Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Khurasan T-90 Tank - 15mm Scale

Khurasan's T-90A main battle tank
Another random painting entry to share - this time one of Khurasan's new 15mm Russian T-90A tanks.  I purchased a three-tank platoon of these models when they were released (earlier this year, I think).  Khurasan has recently made a somewhat halting entry into the ultra-modern 15mm sphere with this release, and the release of a US M1A2 Abrams and some ultra-modern US 15mm infantry.

An attempt at the more contemporary Russian AFV camo

I love tanks, and the T-90 is one of my favourite vehicles.  I really like the look of up-gunned, later model tanks - the late model Panzer IIIs and Panzer IVs, the IDF Super Shermans and upgraded Centurions are all good examples.  It speaks to the reality of limited resources on military structures - sure, you are always trying to get the latest and most modern stuff you can afford into your line units, but often the most affordable and/or quickly attainable thing to do is find a way to throw a heavier gun, another layer of armour, and after-market versions of advanced support systems onto the tanks you already have. Plus it just looks cooler.

Side view - the smoke launcher arrays are metal - thank god!
The Soviet/Russian tank lineup is full of these kinds of things. So many T-55s, T-62s and T-72s and T-80s have been built over the years, and found so much use, that you see a lot of tanks, whose design originated twenty, thirty or sometimes forty years ago (or more) still lumbering into action with updated guns, reactive armour packages, improved MGs, night-fighting kit and other bits all bolted on to the exterior.

QRF T-80BV for comparison

The T-90 is the penultimate example of this - essentially a T-72 maxed out with upgrades. Whatever the combat merits of all of these enhancements, it sure makes the tank look cool and spooky as hell.  The sharp angles of the reactive armour package on the T-90 look extra sinister, more so than the other up-armoured Soviet designs.  The contrast between the size of the overall vehicle and its 125mm main gun borders on 40k standards.  And the "Shtora" jamming system (the boxes to either side of the main gun) looks downright eerie - a Jawa face with a huge cannon.  I love this tank.

Of course, using this tank on the table calls for contrived situations, as it has never seen any action with the Russian Army (at least that I know of), or with any of the client states who have purchased it as an export or for local manufacture under license (I believe India is doing this).  The T-90 is not really part of any realistic Cold-War-Gone-Hot scenarios unless you do a good bit of what-if-ing.  I don't think any T-90s were ever deployed with the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany - I don't think it was ready by the time the Soviet Union collapsed.

QRF BMP-2D for comparison
The T-90 is an interesting topic in gaming circles.  A lot of us armour geeks assign it an almost mystical, Tiger-tank-like aura, given its rarity in actual deployment, its cool look, and a sense that something called "T-90" has to be like 18 times better than something called "T-72" and 45 times better than something called "T-55".  It is the hope for a level game with the over-powered NATO MBTs.  I doubt it truly is - after all, it is still, at its core, a 30-year-old design, no matter the sexy kit crammed into it and on to it.

On the other hand, comment forums involving the T-90 tend to fill with derision for any Warpac/Russian vehicle, and somehow seem to base this conclusion on the performance of T-72s in Syrian and, even more so, Iraqi hands. This comparison is delusional and simplistic. The T-90 is an upgraded T-72, but to assume it would fare in Russian action as well as the doomed Republican units of T-72s in the Iraqi army is just silly.

With some Eureka 15mm modern Russian infantry
The Khurasan model is...adequate.  It is certainly the finest 15mm T-90 you'll find, but also the only one. I know it is heresy to question Khurasan, but I found myself slightly disappointed with this - the resin body of the tank and the turret are detailed, but not as crisp as I would wish, to catch all of the various edges of the reactive armour plates. The metal bits are sooo nice - a reliably tough turret MG, and metal smoke launchers (thank god!!).  But the resin is not so crisp.  I feel like this could have been a little better...but I am probably the only one, however.  At least Khurasan is trying some modern stuff, and it fills a big gap in gaming demand for modern 15mm.  Lots of us have wanted a T-90 model, but this is the only one out there - it truly fills a hole.

The other challenge you might encounter would be using it for sci-fi.  The T-90 totally has the right look for sci-fi, but this model is very, very small next to other 15mm sci-fi armour, both from Khurasan's line and others.  Next to the Nova Respublik tanks, for example, this thing looks like a scout tank.  I don't think there is a problem with the Khurasan T-90's scaling - it's just that the other sci-fi tanks are big suckers.

I go nuts painting the lenses - probably too much - but I find they make the tank look more alive/active
I have two more of these models to paint, so I hope to round out the platoon for some "what-if" situations in 15mm modern gaming. Maybe Mike F can paint up some Leopard IIs to represent Canada's current ultra-modern armour contingent... 


Paulalba said...

Very nice Greg,
Just like the T34/122.

Fjodin said...

Nice review!

But the biggest mistake people make when speaking about Iraqi T-72, is they were EXPORTED models with weaker armor/equipment, poor crew and outdated Cold War era ammunition. Modern Russian T-72 are better armed and armored, with better equipment. Abrams is stil better, but modern T-72 are not that bad as Iraqi ones.

Also beat in mind that modern Russians have T-80 (T-64 lineage. Far better than T-72, but expensive) and cheaper T-72. T-90 was the afford to take T-72 hull but use T-80 turret and all latest developments.

T-90 is HEAVILY upgraded T-72. Its FAR more maneuverable than Abrams, have lover silhouette (better for ambushes), have gun close to NATO standards and can fire ATGM, so he can even shoot low flying copters. It still not as armored as NATO tanks, and the equipment and crew training may be better on NATO tanks, but T-90 still a deadly one.

Curt said...

Great post Greg. Even with its faults the model looks brilliant and you've done a great job on it. I need to get one of these in 1/50 scale...

Hazza31B said...

Beautiful work, Have to ask what colours did you use on it for the camo and also what colours did you use on the QRF T80.


Chris Stoesen said...

Nice tanks.

Greg B said...

Thanks guys!

@ Staz Matt - the colours were all from GW. I start with a base of black for both vehicles.

The T-90 gets Castellan Green undercoat, drybrush with Death World Forest. The grey/white splotch areas are Rakarth Flesh. A wash of Agrax Earthshade is applied. After it dries, I give another coat of base colours to the relevant raised areas (Castellan Green and Rakarth Flesh). A highlight of Elysian green is drybrushed on, and then the other bits (lenses etc) are finished. I applye the decals, then weather the tank.

The T-80 has a similar approach but a different palette. The green is Castellan Green highlighted with Death World Forest, but with no final drybrush of Elysian Green. The grey is Dawnstone, and the brown is Mournfang Brown. Agrax Earthshade is the wash once again.

Curt - a post-apocalyptic T-90 would be a real beauty on the table...

Kull said...

T-90 has NOTHING of the T-72 except perhaps a general resemblance of the hull, which, however, it's also been shortened and widened, so take that into account, the '90' denomination was chosen upon realization it was a completely new beast.

Arrigo "the Crazy" said...


I hate to spoil the fun, but the myth of 'monkey' models for T-72 is just a myth. It is true that 1991 Iraqi T-72 were not top of the line compared to Soviet (yes they were still soviet until the summer) top of the line but the 'export models' were not downgraded. As Zalog points out when they were first produced they were comparable, if not better than the contemporary soviet production models. But they were fixed in time. Iraq received a batch of T-72 in 1982 and another big batch in 1986. The tanks delivered were no comparable to the model coming into service in 1989 onward. The T-72G and M1 had several improvement over the soviet models in service in 1986. Remember that the T-72 was supposed to be the 'loser' in the MBT competition for the Soviet Army while for countries like DDR, Poland, and Czechoslovakia (another lost country) it was top of the line.

You have a point on Sabot rounds, they were not top of the line, but again comparing 1991 Iraqi T-72 and their ammo to contemporary T-72 is like comparing a Panzer IV A to a Panzer IV J, or an M48 vanilla to an M48A5. A lot of debates on the monkey models have been done comparing Iraqi model to later things and it was unfair. And they started when the russian industry tried to shift the blame when everyone was saying how crappy their tank were. Well if you ask me it was still a silly defence because they were saying that their stuff was great but the customer were receiving crappy models...

They were not weaker (this is a major MISTAKE) it is just a reflection of when they were exported, but to a certain extent the Iraqi T-72 were representative of the bulk of Soviet T-72 until 1988. Yes they did not have the missile fire capability, but it seems that the much touted missile fire capabilty is nothing to be proud of it. The Missiles are few, they are slower to load than the normal rounds (and we are talking of the crappy T-72 autoloader), and they required continuous guidance. Their capabilty to engage helicopters is not fully confirmed. The missile is not an AA weapon and I doubt its capability against helo is more than marginal.

Still the T-72 is not a crappy tank as someone want to believe it is just different than the M1. During Desert storm they laboured under several disadvantage and lets face it, they were model designed to cope with M60A3 and M1 vanilla not M1A1.

and as usual nice tank! Need some of them when Khurasan reopens...

Chris said...

I just ordered some Eureka Chechens, perhaps when I'm back we could throw down with your armour in the streets of Grozny.

Greg B said...

Hi Chris - I look forward to seeing your Chechens! I do have a merry column of Russian armour just waiting to wrecked on the streets of somewhere...

Kull said...

Anything Zaloga says is safe to be expounded as shallow and misinformed simply based on the fact that's...Zaloga!

Steve Zaloga is a hack who made a career shoveling propaganda and half-truths to a public of people whose knowledge of military hardware was based of laughable sources like the 'osprey' and 'born in battle' booklets which were nothing but NATO and israeli propaganda outlets