T-34/76 Mod.1941 Cast Turret
Dragon Kit No. 6418
1:35 Scale
Review by Terry Ashley

Dragon continues to release their T-34 series kits with this kit of the T-34-76 Mod.1941 with Cast Turret released at about the same time as the Mod.1942 STZ (Kit #6388).
This kit of the Mod.1941 with Cast Turret best represents the type produced from Factory 183 in the Spring of 1941 with features of the single periscope on the turret roof, early style driver’s hatch and square rear engine inspection hatch plus the long box type fuel cells on the hull sides, the first type cast track links as well as having the 76.2mm F-34 main gun.

The kit is based as you could guess on the previous releases such as the T-34-76 Mod.1941 (kit #6205) and the recent T-34-76 STZ Mod.1941 (kit #6355) with a single new sprue R with the cast turret parts. Also included on this sprue are parts for the later T-34-76 Mod.1942 cast turret version so we will no doubt be seeing that kit in the near future.

The kit:

The kit consist of 309 parts in light grey plastic with a further 126 individual track links but there are quite a few parts shown in the instructions as not being used including the turret shell from the previous Mod.1941 Welded turret kit so there is plenty for the spares box.

Also included is a large etched fret and the metal 76.2mm barrel, a length of braided steel wire, 2 clear plastic parts as well as a small decal sheet and the instruction sheet which has unfortunately reverted back to the photo sequences for the parts which are much harder to follow than the usual exploded view drawings.

Metal and Etched parts

Standard of moulding is excellent throughout with clean crisp details and virtually no pin marks that can be seen after assembly due to the many small plastic nodes but you will need care removing these from some parts. Some of the sprue attachment overlap the parts meaning when you remove these there is no scar left on the part itself which makes things a little easier on the cleanup while others have the usual sprue attachment on the part proper.

The level of surface details is well done with nice weld seams, bolt detail and other detail nicely represented and the fit of the parts is very good overall with just a few minor niggles but nothing that the average modeller can’t handle.

Dimensionally the kit matches available 1:35 plans in the references listed below perfectly in all areas for a well proportioned kit.

Lower Hull/Suspension:
This is the same tub from the previous T-34 kits with separate front and rear panels added and includes the side sponson fillers while you also have to remove a couple of the moulded on bump stops for this version before getting into the construction.

The separate lower plate has nice weld seam details and the lower rear hull panel includes the final drive bulges as well as towing hooks added to both panels with the fit to the hull being very good.

Inside the hull are the separate suspension channels with inner spring detail while the separate axles are from the original T-34 kits and have a little less detail than those in more recent kits.

There is just one set of road wheels provided, the original 1940 pattern rubber tyred pressed disc road wheel which correctly have the ten hub bolts and inner stiffening ring but take care when removing the moulding seam around the middle of the tyre section so as not to damage the detail. Each wheel station has the two separate wheels and a separate hub cap that also has the correct detail for this type of wheel and is designed to be glued to the axle stub.

For the drive sprockets you get the original 1940 pattern sprockets that have excellent details on both the inner and outer sprocket discs that fit together without problems and include the drive rollers as they should.

The original 1940 pattern idler wheel with rubber tyre has a separate hub cap for better definition while the separate axles allow you to animate the suspension ride height if you wish for a diorama setting.

These are the early cast type provided as individual link but moulded in the conventional manner meaning each link has to be removed from the sprue and cleaned up before assembling the track runs which can get a little tedious but anyone accustomed to assembling individual link track should be used to that?

Upper Hull:
The upper hull is the same as from the previous T-34-76 kits such as #6205 and #6355 with a separate front glacis plate from kit #6355 with the fenders included and has the enlarged early style driver’s hatch as well as a separate rear engine access hatch, intake grills and engine deck panel plus the rear lower hull panel with the surface details are again well done.

There are two rear engine bay hatch covers, the original full plastic version and the same one from kit #6205/#6355 with the opening for the separate etched mesh, but this is still designed to have the mesh added from the inside with the outer frame included in the hatch moulding.

The etched screens with this kit provide the mesh and separate frame which is added from the outside meaning you have to cut off the moulded on raised frame before adding the new etched parts but unfortunately the instructions don’t tell you to do this and as this feature is now standard on Dragon’s T34 kits removing the raised frame from the hatch would seem appropriate?

There are also two locating pins on the inside of the hatch cover that also need to be removed due to the etched panel/louvers added to the inner engine deck but again the instructions don’t indicate this, but it’s quite obvious that it won’t fit without cutting off the pins.

Removing the moulded on frame will require care so you don’t damage the surrounding bolt head detail, especially on the top hinges and the mesh can then be glued in place using cyanoacrylate. The frame is then added over the top of the mesh to produce a nice look engine hatch and there are also additional etched parts for the cover latches and central tail light fitted to these early model T-34s.

The inner etched louver panel has been modified like it was with the Mod.1942 STZ kit to allow the upper hatch cover to fit properly but you will have to slightly trim the forward bolted strips on the deck for the etched panel to fit neatly.

The separate etched louvers can then be added but if you want to show these at an angle you will have to bend the end connectors to get the correct sit preferably before attaching to the etched panel.

The four side and top intake grills have two styles provided, the original from the previous T-34-76 kits and those from the recent T-34-85 kits and it’s probably best to use the original intakes for this kit as photos indicate these are the correct pattern for the Mod.41 kits.

The intakes hit neatly into the hull cut-outs with the detail on the plastic intakes being perfectly adequate but the top engine deck inspection hatch does not fit the hull cut-out well and replacing the hatch from thin card cut to the right size would be the best solution.

On the real hull panel are the separate square access hatch, exhaust covers with the correct 7 bolts for this version and a choice of the original two piece exhaust pipes or the newer one piece pipes. Note the instructions indicate to use the original two piece exhaust pipes but these extend too far out and you should use the newer one piece pipes (parts M6) instead. Also when cleaning up the exhaust pipes note what seems like a mould seam down the middle is actually a weld seam on the real pipes so don't remove this.

Other details added to the hull are the box type fuel tanks along the hull sides which come with etched attachments as well as the normal fender mounted storage boxes also with etched latches and hinges plus etched grouser tie downs and straps for the separate snow grousers supplied.

The steel wire provided is used for the tow cables that fit into plastic cable eyes and have etched securing brackets on the fenders.

The fit of the upper and lower hull parts is very good and there shouldn’t be any problems here if the usual care is taken during assembly.

The Turret:
There is a new early style cast turret provided as well as the original 1941 welded turret shell which is consigned to the spares box and the new turret is moulded in one piece with just some fine moulding seams along the lines of the real turret casting seams.

This moulding is quite impressive as it has virtually no cleanup required and has subtle cast surface texture as well as welds around the side vision ports.

The gun shield and housing is made up of four parts which fit together well and have excellent weld and bolt head details and you should note there is a weld along the top join seam and adding this will cover up the join nicely.

Again there is a choice of three F32 76.2mm main guns, the original plastic gun in two halves, the single piece plastic barrel and the aluminium barrel and obviously the metal barrel would be the preferred choice here. This has a drilled out muzzle but there is no rifling included but is still the barrel of choice as it’s perfectly round and just slips into the gun housing.

The roof is also new for this kit with the original roof still included so make sure you use the correct one (part R4) with a new turret hatch moulded commendably thin with excellent contours without any hint of pin marks and includes additional etched parts for the interior details but to use these you have to trim off the moulded on plastic detail and care will be needed with this.

As with the previous kits there is the full gun breech and mountings which gives you all the basic structures for a nicely detailed gun and there are additional etched parts for the inner visor mountings and the large top hatch will allow most of the detail to be easily seen.

The fit of the turret shell and the turret ring is quite good but the side join will need a little work as it is not perfectly even but this should be easy to remedy with the trusty #11 blade.

You can also build the original 1941 welded turret or the new cast turret if you wish but only one can be built with the other parts consigned to the spares box.

As mentioned these have reverted back to the annoying photo type instructions that are just not easy to follow but there are some additional exploded view drawings included to explain the more complicated assemblies which does help out more.

The decal sheet just markings four five T-34s including one captured and used by the German Army with a selection of turret slogans, unit crests and balkenkreuz for the German vehicle with small four view colour illustrations of the five vehicles shown on the instruction sheet.

  • 1. Unidentified Unit. Eastern Front 1943
  • 2. Unidentified Unit. Eastern Front 1943
  • 3. 'Parchomienko', 116th Tank Brigade, Eastern Front 1942.
  • 4. 'BARS', Manchuria 1945
  • 5. Unidentified Unit, German Army, Eastern Front 1942

Overall this is another excellent T-34 kit from Dragon, this time of the early T-34-76 Mod.1941 Cast Turret with the one piece cast turret the notable feature and again this current series of T-34 kits from Dragon are clearly the best available today apart from one recent hiccup but you still have the odd bit of work to do and there is scope for adding additional detail as with any kit.

It would seem there are still more T-34s to come from Dragon due to the extra new parts included on the sprues and hopefully they will move on to the later 1942/1943 types before too long.

Highly recommended 8.5/10

The Sprues:

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Thanks to my credit card and the excellent service fromRainbow Tenfor the review kit.

Page created December 23, 2007