PLA ZTZ-96B Main Battle Tank , First of China’s Revolutionary Digital Camo
- Product Name : PLA Main Battle Tank ZTZ96B (1/35 scale)
- Product Number : TS-034
- Manufacturer : Meng Model China
This is a 2017 kit from Meng Model, their first tank model from mainland China itself. That could be the reason this kit have an extravagant look even from the packaging.
It is presented in a unique looking sleeve, which would definitely stand out sitting on your shelf. The Chinese characters on the sleeve reads as “People’s Republic of China Liberation Army ZTZ96B Main Battle Tank”. Inside the sleeve is a more familiar kit box with digital camo tank art.
Type 96 is a second generation MBT from China. The 96B variant first seen on July 2016, is equipped with new chassis and improved engine, high-performance gun with upgraded fire-control system, new transmission with high maneuverability, new communications and computer systems which makes this tank capable of competing against more advanced, third generation tank from other countries.
And most importantly, ZTZ96B uses China recent “Minecraft” digital camouflage. The boldly pixelated camo first shown in 2015 parade is designed to hide the vehicle both from short and long distance view. Close up, the small patches mimic patterns of leaves and small branches. From farther away, the clusters of squares create a texture that blends with trees and other natural environment.
By the way ZTZ is a code designated by PLA (People’s Liberation Army) for their MBT. It means Zhuāngjiăbīng (armored soldiers), Tănkè (tank), and Zhǔzhàn (main battle).
The instructions are presented in clear, easy to follow steps. There are only 30 steps in total, and they are all quite simple in nature since this kit doesn’t have too many sprue parts. It also comes with quite a lot of decals for the 5 schemes provided.
The most interesting part of this kit is the track. It is a combination of rubber track and styrene guide horns.
You might be skeptical at first but it turns out to be very good quality-wise.
- Attractive packaging and box art look
- Easy to follow instruction manual
- Easy to build overall
- Rubber track isn’t as good as individual track links/workable track
The assembly process is really fast thanks to the easy to follow instruction book. Here’s the model after I finished assembling it.
And after that the real fun begins. I painted all the digital camo by hand cause I find it way more interesting and exciting that way. I use masking tape to cover the outer part of the pattern and use small brush to paint the digital camo.
Here’s how it looks like after the camo is finished. Mind you it’s quite messy since it’s my first try on brush painting something like this.
Since this tank is mostly used on Tank Biathlon and training only, I went on a light weathering route. I think dry earth and dusty look is enough and it also helps in covering some of the error on the digital camo painting.
In conclusion this model is a really great addition to modern vehicle fans. But only if you want to be bothered with painting digital camo, both by airbrush or like me (brushpainting team). This model is the first of many more PLA digital camo vehicle that I will certainly make. So stay tuned, thanks for reading this and happy modelling guys 🙂