Ref : Dragon #3512
The T80U appeared in 1985 is
an evolution of the T80. It differs from the latter by a new
generation ERA named Kontact-5 which gives it the peculiar aspect
of the front glacis and the turret. Its improved fire control
enables the firing of the 9M119 Refleks ATGM instead of the Kobra
fired by the T80B. Its main armament is the 125mm 2A46 gun
associated to an autoloader.
The secondary armament comprises a 12.7mm NSVT AAMG and a 7.62mm coaxial MG. It is fitted with 8 smoke dischargers.
The crew is only of three men.
It is powered by a turbine engine but also has a diesel variant developed in Ukraine before the separation which fits now the MBT's produced in this country.
A command version is fitted with the ATGM protection Shtora system.
The kit is produced by Dragon and has been first released in 1992 which explains the flaws due to the lack of available data in this times. The instructions come in a 8 page booklet. The kit comes in 4 sprues, a separate hull, 2 sprues for the tracks and a decal sheet.
The detail is good however
Dragon made mistakes in the following areas : the rear deck and
the turret. MR Models and SP Designs issue upgrading sets.
The kit is built out of the box due to the lack of available data mentioned above when the kit was released.
The building follows the instructions order. The hull is built without any major trouble. It has the same elements as in the early T80 kit issued by Dragon under the reference #3505. The running gear is easily assembled. The tracks come in lengths and individuals links for the sprockets and the idlers.
The upper hull gets the front armor plate and the rear deck issued as a separate part. Unfortunately, the latter is wrong as easily seen on the excellent reference book about the T80U published by Concord. It is more suitable to the T80UD version with the diesel engine. The headlights protections are enhanced and the fenders thinned.
The turret has the rubber protections which give it its so characteristic shape. The roof add-on armor is casted on the turret which decreases the realism. The AAMG is of the remote controlled type which is wrong for a T80U. Dragon should have issue 3 pedestal mounts located in front of and behind the TC station.
Like with the whole range of T72 and T80 kits, the gun is oversized. It may be replaced by one issued by Modelpoint or Eduard.
The wiring of the smoke dischargers is done with lead wire.
The decoration is the one proposed by Dragon and looks like the MERDC camo used by the US army in the 80's. The shades used in the Tamiya range are the following : Olive Drab XF62, Dark Yellow XF60 and Black XF1 .
Despite its errors, the Dragon kit is the only one available with the new generation ERA. The kit issued by SKIF is more accurate as far as the shapes are concerned but still have the former ERA.