Soviet T-12, 1929

I will squeeze this in here as it is from 1929 so in theory I’m within parameters for the topic.

This is a 1:16 scratch build in steel of an interwar soviet T-12. Started early 2020, finished before Christmas although work is still ongoing a little.

The T-12 was a medium tank designed in the late 1920s which didnt get much past the prototype, rapidly being replaced by the T-24. The Soviets had captured a bunch of British Mk V tanks from the White Army and used them in various roles until the early parts of WW II. The Artillery Directorate of the Supplies Directorate indicated that the T-12 was viewed as a replacement for these Mk V tanks and would be employed in a “breakthrough” and “manouver” role. 30 tanks were approved in the tank program for 1929/1930. One tank was trialled in late 1929 and early 1930 and by the following year there is no further mention of the T-12 with all emphasis having shifted to the T-24 which retains much of the design characteristics of the T-12 indicating that it must have performed very badly during the trials of 1929.

I wanted to build one as it has a nice suspension system, PzIII tracks should do a passable job of working and it has a whole load of rivets which I think look sweet. Plus you don’t see too many of them and I have a fondness for tanks which have features that can be traced through to designs used even until the end of WW II and later.

There seems to be some confusion as to what the T-12 looked like exactly - primarily it seems to be confused with the T-24 a lot (with which it shares many features).

Th epicture below shows the Hobby Boss T-12 kit which may be the only one easily available. But comparing this to “technical” drawings from Russian enthusiast sites…it obviously is not the same T-12 or at least the one most enthusiast sites view as a T-12. Its totally different in many respects. I thought at first that the Hobbyboss kit was actually a T-24 (Which was the version that appeared very quickly after the T-12 concept got scrapped) but it doesn’t even seem to look like that either.

I’ll be working on the one in the left of the picture.

Aside from the major superstructure differences between the HobbyBoss kit and published drawings there are also discrepancies in relation to some aspects of the road wheels mounts, the number of machine guns and the rear sprocket, the rivet patterns and some other things.

To the best of my knowledge the drawings version of the T-12 is the one the designers drew up - the prototype that got built looked different for a whole number of reasons (interwar Soviet design and manufacturing being haphazard at best) and seems to be the one Hobbyboss used for their model. One of the Russian sites states that "A prototype of the T-12 tank was assembled at the KhPZ by mid-November 1929. At first, it was planned to test the vehicle at the plant by the end of the year, and then, after eliminating the shortcomings, submit the tank for general tests, which were planned to be carried out in early 1930. But it took a month and a half to prepare the T-12 prototype only for the factory runs. It should be noted that the built sample was very different from the project. Its body has become longer, the chassis and power plant have been changed. "

Whats even more annoying is that there are some pictures of a tank that looks very like the designers actual plans. One of them is a wooden model from the time, the other is a typical interwar “representation” of their design and the third is a grainy shot of what appears to be a prototype following the designers original plans.

The next picture shows what appears to be an actual photo of the designers version of the T-12. Whats problematic is that the photo is sometimes labelled as a T-24, as in the bottom picture. Which it clearly isnt. The T-24 turret has a rounded back and the T-24 tracks did not reach as far up the hull as the T-12 tracks. So whatever that photo is of, it isn’t a T-24 and it more resembles the designers T-12 (the track layout being a giveaway).

For the purposes of my model…I’m sticking with the designers plans for the T-12. I dont like the Hobbyboss version even if it was the one that eventually got built and I have a decent print of the designers version to work from.

Im using 1.2 mm sheet steel, brass where necessary and aluminium if needed. I had an old set of cheap Tiger gearboxes and I’m hoping they fit. I have a set of Pz III plastic tracks and a sprocket which I will use too. If it comes together I will get metal tracks just for completeness. Silver solder and nuts a bolts for the fixings.

All the pieces were marked out on one large 1.2 mm sheet and cut out with a jigsaw. These were then filed to shape and any cutouts or whatever made.

And once all the shapes were made, I filled the creme brulee torch with gas and set to work solderingthings.

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The hull bottom was no issue at all. Drilling all the tiny holes was a tedious business but it only had to be done once and I kinda got in the zone and just went at it.

Then I tackled the turret which is really just a lot of flat pieces formed into some kind of dod…hex…hepta…something…hedron.

Slowly all the pieces were in place. Then I made the other turret using a chaep aluminium petrol cap which I filed to shape and drilled in the right places.

That was then attached to the main turret and with that… the main superstructure was completed. I added a cannon and some machine guns from brass bar stock.

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Then I started on two aspects - the side tow loops and the suspension system.

First the tow loops. I simply made these from bits of brass and steel and silver solder.

The suspension is a weird thing - an external vertical tube containing a spring which mounts to the wheels and with a shaft holding the return rollers on top. Fabrication is therefore just a series of tubes and rods.

First I made the spring holder tubes from brass bar and tube stock.

Then there is a cap on the top of these tubes to retain the spring inside. I made these from steel rectangles and used a filing button to get the curve. Not perfect but I doubt the original tank was either so I will live with it.

Then I made the wheel support from some 5 mm steel bar stock. This was just drilling and tapping.The wheels were slices off some aluminium rod stock with “tires” cut from a delrin tube and pressed on. The tires were then “dulled” to look rounded with a sanding sponge.

Then I made the return rollers with asome brass round stock, delrin tires and some steel bar all soldered to the spring retaining cap.

Then I nearly lost an eye trying to stuff springs in them. It tool a few tries to get the right sized spring.

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The idlers were just bit circles of aluminium with some bling on them and delrin tires again.

Th exhausts were simply brass tube stock and bar. The track tighteners (non functional ) were similarily made.

The sprocket was from a Pz III I purchased along with two sets of plastic tracks. The speocket is not fully correct but there seems to have been some variation in what is depicted and I was loosing the will to livee at this point after putting in all those rivets.

Then I put in a set of gearboxes.

Then I finihsed off the bits and pieces on the rear engine deck.

Then I assembled the whole thing.

I also need the track spanner or whatever the tail at the back was. I made this from steel shapes silver soldered together and rivetted to the curved bit.

And with that it was essentially finished.

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After all that I tidied everything up, gave it a bit of a clean and here it is next to a Stug III and a Japanese Tiger for scale. The ride height is a bit high but thats because I have no electronics or batteries in it which should sink in a bit.

I was quite pleased with it in the end. its gimpy looking but has that interwar try-everything-and-see-what-works steampunk elegance.

There are things I would do differently but I will know for the next time!

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