I recently bought a Zvezda 1/100 T-72 and a 1/100 BTR-80 on eBay. I also bought their 1/100 Abrams when I accidentally bid on the wrong tank kit through a combination of sausage fingers and a slow mobile internet connection, but that one will have to stay in its box for now.
Zvezda's initial batch of 1/100 modern kits has come in for a fair bit of stick. Unfairly so in the case of the T-72, I think. Here's the assembled kit, mounted on a bit of plasticard:
The omission of turret guns is a real shame but I can live with it. I shall just make my own eventually. Many of the other 15mm Soviet/Russian vehicles on the market are out of date anyway, so I have already resigned myself to scratchbuilding various weapons to modernise the BMP-1s I have here for my Chechen war scenarios. I think this lack is more than made up for by the general high quality of the kit. The edges are sharp and square, the detail is clear, and the parts fit together well. After spending a looooooong time assembling a dozen metal Soviet tanks and BMPs from two long-established manufacturers of minis, filing and cutting away deep mould lines and attempting to square-off bendy edges and improve poorly cast details, this is something I really appreciated.
I took some photos of the assembled tank with some Old Glory minis (left) and Peter Pig minis (right) for comparison:
One thing I'm pleased with is that Zvezda went to the trouble of detailing the underside of the tank:
I'm sure many wargamers couldn't give a hoot about that, but I see a lot of potential for using these tanks to make terrain pieces. I forgot to get a photo of it, but the tracks are separate to the wheels, so it would be easy to make a destroyed tank with the tracks blown off.
Another thing I like is that the Zvezda tank looks to be the right size for 15mm gaming. According to the Wikipedia, that bastion of all the is true and accurate, the differences between the approximate dimensions of T-72 and T-80 are negligible, being:
At 15mm, the two tanks ought to be pretty much the same size, but QRF's T-72 has always looked somewhat wee to me, even against their own T-80 mini. I don't have an Old Glory T-72 yet so I can't confirm this, but I have seen them a few times at shows and they seem similarly slightly undersized.
Here are a few size comparison photos between the QRF T-72 and T-80, and the Zvezda T-72:
Note that the rough-looking finish on the front of the QRF T-72 is sand glued to the mini which I will paint later as thick mud, and not a casting defect!
Zvezda T-72 left, QRF T-72 right:
Zvezda T-72 left, QRF T-80 right:
QRF T-80 left, QRF T-72 right:
The Zvezda T-72 has a similar size and bulk to the QRF T-80. Since I have six T-80s already but only one QRF T-72 ready to game with, I plan to buy more of the Zvezda tanks. Individually, they are more than I would be willing to pay considering that they lack the turret guns, but the Plastic Soldier Company have a three box 'platoon deal' that makes them cheap enough for me to overlook this. For terrain making, a large part of my plans for this kit, the lack of the turret guns is not an issue anyway.
For comparison, there is a video review of the Zvezda T-72 over at the Model Dads website. I usually can't stand to sit through stuff like that but their reviews are pleasingly concise and nicely presented.
I have mixed feelings about the Zvezda BTR-80. But that is a topic for another post...