The T-34 suely rivals the Tiger and Sherman as the most famous tank of WW2. With its sloping armour, powerful gun and good mobility it came as a nasty shock to the German army, and such was its superiority on the battlefield that it was suggested in some quarters that German industry produce a direct copy. However, the German High Command did note the excellent design features and incorporated them into the design of the Panther.
The kit comes in a box with a colourful picture on the front and painting guide on the back. Inside the sprues and decals are held in a sealed plastic bag. There are five sprues molded in green that hold the plastic parts. There are also two rubber sprues holding the roadwheel "tyres" and the tow cables, and there is one small fret of etched parts.
The parts breakdown is typical of kits in this scale. The upper hull is in one piece and the detail is nicely molded. The surface has a cast texture, as have the two turret halves. I should think care will be needed when fixing the two turret halves together to get them aligned properly. Any sanding on the joint would damage this cast texture which does look well done. I notice that on the hull rear there is an access panel or hatch molded on. For some reason the cast texture stops short of it. Maybe in the factory this area was smoothed out with a grinder?
Some items especially the grab handles, look a bit on the thick side, some modellers may decide to make replacements from wire. All the surface detail in this kit looks crisply done and there is no evidence of flash. The only fault I found in the casting was to one of the roadwheels and this can be hidden by placing it as one of the inside wheels in a pair.
The tracks are of the link-and-length type. They are nicely detailed and should look realistic with a good paint job. The rubber tyres have seams on their outer edges that will need cleaning up. I'm not sure how these rubber tyres will react when the plastic tracks are attached, it may be a case of having to use super glue to fix the track parts in place. When I build the kit I wiil do a test on a scrap piece before assembly to check how they react to liquid poly.
A small etched fret contains three parts, the main one being the engine deck grill. This will add even greater detail the the area.
The instructions are of the usual exploded line drawing type. They are clearly laid out and should be easy to follow. On the front is a parts map, any parts not required for use are shaded. Note should be made of the correct turret roof to use as there are two in the kit, and obviously one is not used. On the back are diagrams showing decal placement.
The decals are thin and have a matt surface. Options are given for six vehicles ranging from spring 1943 to Autumn 1944. In all cases the decals fit only to the turret sides.
I am impressed with the quality of the moldings on this kit. My only concerns are the joints in the turret assembly (loss of the nice cast texture) and the use of rubber for the tyres and tow cables, (how will they glue and how will they take paint?). I guess I'll find out when I build this kit. Hopefully they may not be problematical at all. Apart from this it looks to be good value for money.
My Thanks to Squadron
for the review sample