other armies and have seen action in conflicts around the world.

Trumpeter’s kit is most welcome as only the second MT-LB in 1/35th scale (SKIF produced the other).

The kit is jammed with details, including a complete interior from the transmission at the front to the engine and finishing with the troop compartment in the rear.
All of the hatches are separate parts and clear parts provide periscopes, windows, and headlights.
There are three photo-etched frets. The number of unused parts indicate Trumpeter plans other versions.

The one-piece lower hull provides a solid foundation for the interior.

The separate suspension arms need attention during installation. There’s play in their alignment that will interfere with track assembly.

The road wheels assemble from two pieces and have nice detail, particularly on the tires.

The individual-link tracks are not designed to be workable and feature separate guide horns – two per link. I spent many tedious hours assembling the tracks.

The engine is a kit in its own right — I lost count of the number of parts that went into building it — and it is impressive when complete.

The MT-LB has unique water deflectors rear of each track. These are given as PE and each comprises 18 parts and would be challenging to assemble as most of the pieces need to be bent to fit. It would have been nice if Trumpeter had provided plastic alternatives. Photos of operational vehicles show them to be removed or torn off in action. I chose this approach when building my model and left them off!

I painted my MT-LB with a combination of Tamiya and Ammo of Mig Jimenez paints. A color painting guide is included, but no information is provided about the camouflage options.

Decals are included for six of the eight options – two have no markings. These applied well on a gloss base with a bit of help from setting solution.

I completed my MT-LB in 55 hours. It was not a quick build as there are more than 1,300 parts, and it’s not a project for less-experienced modelers. On the other hand, if you’re a fan of modern Soviet and Russian armor, you will want to give this Trumpeter kit a try.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the October 2016 issue.


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