Soviet Ball Tank
By Gill Gonsoulin
Miniart’s Soviet ball tank is supposed to be the first in their “What If” series. At first it looks like it would be a fun build, however that’s not the case. The first thing you’ll notice is that from its size it would be difficult to put five people into this tank. Kind of like a circus clown car. And if you could put five guys in it there would be some serious issues for the crew. With the doors closed, how could they breathe and how could air get to the engine? Also the driver has particularly no vision. The kit will need some serious modification to make these corrections.
My first modification to it was to add the skis. This did two things: it allowed me to put it into a snow diorama and it gave the tank better stability than the original two small wheels. The skis were made from Evergreen plastic’s sheet, square, and angle shapes. Next, I addressed how to get air in and exhaust out. I went to the spare parts box and found two pieces of photo etched that could be used as a vent. These were placed on the tank’s front, just below the drivers view port. For the exhaust I drilled a hole on the back side just below the radiators vent. The pipe is plastic tubing.
On the inside I started by adding an instrument panel and a radio. The kit had only one interior light, so again, from the spare parts box came four replacement ones. An antenna mount was placed on top of the tank.
Now to the kit’s assembly. Putting the interior together is a real bear. It’s a complex task to say the least. The locator pins to attach the top three cross members to the outer rings are OK. However those on the lower one with the engine aren’t that good. You need to be careful here because if it’s not on correctly the seats frames will be out of alignment. I replaced the drivers vision ball with a clear plastic disk.
The balls that hold the guns are tricky. You’ll need to make the holes they go into bigger because they have to be movable in order to mount the weapons. The canons are difficult to build and mount. The model was painted flat white on the outside and sand on the inside. It was weathered with Windsor Newton oils.
Photos by Jeff Junker