Type 98
Ref : Trumpeter #319
Tracks : Armour track models #TK05

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The Type98 MBT, which appeared in 1999, is the latest in the Chinese MBT family. It is also known as ZTZ-98 / WZ-123. The available data about this tank is still limited. Thus, the number of tanks already produced or planned remains unknown.
Its architecture compares to Russian tanks one with a crew of three.
Its main armament is a locally produced 125mm smoothbore gun resembling the 2A46 arming the T72/T80 families. It has a carousel autoloader and in addition to the classical rounds might fire DU rounds as well as the Russian designed A-11 ATGM. The fire control is coupled to a laser rangefinder and a wind sensor. Both the TC and the gunner have a day/night vision/fire capability.
The secondary armament consists of an AA 12.7mm MG and a 7.62mm co-axial MG.
The tank protection is ensured through a modular armor designed ott be easily replaced even in terrain conditions. The tank is fitted with a Laser warning system (the dome-shaped mast behind the TC cupola) associated to a Laser emitter (the box behind the gunner station). When a laser beam is detected, the turret is traversed to he dangerous direction and a high-power beam emitted to blind the enemy optics or guidance device.
The running gear is similar to the T72 one. The tracks are composed by either full metal links or rubber pad links. Its 1200hp engine is probably of Ukrainian design.

The kit issued by Trumpeter comes with about 240 parts, a clear plastic sheet for the vision blocks, a plastic mesh, vinyl tracks not suitable for a Type98, one screw and a screwdriver. It sometimes looks like a toy. In fact, its comprises the necessary arrangement to fit an electrical motor, a metal shaft for the sprockets, a switch under the floor and a hole for the screw in the entrenching tool under the bow which needs to be filled. The carving and the details are of an average level. The few available pictures don’t help making an accurate critique.
The 8-page instruction booklet is clear. It comes in 14 steps and presents a 4-view decoration scheme. The painting refers to the Tamiya range. The building doesn’t occur any major trouble.

The chassis is build with the idler and sprocket being replaced with Armour Track (ATM) ones. The fit is perfect. The kit tracks are set apart, the ATM set is of the separate links and connectors type and offers a high detail level. The hull is easy to build. Only the headlights guards need to be replaced with metal wire. The driver vision block is replaced by one from the spare parts box. The engine deck grilles are cut according to the issued template. The plastic ones could be replaced by others made from metal mesh.
The both halves assembly is secured through the released screw. Then the hole needs to be filled. An alternate solution is to sand the molded entrenching tool and to replace it with either a homemade one or one coming from a T72 kit.
The unditching log and its supports (C11-C12) are replaced by thinner parts or set apart.

The turret is the more demanding area. On the front face, the gun mantlet (designed to be moveable) presents gaps needing to be filled with putty. The triangular lifting eyelets are redone with copper wire. On the sides, the bin bars look oversized. They can be done with plastic strips.
The back of the smoke-grenades launchers has holes to fill. On the other hand, the launchers present nicely molded cap retaining chains.
On the roof, the TC cupola base lacks a protuberance easily seen on the pics. This will be done with putty. The 12.7mm MG is grossly molded and the ejection pin marks ill-located. So,it has been replaced by one coming from the Trumpeter Type 85 kit.
The gun tube is undersized. Its inner calibre is 3mm which for real makes only 105mm instead of 125mm. It may be replaced with an aftermarket 2A46 barrel.
One rolled blanket and the schnorkel are fixed to the bustle rack.

The camo is the one proposed by Trumpeter. However the markings designed for the October 1999 parade are not used.