Military observers from around the world watched as the Russian Army displayed a new family of combat vehicles at the 2015 May Day Parade in Moscow to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Great Patriotic War (World War II). These new vehicles represent a new approach to armament, survivability, and modular reuse of systems across platforms (similar to the failed Future Combat Systems was supposed to bring to the US Army). One of these tactical vehicles is the T-15 (in development referred to as Object 149) produced on the Armata platform. The T-15 is an infantry fighting vehicle that will replace the BMP and MT-LB should the type be produced in sufficient numbers. The vehicle is armed with a 30mm cannon, a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun, and four Kornet anti-tank missiles all in an unmanned turret. The vehicle is manned by a crew of three and can carry an additional nine soldiers.
Panda Hobby is producing the Armata and Kurgonets combat vehicles with this T-15 Armata being the first in the series. The kit is molded in green styrene and presented on nine parts trees plus eighteen trees molded in tan, one tree molded in clear, and one fret of photo-etched parts. Among the kit’s features and options:
Detailed suspension/drive train
Four-piece track links (see text below)
Nicely detailed hull with stowage boxes and defensive gear
Photo-etched grilles on the engine deck
ERA blocks on hull glacis plate
Detailed turret with ERA armor blocks
When I first heard about the three-piece track links, I had to grimace as we’ve seen track links where the guide teeth were molded separately and each link had its own separate pin. It was quite a relief when I saw these four-piece track links – the steel track link is two parts (track and guide tooth) and snaps together to the adjoining links. The two additional parts for each link are the track pads which will make painting and weathering of the tracks far easier.
The decals provide the stylized Russian star on either side of the parade vehicles.
The kit has some great details and possibilities. While the initial batch of vehicles are no-doubt undergoing trials and crew training, some of these might show up in a hot-spot such as Syria for ‘field trials’. The Armata series will look great on the shelf and on the contest table and I look forward to seeing the T-14 Armata which is the tank version with an unmanned turret coming soon from Panda Hobby.