I have to admit that I've been pretty excited the last few weeks with the release and availability of new 15mm and 1/100 Plastic Kits. I reviewed The Plastic Soldier Company's 15mm T-34's earlier this week and I think they are fantastic. Just to compare, I purchased a couple of Zvezda's new 1/100 WWII Tank kits this week off of Amazon - a German Panzer II and a Soviet T-26. They were $7.99 each with free Prime shipping; this might seem high but was actually cheaper than the $4.99 with $5 shipping that I found on eBay and other online shops - not to mention that they arrived 1 day after ordering.
Overall I have mixed feelings about these Zvezda kits and I'll explain a bit later. On first glance they looked like a match for Plastic Soldier Company. The assembly was a breeze (much quicker than PSC) and the detail on the kits is similar to Plastic Solder Company's T-34. Look at the photos to judge for yourself but I think these two lines will be very compatible with each other.
Now... here's my concern with these Zvezda models: the plastic material used is not on the same quality level as Plastic Soldier Company. While PSC uses a very hard plastic that is similar to styrene (maybe it is styrene?), Zvezda uses a softer material that is glossy. I have not yet painted either of these so to be fair it may hold paint just fine, but I wonder if there will be paint adhesion problems. If I recall, Battlefront's Plastic tracks and details are slight glossy too... so perhaps this is really a non issue.
The one drawback with this plastic that I did experience was the difficulty in cleaning up the mould lines. Zvezda did do a fairly good job in hiding most of the mould lines but the ones that were visible were difficult to neatly clean. I tried using my usual "scraper" and it just scratched and fuzzed up the plastic rather than cleanly removing the mould line. The more I tried, the more hacked up it looked. I tried a small jewelry file (see the T-26 below) and the plastic almost piled up. In the end, I did get it to look ok, but it certainly was not a smooth removal of mould lines. Does anyone have any good suggestions for cleaning Zvezda mould lines?
Overall I think these vehicles from Zvezda are ok, especially if you don't care about mould lines (and should the plastic prove painting friendly). From my standpoint, the PSC are going to be a better option.