Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The T-80B

Hello all,

I sincerely apologize for the long absence. Its been so long and I would like to thank Josh, my awesome wingman (Happy Belated Birthday Bro!), for taking the burden of doing a lot of the previous awesome articles.

As of now, I shall return with more Military Models. Since my Birthday is coming soon, I thought I would feature my first Airbrushed Model, The T-80B which is also Birthday present from my Little Sister, I decided to build it up and try my hand on airbrushing. Much to my amazement, I really enjoyed the experience, and with some fine tuning, highlights and drybrushing, this would be my best clean slate painted tank model ever. (Obviously, I am still learning, and there will be more to paint.)

T-80B on a rocky road

The T-80 entered service in 1976. While it is sometimes confused with the T-72, the T-80 is actually a design that is the improvement of the T-64 design. It also incorporated the T-72 in its built but do note that T-72 was just a complementary design and that the T-80 is mechanically different from it.

On the topic of assembling this T-80B, everything was simple and easy to do.

Airbrushing this kit was awesomely fun and it didn't take much to dry brush to give it great definition. Furthermore, this model kit was done using mostly airbrushing which am proud of.

The only issue I have is perfecting the assembly of tracks. Since making my last 1/72 Tank which was the Leopard 2A4, track assembly has been a real pain in the arse. However, I guess everything is a learning experience and through this assembling of the T-80, I have discovered a few ways to tackle the problem.

T-80B on Alert.

Two great methods of assembling the many pieces of tracks in the 1/72 Revell Model kit is using a Scotch tape for each side and lining the pieces up on the sticky side of the scotch tape and strapping it on top the sprocket wheel and track wheels before gluing them altogether.

Another method would be to glue the small track pieces on the sprocket wheel and glue that entire section with the large line pieces of tracks with it later. However, it is still harder than saying it. The alignment of the wheels must be well placed. If you want to know a more accurate picture of the assembly of this tank, the video below will be of great help as to what I am talking about in terms of assembling the tracks.

Courtesy of BasicModelling, a youtube channel that provides great Basic Model painting an Assembly.

The T-80B is armed with a 125mm Smoothbore 2A46-2 gun capable of firing AFPSDS and HEAT rounds. On top of that, one is iconic about the T-80 like most of the current Russian tanks is their ability to fire ATGMs from their gun. In this case, the T-80B fires 9M112 Kobra ATGM.

With a crew of 3 and an autoloader, the T-80 can travel 70km/h on road and 48km/h cross country. The range of the tank with external tanks is 440km.

However, much to my disappointment, the T-80B is past its prime by a long mile and there are several flaws that makes it not a very formidable weapon in a modern warfare scenario today.

Firstly, While it is an amazing work of Soviet War Machinery, it lacks the Reactive Armour that has become standard in all Modern Battle Tanks. In spite rectifying this with the Modified T-80U, the autoloader was also an issue which gave cause to the vehicles exploding upon hits from RPGs.

Secondly, the T-80Bs suffered from poor performance during the First Chechen war. 10.23% of the committed T-80Bs were damaged or destroyed. Furthermore, T-80Bs were not suited for urban warfare which limited its role to support for infantry during such urban scenarios.

Usually, I would end off with how this war machine is formidable and should not be messed with when faced with one. While I do like the look of the T-80B tank and the overall "Russian" feel to Armour, I find it hard for the T-80B to match up with any other current MBT that isn't from Russia.

So that is my question to put out to you all, Aside from T-80B serving its purpose as a powerful tank that prove to be a threat during the Cold War days, how is it relevant now besides being part of an undeveloped country's inventory?

Till next week, Cheerios!


  1. Wow, Not a bad effort on painting with airbrush for this T-80B. That is some great work there!

    Love how you took the shots too!

    In terms of the T-80B being relevant in tank battle now, I can say it still does hold its own. That is if it is modified to be the T-80U with its reactive armour.

    However, without that armour and in close combat situation, the T-80 will have lots of trouble against even M1A1s and Leopard 2A4, older versions of the Modern MBTs we see today.

  2. Great to see you back Jiaqi!

    That is a fine model kit you have done!! Amazed that your first try at airbrushing is pretty great!

    Totally agree with your viewpoint POI!

    The T-80 is design near the late 70s and made major production in the start of the 80s, but it was a little too late for its time and was soon replaced by better technological MBTs like the M1A1 in terms of superiority. And as you mention Jiaqi, its performance indicators were not very great.

  3. I would like to say that your T-80 Looks fantastic.
    It is a great paintjob and the drybrush effect looks fantastic too.
    Clean slate looks alright but I think if you made it more grittier, it would have looked more cooler.

    Nonetheless, for a first timer airbrush attempt, that is some great stuff.

    About the T-80, i feel it still remain relevant int he sense that, aside from the Western Europeans and North Americans. The T-80 will still hold some ground against other countries tank capabilities. Of course, some are not as developed as the USA or Western Europe. But I can say not all are under developed. If you were to put 1000 T-80Bs and sent forth it throughout Eastern Europe. There will still be much concerns. While performance of the Tank resulted in 10% casualties You got to realized that 90% were proven to survive.

    And that is my 2 cent worth.

  4. Great pictures and painting on the T-80.
    I might like to add that in terms of relevancy, it still packs a huge punch in terms of firepower. Just that its armor needs working on.

    Tanks were not made for Close combat urban environment. If the Russians add a TUSK survival kit for the T-80, I am sure it will fair better.

  5. Very good model build Jiaqi!
    T-80 still quite relevant. Ukraine's mainstay Tank is still the T-80

  6. That is a terrific job done for your T-80B Tank!!
    I agree with RedChina, A lil weathering could make it look even better. Regardless, top class fix man. Definitely a great class act!

    I only have to say in terms of T-80 relevancy, the T-80 is as good as it gets. It is just the urban warfare issue that plagues the T-80. Then again, it is not like the rest of the MBTs have no problems in Urban warfare.

  7. Based on the T080 Specs, i feel that it has enough armour and firepower to put some serious damage to any city. Even with M1A1s, they would still be of some threat.

    @RedChina and Nat, I think the clean slate looks pretty good without weathering.

  8. @RedChina

    Just to add onto the discussion here, You were saying that the performance indicator of 10% isn't that bad but you got to take note that during the First Chechen war, the Russians were far more superior than the Chechen and the T-80B was pretty advance. Their performance indicator was pretty poor during that time

    Therefore, despite 1000 T-80B being a big threat if they moved onward against western europe, if they do meet the Challenger 2, Leopard 2A6 and the Leclerc, They could be in for a big thrashing that would be way more than 10% casualties.

    1. I have no contest to what you have stated. However, in terms of relevancy, the T-80B can still put up a significant offense and defense against Modern MBTs like those you have mention. Casualties will be higher, but they won't be as irrelevant as the T-72 or for that matter redundant in a tank battle.

      Slapping on the reactive armour to make them the T-80U will only make them even more of a significant threat.