by: Darren Baker [ ]
The T34 tank is possibly the most mass produced tank there is in its various versions, and if it is not it is certainly up there. The T34 saw service with more countries than I can possibly list here, and it was still being used in active service at the turn of the century. Zvezda has released a 1/72nd scale offering of the T34/85.
This offering of the T34/85 is packaged in an end opening carton that is not up to the rigors of the postal system. Inside of the carton is a plastic bag which contains;
1 grey sprue
1 black sprue
The lower hull
A decal sheet
An instruction leaflet
An inspection of the model parts gives me a fairly positive opinion of the models quality. I have not seen or located any ejector pin marks in areas that will be seen on the finished model. There is zero flash present on the model and this is especially pleasing from looking at the wheels.
The wheels and tracks are the stars of this product in my opinion, the wheels are exceptionally well detailed for this scale, especially when compared to my limited experience of armour kits in this scale. Every single hole in the wheels is represented and should provide a very pleasing look to the finished model. The tracks are injection moulded plastic and so while harder to form, will look better than rubber band tracks. To shape the tracks I suggest the use of hot water and then shape them on the wheels, not the easiest task, but it does allow some sag to be represented if required.
The hull of the model is a single piece lower and single piece upper, form what I can see everything looks fine to me as regards shape and form. Moulded on detail is of an acceptable level, but areas such as the exhausts that are supplied separately will need to be drilled to improve the appearance. I would have liked to see the drivers hatch supplied separately with the option of assembly open or closed, but that is not the end of the world. The tow wires have been supplied on the sprue and are pre-shaped; these have been textured and will look better than moulded on lines. The spare track links could be better detailed, but will meet with the needs of most. The separately mould hull machine gun and tow wire locating points, look good if a little fiddly to add.
The turret of the model is fairly simplistic as regards construction, but this does not mean the model is poorly detailed. The shape of the turret looks good, but I cannot see any of the crude weld detail present on T-34 tanks. The barrel of the main gun can be elevated and depressed as required, but again will be improved considerably in a little of the muzzle is drilled out; this is kind of a shame as the location of the barrel on the sprue would make it easy to provide this detail from the box via the slide moulding process. The commanderís hatch is supplied as a separate part, but again this does not offer the option of having the hatches open, this is also true of the gunners hatch. The moulded on detail such as the periscopes have been tackled well and should meet the expectations of most modellers.
The decals for the model look fine as regards the printing and what is present, but I cannot comment on the logo provided; these are frequently incorrectly portrayed. That said Zvezda being a Russian company tells me this aspect should be correct. The instruction sheet is well laid out and so should be easily followed by most. This model and some small scale aircraft kits I am reviewing will be going to a scout group locally to build, and so I will try to get you some pictures and feedback on how they got on.
For a 1/72nd scale model I was very pleased. The detail and look of the moulded parts look good and depending on ability should provide a pleasing finish. I was very impressed with the detail and effort put into the tracks and wheels for this offering from Zvezda. the one thing I would have liked to see mentioned in the instructions would be the placement of grab handles, these are quite prominent on the T-34 and also help to distinguish types of T-34; I can forgive the lack of inclusion due to size, but something should be pointed out.