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Armor/AFV: Modern Armor
Modern armor in general.
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T-15 Armata Build Blog
LeoCmdr
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Posted: Sunday, March 12, 2017 - 11:18 AM GMT+7
At the front left of the turret we again see a sensor array (parts E5 and E36) attached in the instructions. My references only show mounting bolts in this area so bear that in mind with a parade/demo T-15 rather than an operational T-15. That being said I have seen the front and rear side sensors mounted on the Kuganets-25 turret so I know that they can be mounted.

With all this firepower on an unmanned turret you need optics and sensors. The Bumerang-BM turret does not disappoint in this manner. There are two large optics boxes that attach to the turret. One is on the forward part of the turret to the right of the auto cannon. The other is mounted to the left of the mantlet inset on the turret. Each box consists of three parts. The good part is the assembly matches the actually seams on the real boxes. There are thirteen optics ports between the two boxes. Sights, range finding Day sights, thermal sights, lasers for range finding, lasers for tracking….it has it all. The sensors on the real T-15 have a futuristic golden metallic sheen that is likely produced from anti-laser filters. In my opinion Panda missed a great opportunity to include some type of golden reflective decals or stickers to maximize the detail of all of the visible optics. I’ll be looking at options to replicate this effect when I get to the finishing stage.

The rest of the turret details include some lifting eyes, another sight or sensor head on the front of the turret, access hatch grab handles, and a PE grill on the right side of the turret.

In regards to the level of the detail on the turret itself there are visible raised bolt heads and they match the patterns on the real turret. Hinge details are acceptable as well. The moulded grab handles might be suited for replacement with thinner wire or brass rod. There are only four of them so not a big chore.

Step 20 in the mandatory plopping of the turret on the hull. Model companies want to make sure you place the turret where it should actually go.
Voila! The T-15 Armata from top to bottom and then some.
I am excited to actually start putting blade to plastic and get on with building this beasty.

Now, I could build it out of box and be done with it. However, Voyager Model has released a couple of sets that will add some additional details to the Panda T-15 Armata kit. Let’s take a look at the detail sets as the build begins.






LeoCmdr
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Posted: Sunday, March 12, 2017 - 11:40 AM GMT+7
Here is an image showing the kit Kornet missile covers and approximately where the bend line should be.

There is a distinct line of bolts that are visible that are an indicator as to the bend location. It is still a bit of a crap shoot without a defined reference point.



The real T-15 Armata Kornet missile pod covers showing the bends and curves of the cover. Note the visible bolts on the side piece.

LeoCmdr
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Posted: Sunday, March 19, 2017 - 09:28 AM GMT+7
It is hard to deny further detailing this very big kit. Voyager Model has released three aftermarket sets applicable to the Panda T-15 Armata. I will be using two of them.

The first is Voyager Model PE35829. This is the basic set designed for the Panda T-15. The set consists of PE parts, metal barrels, plastic rod, and thin wire.

Using this set will increase the level of detail of the kit. The metal barrels alone enhance the look of both the 30 mm cannon and the coaxial machine gun. The Kornet missile pod covers are tackled by Voyage with two piece PE covers that will allow better bending and better positioning that the kit versions.

Other additions include the front hull tow cable brackets that will greatly improve upon the basic parts supplied in the kit. The soft kill launcher pods get new covers with additional details.

The plastic slat armour in the kit is replaced by a PE slat section that more accurately represents the thin slats. Also on the rear hull are add-on armour panels and brackets for towing shackles and spare track links.

On the upper hull the hatches get some additional detailing as well as new PE periscope covers. There are also large fender cover plates provided in PE.

The turret gets some other minor tweaks in the form of brackets that were either absent in the kit or were soft in detail.

Overall a nice little set to enhance the kit details and to provide some details that were missing in the kit. Give the fact that the Panda kit already includes a variety of PE parts combining the two will provide you will lots of ability to detail this kit.

Here are some pics from Voyager showing their PE set on the T-15 Armata.














There is another set, PEA391 that provides PE end connectors to details the kit tracks. I opted not to use the set in this build.

LeoCmdr
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Posted: Sunday, March 19, 2017 - 09:37 AM GMT+7
The second set I will be using is Voyager Model “Bright Series” BR35134. This set is actually designed for the Takom T-14 Armata MBT and includes replacement headlights and a variety of other small lights. The lights on the T-14 and T-15 are unique looking ten halogen type light set up in a trapezoid shape housing. The Panda kit provides the lights as clear plastic. In real life they have much more of a reflective look. The Voyager set can be used as a replacement for the kit lights. Strangely in the Voyager instructions it lists BR35163 as a recommended set but I cannot find that set in their catalogue. Perhaps this will be a future dedicated light set for the T-15 kit.



The real headlights...note the unique look...

ColinEdm
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ARMORAMA
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Posted: Sunday, March 19, 2017 - 04:04 PM GMT+7
An interesting subject that you are going all out on Jason, looking forward to seeing how it turns out!
LeoCmdr
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Posted: Sunday, April 02, 2017 - 02:42 PM GMT+7
Much needed progress has been made on this build!

Starting at Step 1 I assembled the idler wheels, the road wheels, and the drive sprockets. The details are nice but the road wheels need dedicated attention to get them closer to accurate. The road wheels have a seam running down the middle...a mould seam...that creates a groove around the entire circumference of the road wheel. This is not accurate. So, I had to sand down each road wheel (inners and outers) in order to attempt to remove the groove. A very boring and tedious task that should not have to happen if the Panda mould had been created differently.

The road wheel arms also need cleanup at the sprue attachment points. An easy enough task as they will hardly been seen once the hull is assembled completely.

I found the plastic on all parts a touch soft making sanding and basic blade work a bit of a chore. I am not sure if all Panda kits are like this.

The road wheels and idler wheels using a hard plastic poly-cap type insert to allow the arms to attach to. I found that the road wheel inners and outer snapped together snuggly without any glue at all.

The arms for the idlers are designed to be glued in place. There is no other way that they will stay as the fit is very loose. The end of the arm is hexagonal with which into a female opening on the lower hull. The instructions are not clear to me exactly the angle they should go. This is very important as the positioning will directly impact the track tension. Perhaps Panda meant for this to be in order to give the modeller some flexibility when attaching the indy link tracks. I guess I will see later on.

The road wheels arms fit very loosely in the hull mounting holes. If you are going to glue them straight off I would recommend dry fitting the road wheels so that you get perfectly flat positioning in the surface of your choice. I left all the arms dry fitted as well as the road wheels and they all sit flush on a flat surface.

A variety of other small fittings are attached to the lower inner hull during assembly. All of which will not be seen once the side skirts are fitted. I did not attach any of the front tow cable parts as I plan to use the parts from the Voyage Model set later on.

The instructions have you add more parts to the lower hull including the tracks in Steps 2-5. Then you assemble the entire upper hull in a variety of other steps before attaching the upper and lower hulls. This is great in the ideal world but gluing two big parts with many little parts attached is a recipe for disaster.

I skipped to Step 6 and prepped the underside of the upper hull with several parts including the exhaust outlets and a couple of clear periscope inserts.

Then I skipped to Step 10 and attached the upper hull to the lower hull to provide a better platform for the rest of the assembly. There was noticeable flash on certain areas of the upper and lower hull parts but it was removed using some elbow grease.

The two main parts mated well together and I noticed no warping of either part. There aren't really any locating pins or ridges but it is pretty easy to figure out how the parts should go. The only area that I noticed that might need a touch of filler is on the bottom of the rear hull storage boxes...as it might be seen by a snoopy modeller or judge once complete.

With the hulls together the fun can begin with adding all the details of the kit and further detailing with the Voyager Model set.

She's gonna be a biggin'!























LeoCmdr
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Posted: Sunday, April 09, 2017 - 11:44 AM GMT+7
Construction of the hull continued with not exactly following the instructions.

I prepped and added the following parts:

1.Soft Kill launchers on the hull rear and hull sponsons.

I combined the kit plastic parts with the Voyager Model PE parts. The Voyager PE parts are far superior to the kit PE parts. The kit PE parts are thick and would be very difficult to get the proper rounded curve to the front launcher covers. The Voyager parts bend like warm butter and shape easily.

2. Hard Kill launchers on the hull sponsons.

These parts are not difficult but they need lots of attention to properly remove seam lines. The positioning is parallel to the hull when attached. There should be no angle from what I can see in reference images.

3. The right rear hull sponson stowage box and bin.

a. The box is no problem to prep and attach.

b. The open bin is moulded very nicely as far as detail. I was impressed with the part…except it is so fine the bars were partially broken and there is an over abundance of flash to carefully trim off in between the bars.

c. I used the Voyager PE cover to add to the rear quarter of the open bin. Tie down loops will be added later on.

4. The PE engine grill covers in the kit are very good. I used them as I did not see a need to used the Voyager parts.

5. A variety of other small parts were added to the upper hull using kit plastic and PE parts as well as some other Voyager PE parts.
There is a lot more to add to the upper hull over the next installments.











LeoCmdr
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Posted: Sunday, April 16, 2017 - 12:54 PM GMT+7
I was able to add more details to the upper hull. The progess is slow going as the plastic is less than desirable for trimming and sanding. The softness of the plastic for sure impedes cleanup.

On the rear hull I added the tow shackles, spare track links, dry fitted the rear ramp, the rear facing detection system, and the upper hull stowage bins.

I ran into a major snag on the upper rear hull. I had previously attached a beam that runs across the top gap for the rear ramp. It cleaned up nicely and fit very well. When I went to attach the left upper bin it would not fit. The instructions are not clear on the placement of the beam and there is in fact a slightly alternate position a touch lower. I had to pry out the beam, reposition it, and then cobble together some plating to cover the glue residue. It works as a solution...but clearer instructions would have eliminated this issue.

I used several of the Voyager set PE parts on the rear hull as well including the armour plates which are crisper that the kit parts. A variety of bolts and grab handles still need to be added to the rear hull.

On the front hull I added more sensors. Two oppositely angles sensor boxes over the hard kill launchers and another sensor in between the hatches. This sensor cover as well as the ones on the hull sides and hull rear will all have small PE wire retainers added later one.

There are definitely lots of small details to add to this very large vehicle...and that takes time. I am hoping to build and attach the hatches next installment.











hugohuertas
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Posted: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 11:47 AM GMT+7
I almost missed your update.
Great job so far with this hard bone, Jason!

Anyway, you helped me to decide to pass from this kit -as happened to me with almost every Panda kit available-.
I hate their plastic -I have their Cougar 6x6 kit, so I know what I'm talking about- and the lousy and frequently confusing instructions.
Hope other manufacturer/s (Zvezda perhaps?) will release this vehicle in the future.
But I will keep following your work with interest!
ArtyG37B
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Posted: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 12:07 PM GMT+7
Jason, can you put something beside it to give size perspective?
flugwuzzi
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Posted: Wednesday, April 19, 2017 - 08:10 AM GMT+7
Great work Jason!
LeoCmdr
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Posted: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 11:24 AM GMT+7
Thanks for the comments Gentlemen. This kit looks good on the sprues and becomes more and more challenging simply from basic fit issues as it proceeds.

I talked the hull crew hatches this installment.

There are three crew hatches. The driver and commander's hatches are open. The gunner's hatch is moulded closes. This makes sense since the gunner would likely be hatches down the entire time to control the remote turret.

On the driver's hatch I used the Voyager PE periscope covers as they are much more realistic than the kit plastic versions. The interior hatch handle in the kit is provided in plastic with flash present in many locations. It was simply replaced with a wire handle.

I have to say I am not a fan of the clear periscopes or vision blocks provided in this kit and other kits. To me, they are gimmicky. The detail is extremely hard to make out with the transparency and a hassle to mask during painting. Realistically the clear glass look is not even appropriate for modern AFVs. The driver's hatch was positioned locked up at a slightly rearward angle. This is accurate according to reference images. Panda missed a detail on the driver's hatch. On the right bottom inside of the hatch below the right periscope there should be a rod that runs at an angle from an attachment point on the hatch to the hull to the right front of the driver's hatch opening. It is hard to tell if this is simply a hold open rod for the hatch or part of a piston for raising and lowering the hatch. Either way it is missing and I will be adding it.

The commander's hatch is simpler and again I replaced the interior handle with wire. It also is positioned slightly to the rear in the locked open position.

The commander's and gunner's hatches both have clear periscopes to add to the hatch ring area prior to hatch rings being added. They are a horrible fit and I had to trim almost everyone after glue was applied in order to get the hatch ring to fit. I am not happy with the positioning or the fit and might try to replace some of them with simple plastic sheet.











I'll get an image posted showing the size compared to a 1/35 figure as soon as Photobucket stops acting up!
panamadan
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Posted: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 11:38 AM GMT+7
such a long nose-how does the driver see over it?
dan
LeoCmdr
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Posted: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 01:22 PM GMT+7
Here you can see the size compared to a figure.

Consider as well there is another nose armour component to be added and the armoured side skirts to make it even bigger.

LeoCmdr
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Posted: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - 01:10 PM GMT+7
There were multiple other little parts to add to the upper hull to finish up the details.

The lifting hooks are refreshingly provided in PE in the kit and bend and fit very well.

The rear door has four supports for the slat armour panel to attach to in order to provide the standoff distance. The instructions are poor with respect to the placement of the right side supports which are angled when attached and look like hatch handles rather than supporting mounts in the instructions. I opted to go with the kit slat armour.
Voyager Model provides a full replacement panel in PE. I am a bit skeptical if a true untarnished square could have been created to represent a parade ready T-15 Armata.
With the door / ramp details added the slat panel needed some minor adjustments to sit properly. The entire sub-assembly was then attached to the rear hull. It is not designed to lower or raise.

I added a thick and thin cable to the rear driving camera/viewer as they are prominent in reference images. The rear hull tow cable was also added. The instructions provide an assembly process that has you build the entire cable with ends and sliding mounts over the cable for the middle. I found it simpler to attach the six mounts to the hull locations and let the glue dry. I then added one end to the cable and let it dry. I then measured the length of the cable needed and made the cut. I then fed the cut end of the cable through the mounts and attached the other tow cable eye. When the glue was set I attached the eye to the mounting location. There should be very little slack in the cable and they appear overall taught and tight in reference images. This is not a WWII T-34 with a wildly snaking tow cable.

The final step was to attach the PE tie down loops to the right hull side bin. They are tiny!

Next up will be the side skirts to further bulk out the T-15 and the additional nose armour to make this AFV even longer!










LeoCmdr
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Posted: Saturday, May 27, 2017 - 10:39 AM GMT+7
The side shirts consist of large armour modules and flexible lower dust skirts. Several attachment points require cleanup which is a challenge with this soft plastic. Three additional parts (Back support, frame, and small armour module are added to the main large side skirt parts.

The skirt assemblies attach to the hull sides with only four small pins. This is sufficient for the ends but in the middle of the skirts when looking from the top down the back side of the modules you can see small locator pins. A dab of glue on each one and then sandwiching the hull until dry provided a much more appropriate fit of the side skirt components.

There are small angled supports that attach from the hull side to the rear of the frame. The instructions have you add these before the side skirts are attached. I chose to do it after for more accurate positioning.

I placed the drive sprockets on the mounts before attaching the skirts. They are free to rotate but they cannot be removed. This should not be an issue for adding the tracks or for painting.

With the side skirts in place you can really see the T-15 bulking up.











LeoCmdr
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Posted: Sunday, June 04, 2017 - 08:43 AM GMT+7
A few more build updates to flesh out the front hull.

The pointy glacis plate armour was assembled but not directly added as details were required on the bottom and top.

The T-15 Armata carries a second tow cable on the lower front of the hull. This was assembled and attached the same way I did the rear one...but not quite following the instructions. Attaching all the mounts to the lower front hull first allows for a stable platform to feed the copper cabling.

There are four (two top and two bottom) mounting slots for the frontal armour to attach to the front hull. They are not precise and dry fitting for sure is required to make sure you have it aligned and sitting properly.

On the lower front hull there are also two components attached. I have read that these are counter IED systems but I cannot confirm. They appear to be hinged in reference images and have grab handles. They don't have the same look as small manual dozer blades. I replaced the chunky plastic grab handles with wire versions.




LeoCmdr
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Posted: Sunday, June 04, 2017 - 08:57 AM GMT+7
Moving to the top surface of the add-on armour I attached the headlight parts...almost all of them.

The cages are fraught with flash and need to be handed gently to sand and cut it away...what a pain.

The kit headlights are simply provided as clear plastic parts. The actual headlights on the T-15 are mutli-lens lights. Voyager Models has a small light set designed for the Takom T-14 Armata and I adapted it to this kit.

PE headlight guards from the Voyager set were added to the kit lights. I had to sand down the kit parts in order for them to fit snuggly.

There are also multi-lens lights and an outer frame that is provided in the Voyager set and I'll add these during finishing.

On the front hull sponsons I added the Voyager Model PE parts to provide an extra level of 3D detail. The parts bend and fit to the hull sponsons without issue.

On the real T-15s there are downward angled exhaust deflectors on the hull sides. They are not included in the kit. These details cannot be seen as they are covered with an angles armour panel. Unless you look "upskirt" under the panel you will never see the area. I have seen one image with the deflector not attached and so I was not worried about the missing detail.











LeoCmdr
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Posted: Sunday, June 04, 2017 - 09:33 AM GMT+7
The final components on the front hull are the angled side panels. These panels protect the engine exhaust areas from top attack or shrapnel.

The kit parts attached without any major issues. The fit is not perfect and they should align with the frontal armour protrusions...they do not. I had to add some small plastic strip shims to snug it up. On the bottom side three support struts are added in defined locations.

The T-15 hull totally takes on a Hammerhead shark appearance and by looking at the size of the hull compared to the hatch openings you can clearly see this rivals Main Battle Tank size.

I have some other minor details to added to the rear hull and to the upper hulls sensors then it will on to the turret. I will deal with the tracks at the end of the build.









hugohuertas
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Posted: Sunday, June 04, 2017 - 09:45 AM GMT+7
Great job so far, sir!
Maki
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ARMORAMA
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Posted: Sunday, June 04, 2017 - 07:24 PM GMT+7
It is always great seeing your build logs. A wealth of information and amazing photos. Very clean build, superb job so far.

Keep us updated!

Mario
abrosimi
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Posted: Tuesday, June 06, 2017 - 01:10 AM GMT+7
Excellent build! Pleased to be surprised by the interest in Russian tanks.
flugwuzzi
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Posted: Tuesday, June 06, 2017 - 03:24 AM GMT+7
Excellent work with lots of useful information.
LeoCmdr
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Posted: Sunday, June 11, 2017 - 05:31 AM GMT+7
The hull build has been finished off by adding a variety of PE and plastic bolts to the rear hull and front hull add-on armour panels.

I have purposely left off the rear mounted idler wheels and mounts until the tracks are assembled. The rear idler mounts are octagonal shaped but don't just fit in one location in the hull holes...odd. This can result in misplacement if you were to just glue them in place according to the instructions.





On to the remote turret!
hugohuertas
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Posted: Sunday, June 11, 2017 - 05:46 AM GMT+7

Quoted Text

The rear idler mounts are octagonal shaped but don't just fit in one location in the hull holes...odd. This can result in misplacement if you were to just glue them in place according to the instructions.



Why doesn't it surprise me from Panda?