RFM T-80U, Cyprus Army

Calling finished on the nice new Rye Field T-80U. I bought some aftermarket Cypriot decals and recreated a Cypriot vehicle. It’s a bit different to what you see every day and I like that. The snorkel, ERA boxes and auxiliary fuel tanks are not fitted to the Cyprus tanks and the camo is a different pattern, and the effect is a cleaner, less cluttered build that is quite interesting to look at. They are the only NATO member to operate the T-80U and are actively pushing a programme to send these tanks to Ukraine and buying up surplus Israeli Merk IIIs instead.



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Build time was around 60 hours. The kit was your classic RFM tank - a lot of parts and most certainly not a weekend build but the fit, molding and engineering is second to none. Its just such a nice kit to build, it challenges you in a nice way, not in ways that make you want to shelve it and use lots of cursing vernacular!

The tracks in particular were just awesome. Two piece, no glue, just held on with rubber/vinyl track enders - they are workable and really look the part. It took less than three hours to assemble both runs. Genuinely superb! The build required a lot of studying reference photos and this was an interesting process, not least because the camo on each vehicle was broadly similar patterns but painted by hand so different from vehicle to vehicle. The photos also showed a lot of dust and mud as befitting Cyprus and its dusty, hot climate.

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There are four highlight layers on the base coat of green, four different washes/panel liner colours on there, three dust passes in different shades and some of the best chipping effects I’ve done. If you follow my builds you’ll know I really struggle with this so was quite happy with the effects on this one.

Acknowledging that modern tanks don’t really rust because they are well taken care of, I still think a tank that was delivered in 1996 (making it almost thirty years old) will have some scratches and worn effects, light chips and so on which I’ve tried to recreate here. The toughest thing in armour modelling is knowing when to stop weathering and I hope I stopped in time here. Just!

Is it my best work? It’s certainly up there, I think. I’ve stated to realize Meng, Tiger and RFM tend to bring out the best in me. My goal of making a show-worthy model is still some way off yet but the progress I’m making is very pleasing and this is a meaningful step forward to my eye.

Do you like it?

Let me know in the comments.

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Very nice!
Maybe a little heavy on the dark washes/shadows in panel lines and corners but this is just my personal taste in the matter.

Getting Merkava III would certainly be an upgrade compared to the T-80…

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Looks really nice. I agree with Uncle above about the dark wash, a brown wash might have looked better due to the lower contrast with the green.

The tracks and wheels look really nice with the shiny metal areas. And the mantlet cover canvas is also well painted.

If I recall correctly Cyprus operates two types of T-80 tanks with minor differencies. You could have added the snorkel, since the first ones delivered were Russian in service tanks I think. I used to remember all those details but now I need to do my homework again.

:+1: :+1:

On a side note,

Cyprus is only an EU member, not a NATO member. There was an arms embargo on them until recently, that is why they operate a mix of Soviet, French and even Serbian made weapons.

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Agree with you it looks a bit heavy on the black liner in some places!

Yeah, there’s a story there. I’m used to using Mig washes and as you probably know these can go on for 24 hours and come off fine with enamel thinner, no dramas.

I tried Tamiya black panel liner for this one as its a bit darker and I wanted to really try to make it pop. Put the liner down, left it for four hours, put the baby to bed and went back to find it was almost impossible to get off. Humbrol, 501 Abteilung and AK thinners wouldnt touch it, I ended up panicking and pulling out the hottest thinner I have - Mr Levelling Thinner. It only just got most of it off, but you can see where it has dried fully, and rubbing too hard will remove the clear coat and then you’ll be down to bare plastic before you know it so I had to be a bit careful. Suffice to say, lesson learned!

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Didnt know that, cool thanks for sharing.

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Always experiment with / learn to use / practice new products / techniques on some unimportant stuff first. It doesn’t have to be a model, any solid surface with small details will work as long as the base coat sticks to it. The old fashioned hard CD-cases have small and large surface details, they are usually made of styrene so more details from the scap box can be added. Use cracked/destroyed/discarded cases, don’t buy new CD’s just to get at the cases … thrift stores and second hand shops can be good sources for CD-cases. The unpopular music is usually very cheap, especially if the cases are broken and the CD has scratches.
Since they are styrene they can also be used as a cheap source for styrene for other purposes …

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Good tips, thanks mate. In this case I just about rescued it but will be more careful in future for sure!

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I almost ruined a paint job once, before I knew better.
I had painted with Tamiya acrylics ( the large jars), let it dry/harden
and then got the bright idea of adding a darkish wash.
German three colour camo on a Sd.Kfz. 234 Puma.
Hmm, that jar with turpentine that I wash my brushes in has a suitable dark brown tone to blend the dunkelgelb, grün and rotbraun together.
Thought led to quick action, slosh it on liberally with a big brush and spread it out.
Hmm, why does it feel as if the brush is sticking to the surface …

I barely managed to save it before the softened acrylics had been visibly damaged.
It dried out and hardened OK afterwards but it was scary for a while …
Lesson learned…

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Ouch! Its the sort of thing we only do once, right? :slight_smile:

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Once is a mistake.
Twice is being stupid …
:grin: :rofl: :rofl:

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Very nice. I didnt know the Cypriot army used T80’s. Very interesting and a really nice kit and build … So true about the dust out there, go off route and the dust kicks up most of the year, so the finish looks really good.

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Cheers mate, I was there last summer and couldn’t believe the heat and the dust up in the hills north of Paphos, amazing place.

PS - Trumpeter Faun SLT-56 Franziska and Tamiya Leopard 2A6 up next… they wont be so dusty. Might be a bit muddier though!

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Chris, I just spent four hours judging at the AMPS Internationals and I can confidently say that this model is certainly “show worthy”. You’ve got a good solid build there and an excellent finish. The tracks look great and the camo pattern is outstanding. If the wash\panel liner is too heavy in places, that would only be a .5 point reduction. Don’t sell yourself short, you’ve done a great job here.

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Chris, your T-80U is T-80U eye candy!

I didn’t know Cyprus had them, much less with an interesting camo pattern. I like your camo pattern and application. Makes me want to build the RFM kit as your T-80U is inspiring!

Happy to hear the tracks work well as I cringed after I opened the kit and saw the link end connectors.

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In case anyone is interested in doing one, Cyprus has changed to a single color camo recently

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Nice model but the Cypriot National Guard operate both the T 80U and T 80UK and do have all the ERA tiles normally fitted along with a large turret basket, I have not seen a photo without ERA, the national guard have also adopted a single colour for some of their T 80s




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Best me by seconds :joy:

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I have seen photos of tanks when Cyprus first got them without the ERA on the turret front for some reason

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Not saying it never happens, just most show them with

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Chris this model looks excellent! The finish is beautiful overall, the camo pattern is especially nice and the weathering is great.As far as your washes go, imho I don’t see anything wrong with it. I like to see a model that pops with shadows and highlights. It’s pretty much my style. And your model is definitely show worthy, no doubt. You’d definitely medal at AMPS or the local and regional shows that I attend I can tell you for sure.

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