6355, T-34/76 STZ Mod.1941 2-in-1. !/35th-scale styrene/multimedia kit containing 401 styrene parts (including two clear), two bags of magic tracks, three pieces of braided metal wire, one turned aluminum gun tube, one photo-etched brass fret, three water-slide decal markings schemes and eight pages of instructions in 14 steps.
The classic Soviet T-34 was produced in huge numbers and also came in a bewildering variety of sub-types. This was due to improvements in the design and production of the tank, as well as the incorporation of features deemed to be specific to certain factories at certain times. This particular version, coming from an STZ factory production series, is the subject of this latest limited edition DML/Cyberhobby collaboration.
These are completely new, but are very similar to other types included on other DML T-34-based kits. Therefore, some may not appreciate the subtlety in the differences. Each bridge link has a new cleat pattern and a different type of opening for attaching the ice cleats. Each main link also has a different cleat pattern on its face, as well as openings for ice cleat mounting bolts; main links in other DML kits do not have this last feature. These are, of course, styrene individual link Magic Tracks, which come in two bags ready for assembly. They fit together easily but must be fixed in place with glue; each part has two extremely subtle ejector pin marks on the inner face. These may be able to be ignored, or some may wish to ensure their disappearance by cleaning them up.
The suspension system features new road-wheel swing-arms for all stations, as well as notes on the instructions as to which features (mostly bump-stops) are to be removed from the hull sides of the two main versions that can be built from whats in the box. An entirely new set of all-steel road-wheels are provided; these feature ten full ribs and ten perforations, plus ten partial ribs next to each of the openings. Photographs and drawings in the cited reference sources confirm this configuration. New idler wheels are also provided; these come with five full and five partial ribs, plus five circular and five tear-drop shaped perforations, and are also confirmed photographically in references. There are also new drive sprockets of a pattern that have U-shaped stiffeners wrapped around each of the six perforations seen at the wheel rim.
In addition, the entire set of running gear seen on the previous Model 1940 and Model 1941 kits from DML are included in the box. These feature dished steel wheels with rubber rims of the type with small perforations along the side-wall. Idler wheels with rubber rims and a more-or-less typical type of drive sprocket completes this option. By including these parts, DML/Cyberhobby gives the modeler more of a choice when it comes to replicating a particular tank.
The hull pan is typical for every T-34-based DML kit. It comes from a slide mold so all details on the side walls and the belly plate can be easily included. The side plates feature openings for the Christie suspension swing-arms as well as their mounting points and various bump-stops; there is also some nicely-rendered bolt detail around the area of the (separate) final drive housings. Inside, there are separate boxes to hold the Christie spring units. The separate cranked idler wheel axle will allow the easy adjustment of the sag of the tracks, so the modeler is advised not to fix it in place until after satisfied with their appearance. Remember: on a T-34, the track assemblies will be either two links long or two links short; the modeler must plan ahead to avoid this obvious pitfall.
There is a separate lower bow plate that fits in a recess at the front end, while two different parts (one of which is new) can be used for the lower stern plate. The latter also features bulges for the final drive housing; the differences between them are the two types of tow hooks seen fixed to the respective plates. There are separate access plates for the belly, of two different styles; drain plugs, panel lines and recessed access plates complete the area.
The entire assembly is based on that seen in the first early T-34 from DML, the Model 1940 kit. It features two different separate glacis plates, one of which features two different (and separate) fender configurations. This new glacis plate also mounts the different tow hooks seen on the new lower stern plate, and has only one mount for a head-lamp, on the port side next to the drivers hatch lid. The latter assembly has a clear part for the lens and an optional etched brass mounting bracket. A nicely-detailed cast bow MG mount, with separate internal mantlet and delicate machine-gun barrel are attached to the starboard side of the glacis plate, while a multi-part hatch lid with some internal detail is provided for the drivers station.
Separate engine compartment cooling vent grills are given as is a (still ill-fitting) access hatch lid. The main engine compartment access lid comes in two configurations. The first is the original all-styrene part, complete with molded on screen detail. The other option features an opened-up styrene part where the screens and framework are replicated with etched brass, and there are panels and louvers as seen beneath the opening, also in that medium. Other etched brass details include the various clasps seen around the aforementioned access lid as well as an all-styrene or all-brass tail-lamp assembly.
The superstructure stern plate has the typical mounting bolt pattern and features a separate rectangular transmission access hatch lid. New slide-molded exhaust pipes (parts A-6) are provided, with pre-opened bores; these are designated as not for use in the instructions, while the older parts, B-3 and B-4 are shown being used in step five. The modeler is advised to use parts A-6. Mounted over these are delicately-rendered armored cowls. There are separate fillets for the areas where the main plates all come together.
The fenders are molded on to the lower superstructure side plates and feature molded-on tie down loops at their edges (there are optional etched brass replacements in the box); the rear mud-flaps are molded in place. Many of these tie-downs feature separate etched brass straps to hold the styrene ice cleats into place on the fenders. Mounting points for the various tool boxes are molded in place, as are some other tie-downs and plate details. Separate hydraulic jacks with etched brass enhancements can be mounted on one fender, while a tow cable can be replicated using the provided braided metal wire, any of four different styrene end loop styles, and etched brass straps and tie-down loops. The various tool boxes themselves can be enhanced with the included etched brass parts, while the superstructure side plate-mounted tie down points are given as fine separate styrene parts, or as etched brass options.
There are now a total of six early-style external fuel cells provided in the box; these also feature optional etched brass or styrene mounting brackets and hooks. References must be checked to see if a particular tank had these cells, how many there were, and where they were mounted, as the configuration varied.
This new molding is another feature of an STZ-manufactured T-34. It is of the welded type with a full-width rear plate. A new roof plate with two different hatch lid styles is provided (a third variation left-over from the original kit, but marked not for use, can also be considered); it also features separate dome vents, periscope cover options (opened or closed, etched brass or styrene) and etched or styrene details for various points on the assembly. The front plate comes from the original kit and the fit will need attention; it mounts a multi-part external mantlet to which can be attached a turned-aluminum or slide-molded styrene gun tube. Internally, there is a nice multi-part breech assembly, episcope details in etched brass and two suspended seats for the turret crew.
The complete original turret from the Model 1941 kit is also provided. But, since some major parts are used for the new turret, this is an either-or situation; the modeler can only build one complete turret. Again, a check of references might turn up a combination of features that can be replicated by careful use of what DML and Cyberhobby provides in this box. Who knows what will turn up!
Molding, Fit and Engineering.
With the odd exception (noted above), the fit of the parts in this kit is good-to-excellent. No sink marks are apparent and with the exception of the tracks, no ejector pin marks are visible on any external surface of the complete model, including the interiors of the various hatch lids. Flash was non-existent, while mold seams are quite fine and easily dealt with using traditional modeling skills and tools.
Accuracy and Details.
References show the kit to be quite well-done in this regard, with major components matching published 1/35th-scale plans extremely well. The various new detail features provided in this special release are well-documented in the cited references. Much of this is, no doubt, due to the efforts of the kits designers as well as guest host, MLs very own Nick Cortese. Hopefully, this release will do well enough to encourage more T-34 variations from this manufacturer.
These are typical in that they are in the traditional line-drawing style. They are relatively clear, but busy. There are also a number of sub-steps related to the various options provided in this kit. Modelers are advised to plan carefully before applying the glue. Colors are keyed to Gunze and Testors paints.
Decals and Markings Information.
Water-slide decals are given to mark a total of three vehicles (the fourth tanks markings are based solely on the paint scheme), and are printed by Cartograf in Italy. They are crisp and in excellent registration. Carrier film is thin, matte and cut close to the design edges. The following vehicles can be marked:
Red star, 1st Guards Armored Brigade, 1942, in three-color camouflage of Dark Green Shade 4BO, Dark Brown Shade 6K and Yellow Earth Shade 7K.
White 85, unidentified unit, 1942, overall Dark Green Shade 4BO.
Unidentified German Beutepanzer, 1942-43, overall Dark Green Shade 4BO.
Unidentified unit, 1942-43, overall Dark Green Shade 4BO, with winter whitewash pattern.
Three of these schemes are seen in the color plates included in reference 9; one, White 85, is confirmed in a photo seen in that book. It has the cut-down square fenders, steel road-wheels, no fuel cells on the superstructure flanks, and a typical white stripe running from front-to-rear on the center of the turret roof; these features are not properly presented in the Marking & Painting guide on the kits instruction sheet. The German Balkenkreuze (beamed cross) national insignia, seen on the turret sides on the Beutepanzer (booty tank) are generic enough as to not be an issue.
The variety of options in the box, official or otherwise, should make this kit very appealing to fans of the penultimate Soviet medium tank of the Great Patriotic War. As this is to be a limited edition, if the modeler wants one, now is the time to act.
Frank V. Curley Stooge De Sisto
References consulted for this review included, but were not limited to:
1. T-34, Stalins 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. T-34, Vol.1, Wydawnictwo Militaria 259, by M. Baryatinsky.
10. T-34/76 Medium Tank 1941-45, Osprey New Vanguard 9, by S. Zaloga.
11. T-34 Mythical Weapon, Armageddon/Airconnection, by R. Michulec & M. Zientarzewski.
12. Modelling the T-34/76, Osprey Modelling 33, by J. Alvear, M. Jimenez, M. Kirchoff & A. Wilder.
Reviewers note: Since May of 2005, I have been working on books for Concord Publications, a sister company to DML and Cyberhobby. The reader may wish to take this into consideration. For my part, I will attempt to maintain an objective viewpoint when writing these reviews.
Cyberhobby kits are available exclusively from them at their web site: www.cyber-hobby.com.
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