This kit has been a while coming having first been announced last year but held back due to their work on the Karl and Leopold kits, but has now arrived and yes the wait was worth it.
The kit consists of 416 parts (including 189 for the individual track links) in the usual Dragon light grey plastic with two clear lenses for the headlights, two short lengths of twine and a small decal sheet.
The moulding quality is again very good with crisp details on the parts that include many weld seams, bolt head details and no flash even on the small parts. There are a few small pin marks to contend with on parts with detail on both sides, most notably the commander’s turret hatch but should be easy enough to deal with.
The kit has all the features of the early Mod.1940 including the L-11 gun and mantlet, small driver’s hatch, periscope on the turret hatch, square engine access hatch on the rear and the front idler wheel with rubber tyre.
The Lower Hull:
The lower hull tub with the separate spring channels and axles is the same as in the previous T-34-85 kits but from there it’s all new. The road wheels, idler wheels and drive sprockets have excellent details from the bolt heads to the rubber tyres with all wheels having separate centre hubs for good detail definition.
The rear hull panel has excellent weld seams around the final drive housings and the towing shackles with contours top and bottom as they should be while the separate front lower hull panel again has good bolt head detail and weld seams.
The Upper Hull:
The upper hull shell has many additional panels for added details. At the back there is a separate rear plate with separate square engine access panel with separate exhaust pipes and armoured covers while on the engine deck all the access panels and intake grills are separate although the mesh on the rear cover is moulded in plastic which will no doubt be addressed by aftermarket etched metal makers. The central top engine hatch is also separate and all these separate hatches will make adding and engine/transmission very easy.
At the front is a separate glacis plate with additional separate parts for the driver’s hatch and the MG fairing, these also have some very nice weld seams included especially around the MG fairing. The two headlights have separate clear lenses that again add to the final good detail definition. The front fenders are included with the glacis moulding and have nice crisp details as does the towing shackle attachments and the well defined bolt heads and weld seam along to front of the plate. At the front is a separate nose cap that hides the join between the upper and lower hull parts so you don’t have to worry about any filling.
Along the hull sides are the four square storage boxes seen only on these early T-34s, the boxes also have separate securing straps that add to the detail definition as well as separate tie down cleats adding further to the details.
This is an excellent assembly with engineering that all but eliminates any need for filler. The turret shell is made up of four parts, the front curved panel (part H1) and the two sides (parts G4,G5) with a separate rear panel. One thing to watch with the front panel (part H1) is the sprue pour point is in the middle of the top weld bead and care is needed when removing the part from the sprue so as not to damage the weld bead.
The front panel joins the two side panels along the actual joins of the real turret, the fit of the parts is excellent and the design holds the parts together securely only requiring the application of some liquid cement to finish it off. There are nice weld seams along the edges of the side panels and not needing any filler leaves the seams intact after gluing.
Additional small fittings such as the three lifting eyes which are quite thin for good appearance and the securing latches on the main hatch add to the overall good appearance of the turret assembly.
These are all separate links with nice details on the plates but there are minor pin ejector marks on the inside face of each plate which should be easy to remove but a little tiresome. The links are designed to be glued together and are not movable after assembly but their assembly shouldn’t be a problem.
The sheet has a series of numbers only allowing any combination but these early tanks were mostly devoid of markings so check your references before applying the numbers. The instructions show two schemes, one in overall Russian green on an unnamed unit on the Eastern Front and the other of the attractive three colour cam scheme of the 1st Moscow Motorized Rifle Division, July 1941 although there are only side views of the scheme provided so other sources for the top, front and rear pattern will be needed.
These are again in the photographic style showing the construction sequences and I personally prefer the normal line drawing style which Dragon reverted to in their recent Karl and K5 kits. One of the reasons for this is that some of the sequences are a little confusing as some parts are shown already fitted in place while others are shown in the exploded view, but as this kit is fairly basic there shouldn’t be any real problems understanding the images.
This is superb little kit with excellent details and engineering that almost consigns the filler tube to the museum and from the layout of parts such as separate glacis and rear panels as well as a couple of the sprues marked T-34-40/41 means we will most certainly see more kits in this series, this can only be a good thing.
by Robert Michulec
Published by AirConnection
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Page created 17 December 2003