Soviet T-26 Light Tank. Т-26 — Советский лёгкий танк. Zvezda 1:35 scale

Along with the BT tank, the T-26 formed the basis of the Soviet tank park before the start of WW2 and during its initial period. The T-26 was popular at one time but the weak armour and its low speed made it easy prey for the enemy, and quite often there was no radio in the tank. By 1938, it was virtually obsolete.

Forwards, for the Motherland! T-26 in winter camouflage in action in Finland in 1940. I think my artwork is getting better!
I found a few discrepancies in the instructions, par for the course with these early Zvezda kits. Still, it’s cheap and cheerful and a fairly accurate depiction. Unbelievably, the machine gun part was missing so I had to fashion one from a piece of plastic rod which I found in the spares box. How could they make a mistake like that especially considering it’s a Russian tank! Unforgivable!
The tracks and running gear went together surprisingly well. The whitewash and snow effects helped hide some nasty ejector pin marks on the bogies!
The T-26 is a very small tank but I think it looks kind of cute! It weighed between 8-11 tons and had a 45 mm gun. It was comparable at least to a German Pz Kpfw II.
As the model was so light, I added some pieces of lead inside the hull to give it a more realistic feel of weight and also to keep the bottom tracks to lie flat.

The T-26 was the most numerous tank of the Red and Finnish Armies by the start of the Great Patriotic War in 1941 and also of the Spanish Republic during the Spanish civil war. During the 1930s and 1940s, it was second in terms of numbers after the T-34. It was constructed on the basis of the British Vickers Mark ME or ‘6-ton tank’ and was taken into service in the USSR in 1931 (source: Russian Wikipedia).

Captured T-26s. The caption reads: “Captured Russian tanks stand where the Finns halted them on January 7, 1940. The Red Army’s 44th Division enriched Finland’s arsenal with 43 tanks and 46 field guns-too cumbersome for use in the forest”. From Battles for Scandinavia by John R. Elting. Time Life Books 1981. The Finns used the captured T-26 themselves and even until after the war.

In all, 281 T-26s were sent to Spain from 1936-1938. It was also used against the Japanese at Khalkin-Gol, and in the Soviet campaign against Poland in 1939.

Many were captured by the Germans during Barbarossa and used as ‘trophy’ tanks and called the Panzerkampfwagen 737.

Other users were:

Finland, as mentioned. 126 tanks, several dozen of which were only decommissioned in 1961!

Turkey-64 single turret and 2 two-turret versions.

Afghanistan- 2 of the first two-turret version.

Romania- captured 30 T-26s although only one is known to have been used.

Chinese (nationalist)- 82 T-26B model.

Slovakia-2 tanks one of which was displayed at the Exhibition of captured weapons in Bratislava.

Hungary- one model 1938 T-26.

T-26s in Chinese Nationalist Army
Captured Finnish T-26
Spanish Republican T-26 on streets of Madrid

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *