The ZTZ-99A is the current main battle tank fielded by China’s People's Liberation Army. It is powered by a turbocharged 1,500 hp diesel based on German technology which gives a claimed top speed of 80kmh. The ZTZ-99A's battle weight is 54 tons and it is armed with a ZPT98 125 mm smoothbore gun with a length/calibre ratio of 51:1. The gun is comparable to the Soviet/Russian 2A46M-1 type 125 mm gun. It is reported that the Chinese version of the Soviet/Russian AT-11 laser-guided anti-tank missile can be fired from the main gun.
S-Model is a relatively new player in the 1/72 plastic military vehicle kit market. Based in China’s Shan Dong Province, S-Model kits are “quick-build” and generally have two models per box. The ZTZ-99A is my first S-Model kit.
The box is relatively large, reflecting the use of only two sprues per model. Of course, there are four sprues in the box. The box is quite sturdy and would be suitable for long term storage in a stash. However, I intend to build the two models as soon as I can. The top of the box has colour drawings of the ZTZ-99A from front, rear and nearside perspectives.
The bottom of the box replicates these drawings and adds on offside view with a key for placement of markings. The camouflage colours are described in generic terms, eg “sandy yellow” and no model paint identifiers are suggested. Unfortunately, there is no top view of the ZTZ-99A.
The two sprues for each model are each sealed in a plastic bag and these bags are sealed inside another plastic bag. This also holds the instruction sheeting, markings transfers, and two photo-etched brass frets (PE).
The instruction sheet relies on exploded diagrams to explain the construction sequence and it seems relatively straightforward.
For a “quick-build” kit, there are more parts than I would have expected. The PE parts give the option of replacing some of the injected plastic parts with more to scale PE. The treatment of the track assemblies is quite interesting (particularly for someone like me who doesn’t like spending a lot of time on fiddly link and length tracks). The top and bottom track runs are each moulded in one piece with idler, sprocket, roadwheels and guide wheels attached. Curved sections of track are provided to attach to the idlers and sprockets. The upper track run is attached to the inner roadwheels by rods that are clearly not part of the actual track assembly (indicated by red arrows on the photograph below). These rods will be hidden by the track guards but it would be possible to remove them if desired. However, removal would damage the track guide teeth. The top and bottom track runs lack the division beneath the two rubber blocks on each plate but the track sections that will be visible on the finished model are more detailed.
I believe this is the first 1/72 injection moulded kit of an indigenous Chinese AFV and I can’t wait to see how it comes together.