Armor RC

Detailing the Heng Long T-90 MBT for RC 1/16 scale

by Mario Covalski © Modeler Site

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The last addition to the Heng Long RC series (at the moment of writing this tutorial) is the Russian T-90 the “latest” weapon for their army, navy and for export. After the satisfactory experience detailing the Abrams and Challenger, I was excited to be able to put hands to work on a modern Russian tank, well not so modern... The aim of this tutorial is to share with the reader the work of adding some details to the plastic, with nothing more than what I had in the spare box, spending very little money in the electronics, but trying to get a model that looks like a scale model and not a toy.


In order not to disappoint anybody, I’ll not going to place the emphasis in the mechanical or electronic improvements since they are widely known, but will share the simple modifications and/or additions I made which are easily reproducible. I took some artistic freedom in some areas, to my personal taste, but I indicate the way it should be.

I searched for good references in the web, but you should be careful because there are operative tanks and others in international expositions.

The HL T-90

I’ll not repeat here what is published in hundreds of web pages and books but the story of the T-90 is very interesting. After the relative failure of the T-80, the T-90 is the spearhead of the Russian armoured vehicles with all the available current technology for defence or attack. While the T-80 was based on the T-64; the T-90 is T-72 refried. If you see the T-72 hull and turret and the T-90 with cast turret lacking of all the accessories, they are equal, this means that the T-90 was built using the arsenal of the T-72 which Russia has thousands.

This and the fact that the turret of the T-90 (as in all the Russian tanks) is very small makes that all the paraphernalia of the advanced equipment is placed on the exterior, it looks showy and full of room for adding details.

There is a nice book for the T-90/90A MBT by Meng Models. It's an excellent reference for detailing a model. Although written in Chinese, the pictures are clear in any language.

I got the version with metal tracks and zinc alloy gears, it’s not the best, but what I could find. The metal tracks weigh about 1kg, give the model an interesting weight and avoid having to add extra weight to the interior, and this is good since the T-90 is small compared with the Chally o ZTZ99, for instance and there’s not much room available.

The first I did when receiving the box I bought locally, was to look for a referent one from which Heng Long had used as base to copy, that is what usually do.


After a short search around the net and seeing several kits, I decided that probably HL had copies their T-90 from the Trumpeter T-90 MBT with cast turret in 1/35 scale. Except for the “adjustments” that HL use to achieve to adapt the design to their needs (in general to accuracy detriment) is similar.

To my humble understanding, the tank reproduced by Heng Long is a modified version of the T-90; in other words, the T-90 AM. for the cast turret


Having already in mind what I looked for, I started to search for information and pictures of the real thing. HL offer is with a showy camouflage, but the A version was mostly green, or at least is what can be appreciated in reference pictures.


To facilitate writing and reading, I’ll be showing what I did through pictures, in chronological order.

Paradoxically the construction begins by disassembling the model.

Although the new version of the RX-18 is acceptable with good functions and two different sounds (Tiger I and Leopard 2A6), I already had a Clark TK-22 board for replacement.


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Includes more than 210 pics, here we show only the text pages.


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Incluye más de 210 imágenes, aquí solo mostramos las paginas de texto.


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