The PT-76 is a lightly armored, amphibious tank. Its Russian designation, PT (Plavajuschij Tank) is translated as Amphibious Tank. The PT-76 was developed between 1949 and 1951. It was adopted by the Soviet Army on 16 August 1952 and went into full production in 1953 at the Volgograd Tank Factory. There were over 12,000 total PT-76 tanks built, with approximately 2,000 for export. The PT-76 was formerly the standard reconnaissance tank of the Soviet Army. It was intended for reconnaissance, water obstacle fording operations, and Naval Infantry landings. Furthermore, the PT-76 is able to transport troops externally and support troops with its main gun during landing and establishment of beachhead operations.
The PT-76 main armament is a 76.2-mm gun with coaxial SGMT 7.62-mm machine gun. The first tanks were fitted with the D-56T Rifled Gun. It had no stabilization and this was one of the greatest disadvantages. Later it was replaced with the improved D-56TM (2A16) Gun.
The PT-76 was the first tank fitted with hydrojet engines to navigate in water. Water goes through the two inlet screens on the bottom of the hull and is ejected through the rear outlets. It is ejected at a high speed and creates a jet of water propelling the tank forward. It also has the ability to float in reverse and steers on water by closing the water ejection lid of the required side to turn.
The PT-76 was widely exported and participated in combat operations in Africa, Vietnam, the Middle East, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, as well as being used by most Soviet client states during the Cold War era.
This Trumpeter kit builds into an initial production PT-76 with the double baffle muzzle brake as seen on a howitzer, early style drive sprockets and some early turret features that distinguish it from later types. Trumpeter has captured these features nicely in the kit as well.
The kit comes nicely packaged in Trumpeterís standard, sturdy cardboard box with four sprues of grey plastic individually sealed in plastic bags and the upper and lower hull halves. The upper hull is also packaged within a cardboard insert to keep it from being damaged or scratched in transit. There is also a nicely molded pair of rubber-band tracks with crisp link details molded on both sides. Two small PE frets, a length of wire, a piece of string, a small decal sheet, nicely drawn instructions, and a color plate round out the contents.
The parts are molded nicely with minimal flash on a few pieces and most mold release pin marks in hidden places, with the exception of two prominent ones on the inside of the turret hatch. As long as you leave the hatch closed, they are not an issue. The quality of molding is high with fine details and smaller items molded separately for good definition.
The lower hull is nicely represented and has a fully detailed underside with access panels, weld seems, water intakes and other features replicated excellently. The road wheel arms are each molded separately and can be articulated to match rough terrain. The drive sprockets are nicely molded, but the teeth do not line up properly. To remedy this, round off the D-shaped key on the key on the back of the front half and line the teeth up visually or with the track as a guide. The road wheels are molded nicely with front and back details. The rubber tires have the standard Russian ribbing from the molding process, but as most models, they are way too prominent and should be sanded down to be just noticeable. On the inside, there are two water intake tubes so that the intakes and outlets for the water jets are not open to the empty hull interior. They do have a couple locating pins that will need to be sanded down for a smooth inner surface though.
The upper hull is equally as nice with finely molded details as well. Of note, the turret race on the hull is molded with gear teeth and no locking notches. This detail allows for super-detailing and turret removal if desired. Be careful if you do not glue the turret in place though, as there is nothing to hold it on. There are also separate hatches molded for the engine access hatches. These will allow an engine compartment to be shown if you scratch one, or a resin AM one becomes available. Two PE grills are included for the upper hull as well. The PE headlight guards are worth mentioning at this point as well. They are finely manufactured and well engineered in one-piece. With some good forethought, Trumpeter has molded bending guides for them onto the running gear sprues to assist in proper bending of the light guards. The remainder of the upper hull is pretty straight forward and equally as well molded.
The turret is just as nice with only the aforementioned release pin marks on the inner surface of the hatch, which isnít noticeable when closed. There is also a breach for the cannon that is pretty complete as well to help take up some of the empty space inside the huge hatch if you choose to leave it open. There is wire for the grab handle on the outside of the turret. Again, Trumpeter helps you out with a full-sized bending template in the instructions for it. The template makes it easy to get the correct shape of this piece. As with the hull, the remainder of the turret goes together without issues.
The decals are for two different vehicles. One is an unidentified Russian Green vehicle with turret numbers 491. The other is an unidentified Middle East version in a two-tone brown and sand scheme with Arabic numbers on the turret sides.
Overall, this seems to be a great kit up to Trumpeterís current standard of quality. It will build into a great kit straight out of the box with the included PE and wire grab bar to dress it up, and lends itself to some super-detailing if you wish. It is a great addition to any modern or Soviet armor collection and can be finished in any number of countries liveries since it is used all over the world.
EDIT: A full Build Review
is now available as well to compliment the initial In-Box Review.