Yup. A quickie sort kinda mini review of what is without a doubt a thoroughly essential tank for anyone who games Operation Barbarossa in 1/72 scale, so let's crank 'er up and get going here! Za, Rodina!
No, your eyes don't deceive you, there are Russian T-26 Model 1933 light tanks in 1/72 scale from Pegasus Hobbies all built and painted up real purdy ready to defy the invading Panzerwaffe head on (and no doubt go down accordingly!). Like all of the rest of the Pegasus fast build kits aimed at us wargamers, these come two to a box, and have a limited number of parts (15 per tank in this case), and are a real joy to assemble accordingly, with the added bonus that they don't lack for detail!
These complement the other two early WW2 Russian subjects released by Pegasus, namely the BT-7 fast tank and the BA-6 armored car (two examples of which can be seen in an earlier blog post defending Rodina from the fascistkuyu gadinu!). Just like the BT-7 and BA-6 (and all the other Pegasus fast build kits I've built for that matter), these little beauties went together in very short order, with the parts fitting with little or no trimming of flash or burs on my part.
The track and suspension assemblies are single pieces, and the model includes the added feature of separate turret hatches, so if you've some favorite 1/72 scale Red Army tank commander figures in early war garb laying about, you can add that sort of embellishment with ease.
The T-26 Model 1933 has already been the subject of other companies' 1/72 scale fast build kits to date. Miniarons of Spain started the ball rolling, and I must confess that while they may lack the level of detail of the Pegasus kit, they do include the added option of building a two-turret earlier variant as well as the more ubiquitous gun tank, so they fulfill an important early war niche as the Red Army still threw some hundreds of the twin turret variants into the Winter War and later during Operation Barbarossa.
The other competitor is S-Model from China, a new company that has delightfully focused mainly on Early War subjects, from a basic and command variant of the T-26 Model 1933, to Early War French AFVs, tanks and AFVs for the BEF in 1940, and the early war in the Desert and German Blitz through Poland and the West. They also released a T-35 multi-turret tank, but that's another review for another time...
Returning to the Pegasus Hobbies T-26 and the historical T-26 Model 1933, this handy little Russian development of the British Vicker 6 Ton Tank of the 1930s was widely exported to other countries the Soviet Union was trying to curry favor with (or use as proxies against their fascist antagonists). T-26 Model 1933 light tanks turned up in the Spanish Civil War on both sides, with the Republicans being sent many dozens of these then-potent little tanks and their Nationalist opponents using any and all T-26s they could capture or steal from the Republicans during the course of Spain's civil war. The Nationalist even offered a hefty bounty to their troops for any running T-26s they could bring in, so the Nationalist troops were doubly incentivized to capture working T-26s, as their own tank inventory was limited to machine gun armed Panzer Is and Italian CV33 tankettes, neither of which could cope with the 45mm cannon of the T-26 in tank-to-tank encounters.
China also deployed 100 of the T-26 Model 1933, a product of the brief cooperation between the Kuomintang government of Chiang Kai-shek and Stalin's regime. These were concentrated in the 200th Division of the Chinese Army, and were a crucial part of General Joseph Stilwell's army in the CBI during the retreat from Burma. Time and again the 200th Division fought desperate and largely successful rearguard actions against heavy odds, holding off the Japanese Army while their Western Allies could continue to extricate themselves from complete disaster at the hands of the relentless and otherwise unstoppable Imperial Japanese Army in 1941-42.
The Finns used captured T-26 Model 1933 light tanks during the Continuation War, and even the Germans used a few captured examples apparently, at least for rear area security duties against partisans.
I finished my first two Pegasus T-26 tanks in a basic overall drab green finish, as this was the most common scheme seen on Soviet tanks in general in 1941, and most specifically on the Model 1933s. Built in their thousands, exported everywhere from Spain to Turkey to China, serving on both sides during WW2, the T-26 Model 1933 was a typical interwar design, yet in a few ways was the precursor to the heavier, better armed combat tanks of the Second World War.
No early WW2 Red Army in 1/72 scale is really complete without at least a few of these ubiquitous little AFVs (and many Russian infantry divisions had a company of ten T-26 light tanks organic to their TO&E). This latest offering from Pegasus Hobbies is simply da bomb! I plan to acquire something like three dozen eventually, divided between the Spanish Republicans and Nationalists, the Chinese, and the Red Army for both Operation Barbarossa and the Winter of 1941/42. I'll probably add a couple for my Finns as well, once I get 'round to my long overdue Winter War project.
Highly recommended, so if you're in need of some basic, ubiquitous, meat n' potatoes armor support for your Red Army troops to defend the Motherland, these are your tin cans!