Chinese Wonder? The 121 B
So I wasn’t aware we would be getting another new tier X Medium tank until it actually dropped; Wargaming have been keeping this one under wraps.
But there were rumors, of course, and so I had a look at the PC version, and thought it looked kind of promising. It’s basically a Russian-style Medium with a Chinese knock-off 10,5 mm weapon, and although that may not seem super exciting, I was still kind of interested to drive it.
I was lucky enough to get the M60, but wasn’t pro or gambling addicted enough to get the Kpz 70, so I figured if it was to be some kind of clan wars reward tank, I would be shXt out of luck, as the kids like to say in America.
Which is kind of a good news/bad news situation.
It turns out anyone can get their hands on one, but it also turns out there is no guarantee you’ll actually get one no matter how much cash you throw at it; you have to roll the dice, and there’s a 95% chance you’ll lose every time you do.
But before we get down to the business of driving the 121 B in anger, let’s do a bit of “bench racing”, and see what the stats can tell us about it.
The Chinese Knockoff Up Close
Since the old T-62A is the one Wargaming inexplicably (to some) have been buffing lately, I will use that as my benchmark. This also makes sense because it has the same gun depression as both 121 models; the familiar five degrees, and because the 121 is partially based on a captured Soviet T-62 tank.
First off, the 121 has a thicker front plate by almost 20 mm, although the angle is the same. It’s also faster than the T-62 by 6 km/h Ground resistance numbers are better except on soft ground or when wading through water, and the engine power is the same on all three tanks.
Other than that, the armaments go from low alpha/high DPM to high alpha/low DPM, with the 105 mm LC7 in the middle. The aimtimes, interestingly get worse with decreasing calibre; not the other way around as you might have expected.
So yeah, I’ve been driving the 121 a lot lately, and the 121 B feels very similar. It is a bit lighter not having to haul around that 122 mm, but the turret back is strengthened, so it still manages to traverse slower.
If you haven’t driven a lot of Chinese Mediums, they are generally pretty fast, and they maintain speed well, but as soon as you hit water or mud they will bog down, and they don’t climb very fast but they will climb most anything, especially with a bit of run-up.
The drive is part of why I call them “heavy Mediums”. If you think of them as being a bit heavier than a regular Medium, I find you get into the right mobility groove.
So in the interest of expediency, I spent an hour or so driving and comparing the three tanks. Or, to be honest, I skipped the T-62 A and just drove the Obj 140 for a baseline tank instead because I like it better.
I will say after a session of playing, there is no doubt the Obj 140 is the best tank. I had zero problem putting out the damage in that; had a few really nice games. I’t just better; there’s no point arguing. And that’s also missing the point.
Chinese tanks aren’t supposed to be better than Russian tanks; they are supposed to be different from them. And whether or not you find that interesting or not aside, they are at least not so similar you can’t tell them apart.
So: In the context of Medium tanks, coming from the 121, the 121 B feels familiar. It moves familiar, angles familiar, and the gun depression is the same. What differs is the weaponry. The 121 B 105 mm gun is easier to work with. It has APCR/HEAT/HE like most of the others; it’s pretty much tier standard.
You will immediately note the aimtime is slower on the 105, but that doesn’t mean slow. Overall, both with regards to mobility and firepower, the 121 B reminds me a lot of the Type 59. It’s not a fire breathing Russian brawler with a 100 mm sewing machine; it’s more laid back and comfortable to drive. A bit more used friendly, if you will.
Putting it straight, the 105 mm makes the 121 B easier to drive than the 121, but not as good as the Object 140. If you expected it to be, I don’t know what to tell you.
And it’s a lovely drive. I drove hundreds of games in my comfortable Hype 59; so I can totally get into the 121 B. It’s genius. Not very original, but right on the mark. A Russian turret and hull with a knockoff capitalist 10,5.
Yeah. It pretty much looks like exactly what it is.
So: do I like it? Yes; very much. Do I want it? Yes. Even though I have the regular 121? Yes, without a doubt. Am I going to get one?
If the tank was really expensive, I would buy it and just eat ramen for a few weeks or something. Beg in the streets; I don’t know. Because as a Medium driver, I really like the 121 B, and although it’s a pretty basic vehicle, it’s still a great drive. I*ma ll over it.
Except I can’t afford to gamble for it. It’s that simple. The fact I am not guaranteed a purchase means I have to pass on the chance to own it this time around. I hope there will be others.
If you want to throw money at a 121 B, I’m not going to stop you. I wish you good luck. Just make sure you are aware there is no guarantee at all you will actually get it no matter how much money you spend, and that’s just how gambling works.
I will say unless you expect the 121 to be better than the Russian Mediums, it’s not going to disappoint you. It’s not really that special, but it’s a sound concept, and there is no reason at all why you should struggle driving it.
IrmaBecx says I want it. Your mileage will vary.
Mastery gameplay action: