Kubinka. The place every tanknut, World of Tanks player, modeler or armour enthusiast dreams of going to one day. This Russian museum houses one of the world’s finest collections of armoured vehicles including many unique prototypes. This short report is based on a visit during the summer of 2014.
Lets start of with a brief history of the museum. It’s located on the historic grounds of the Red Army’s armour testing facility. Kubinka proving grounds were a top secret military base where newly developed tanks of the Russian army were tested. Also tanks transferred from allied countries or captured on German or Japanese troops underwent trials here. After the Second World War the Tank Technology centre in Kubinka remained an important base were new soviet tanks were developed during the Cold War. A lot of the museum exhibits are war trophies gained from the Soviet Union’s enemies during the Second World War and conflicts in Asia and the Middle East. Nowadays the site is still controlled by the Russian military. Getting access to the museum used to be difficult involving a lot of screening and paperwork. However, recently access was made easier for national and international visitors.
The museum houses an amazing collection of Russian and foreign armoured vehicles. Having said this, don’t expect to find modern and inviting expositions which feature the vehicles at their best. All tanks are closely parked in large hangars which only allow you to view their fronts. Likewise It’s very hard to take sharp images in these dark pavilions on a sunny day. All informative signs showing the tank’s history and technical data are merely written in Russian.
Despite these downsides, the unique vehicles you will find in the museum will make up for everything. You’ll find impressive Russian heavy tanks, some of the few surviving German big cats and unique vehicles like the 188-ton Panzerkampfwagen VIII Maus. For all those military vehicle enthusiasts out there, this collection definitely belongs on your checklist.
The vehicles are housed in and around seven different halls. Each hall contains similar vehicles, like German Second World War vehicles, Russian medium tanks, Western post-war tanks, etc. . Some vehicles, like a Russian armoured train, are displayed outside.
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