Ref: Dragon#3505

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The T-80BV is the evolution of the early T-80. It entered production in the early 80's and equipped the Group of Forces in Germany as soon as 1984.
The T-80BV mounts the same 125mm 2A46 gun and autoloader as the T-72 family. It can fire the AT8 Songster antitank missile with a range of 4000m. The secondary armament consists of a 7.62mm coax MG and a 12.7mm NSVT MG mounted on the commander cupola.
Its survivability has been enhanced with first generation ERA bricks capable of defeating hollow charge rounds.
It has a crew of 3.

The kit is issued by Dragon and suffers from the lack of information available about this vehicle when it was manufactured. In the box you get 6 light grey plastic sprues and the lower hull as a separate part, a decal sheet and an instruction booklet.
The details and the molding are good considering the timeframe of its release.
The 8-page instruction booklet is clear enough and presents 9 building steps.

The build starts with the hull and the running gear. To prevent any roadwheel arms alignment trouble, Dragon have molded the arms on the hull sides that means you'll have to cut them if you intend to show the suspension at work. The rubber band of each wheel needs a thorough sanding to remove the molding seam. The tracks comes with length and individual links. The width is oversized so there may be some trouble when fixing the upper hull. On my kit, I didn't get any problem. The solution is to cut the outer side connectors or even omitting the upper links this being hidden by the skirts.

The turret requires some attention as the frontal ERA blocks are tricky to set in place. The gun mantlet seam needs to be remove carefully to avoid erasing the details. The gun itself is oversized like all the 2A46's represented in the Dragon T-72/80 range. You can replace it by any 2A46 currently available but which didn't exist when I build the kit in the early 90's.
The commander windshield needs some sanding and cutting to fit its cupola. The NSVT and coax MG muzzles are hollowed.

The hull ERA blocks are easy to set. The skirts are nicely molded and are quite realistic. The tow cables are replaced by some cotton thread. The unditching log is not glued as the part is badly cast. It would be better to use a piece of twig.

The decoration is the boring plain green with the decals from the box. You still can paint it in the 3-tone camouflage seen during the return from Germany to Russia. The weathering is done with some sand paint diluted with water. The vehicle is covered a couple of times with this mixture which finally gives a nice dust effect.

As a conclusion, this kit is not a great kit but is still the only one of an early T-80. With some extra work, a replacement barrel and new tracks (SP Designs have a set) it can be turned into a nice model.