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DRAGON MODELS LIMITED
7277, T-34/76 Mod.1943. 1/72nd-scale styrene/multimedia kit containing 115 styrene parts, one etched brass fret, one length of braided metal wire, two DS-100 track lengths, four decal marking schemes and six pages of instructions in six steps.
This new DML T-34 in 1/72nd-scale depicts the type of cast “hard-edge” turret produced by the ChKZ factory, from Autumn 1942, through Autumn 1943, as well as by Zavod 183.
These come in one length for each side, in the now-familiar DS100 flexible styrene material. The detail is crisp on both faces of the links and they can be joined together with standard styrene cement. This has the added advantage of allowing them to be properly fixed to the suspension system in order to depict the characteristic sag seen on these items.
There are three different styles of road-wheels supplied, including:
• Ten dished wheels with perforated rubber rims.
• Six perforated/webbed all-steel wheels.
• Four perforated/partially-webbed wheels with rubber rims.
The variety in road-wheel types will allow the modeler to accurately portray the particular configuration of many different types of T-34s, which makes this kit quite attractive. Each dual road-wheel is slide-molded as a single part, which will allow for ease of assembly. The drive sprocket and idler wheels are molded the same way. The idler wheel is of the all-steel type with ten perforations and ten ribs; the drive sprockets have six perforations and six ribs. However, there had to be a compromise, so none of the perforations in any of the road-wheels goes completely through the part. Depth can be simulated with paint, but most modelers will probably drill through what is there; it will be time consuming and certainly boring, but that’s what we have, love it or leave it!
The hull pan is from a slide mold; its sides feature bump stops, bolt patterns, the various openings for the suspension swing arms, and axles, all molded in place. The belly plate has panel line details, access plates and drain plugs; the lower bow plate is also molded in place. The rear panel/transmission final drive housing has separate “hammerhead”-style tow hooks; the final touches are separate tiny “keepers” to hold the tow cables in place on the hooks.
This consists of a main molding to which separate rear and glacis plates are attached. The rear plate features crisp hatch detail and separate exhaust pipes (with pre-opened ends) and two styles of armored cowls. The glacis plate is of the later style with shielded machine gun mount and separate driver’s hatch lid. Both the glacis plate and the lower rear plate mount the so-called “hammerhead” tow shackles. There are optional grab handles for “Desant” infantry, as well as optional fuel boxes. External stowage in the form of tool-boxes, tow cables (comprising styrene end-loops and wound metal wire), tools, bundles of ice cleats, un-ditching logs and rolled tarps are also given, as are a pair of wood crates.
The main superstructure part has excellent molded-on surface detail to include panel lines, recessed and raised bolt patterns, filler ports and engine deck. The engine deck features a molded-on access hatch lid along with side and top air cooling grills (with etched brass replacement parts). A separate engine grill door panel is provided with an etched brass frame and screen; a pre-opened styrene part for the screens is also included, saving the modeler some work if using theteched brass option. DML thoughtfully provided the movable baffles that will be easily seen beneath the screen, also in etched brass. And, for those who don’t wish to use the etched brass parts, a complete styrene part is also supplied with the screens molded in place.
The upper turret shell is produced using a slide mold and therefore has view slits and pistol ports molded in place on its sides. Some texture can be added if the modeler desires, using the method of his choice; the same goes for the inner gun mantlet. The turret has some detail for the interior including a basic gun breech as well as a periscope. The main gun tube, breech and the mantlet sleeve are manufactured using a slide-mold, which allows for maximum detail as well as the proper openings where needed. As designed, the gun can elevate, so be careful with the glue. The roof plate is configured to mount a multi-part raised commander’s cupola seen on later production types; the option not to mount it isn’t provided.
Molding, Fit and Engineering.
Overall, molding is very fine, with little in the way of ejector pin marks to clean; there were no sink marks on my sample. The instructions are of the drawn style and feature the etched bits in color. The painting guide is in full color and is keyed to Testors and Gunze colors.
I have no scale plans to compare this kit to; photos indicate that the kit is properly rendered.
These consist of traditional line drawings and should be easily followed, especially since they contain only six main steps and this is not a very complicated model. The etched brass parts are shown in color as are the drawings for the various markings schemes. As usual, colors are keyed to Gunze and Model Master paints.
Decals and Marking Information.
The excellent water-slide decals are by Cartograf and include markings for the following T-34s:
• White 481/RB-1, 1st Ukrainian Front, Poland 1944, overall dark green 4BO.
• Red diamond/K5, 16 Tank Corps, Ukraine 1943, overall dark green 4BO with heavily weathered whitewash.
• Red/white 233, unidentified German unit, 1943, overall Dunkelgelb with Olivgrün and Rotbraun stripes.
• Red slogan (Marshal Tshombalsan Revolutionary Mongolia), unidentified unit 1943, overall dark green 4BO with heavily weathered whitewash.
References only show these schemes as color drawings and I have been unable to confirm any using photographs.
Well, DML seems to believe that modelers want new T-34s in Braille Scale, and that they want as many versions as possible. If you are one of them, check this one out.
Frank V. “Curly Stooge” De Sisto
References consulted for this review included, but were not limited to:
1. “T-34, Stalin’s Warhorse”, AJaKS Military Press, by P. Skulski & J. Jackiewicz.
2. “T-34 in Combat”, AJaKS Military Press, by Z. Lalek, R. Sawicki & J. Jackiewicz
3. “T-34 in Action”, Squadron Armor 20, by S. Zaloga.
4. “Soviet Tanks and Combat Vehicles of WW 2”, Arms and Armour Press, by S. Zaloga & J. Grandsen.
5. “Russian Tanks 1900-1970”, by J. Milsom.
6. “Soviet Tanks in Combat 1941-1945”, Concord 7011, by S. Zaloga.
7. “Russian T-34”, AFV Weapons Profile 47, by J.M. Brereton & Maj. M. Norman, RTR.
8. “Camouflage of the Tanks of the Red Army 1930-1945”, Armada, by M. Kolomiyets & I. Moshchanskiy.
9. “Toadman’s T-34-76 Model 1943 and T-34-85 Model 1945 Photo Detail CD”, Toadman’s Tank Pictures, by C. Hughes.
10. “T-34, Vol.1”, Wydawnictwo Militaria 259, by M. Baryatinsky.
11. “T-34/76 Medium Tank 1941-45”, Osprey New Vanguard 9, by S. Zaloga.
12. “T-34 Mythical Weapon”, Armageddon/Airconnection, by R. Michulec & M. Zientarzewski.
Reviewer’s note: Since May of 2005, I have been working on books for Concord Publications, a sister company to DML. The reader may wish to take this into consideration. For my part, I will attempt to maintain an objective viewpoint when writing these reviews.
DML kits are available from retail and mail order shops. For details see their web site at: www.dragonmodelsltd.com.