by: Matthew Lenton [ ]
The 41M Turan I was a Hungarian license built upgrade of the Skoda designed S-IIr / T-21 tank, itself a development of the LT-35 (aka the Pz.Kpfw. 35(t)). 285 units of the 5 man crewed, 16 tonne Turan I, armed with a Skoda 40mm gun, were produced between 1941 and 1943.
Polish kit manufacturer IBG are doing a good job of filling some gaps in the world of injection moulded 1/72 armour, with several Japanese, Swedish and Hungarian tanks in their range that I believe were previously only available as resin kits. Here we will build and paint their Turan I kit.
Packed in a proper top opening tray and lid box are six sprues with a very nice A4 colour stapled booklet of instructions.
Sprue A: Hull sides and track guards small details
Sprue D x 2: Wheels, bogies, link and length tracks
Sprue E: Hull bottom components and machine guns
Sprue G: Hull top
Sprue H: Turret
A single finishing option representing a tank of the 1st Cavalry Division, Spring 1944 is illustrated, being in overall darkish green with hard edged patches of dark yellow and brown. The decal sheet has decals for more than one vehicle, but only one set is indicated to be used, Iím guessing the other set may be for the Turan II kit.
Mould quality is very good, with reasonably sized and placed sprue gates. The sprues are fairly robust, the plastic being quite hard, and with a number of fine parts in this kit, care will be needed to remove some components, including releasing some of the tension on them by cutting out the surrounding section of sprue before freeing the part from it. The armour plates are covered in many tiny rivets, which are mostly well sized and fairly regular in appearance, and care will necessary when cleaning up and cementing parts to avoid damaging them. Having counted a few on the hull side and turret, the numbers also seem good, and in most places the distribution looks accurate in comparison to photo references.
Slide moulds are in evidence on the three small sprues and have allowed for good detailing on the turret and hull sides, as well as tiny holes in the muzzles of the two 8mm machine guns, which is a nice touch, and end of the 40mm gun barrel is also open. In terms of simplifications, itís a shame that while the box-like commanderís cupola is provided as a separate part, the hatches are all moulded closed, and the ventilation grilles on the hull sides and top are all solid, although the moulding itself is well done. Of special mention is the separate shovel and pry bar, which is very delicately represented.
As mentioned above, the tracks are link and length type, with the links that wrap around the idlers and sprockets being provided as single units while other sections are in various longer runs. The tracks are perhaps a little bit too thin, in photos of the real thing they have a chunkier appearance.
The road wheels are mounted in two layers into two bogies on each side, joined by a flat member on the outside. The instructions direct that individual wheels be attached to each side of the bogie then these be brought together, but given the small size, I preferred to join the wheels first to make sure they were straight. Having removed them from the sprue (photo 1) half were pressed into blue tack, then the other wheel cemented on (2). The bogies were then prepared (3) and the wheels added to the long conjoined outer bogie part, then the inner part sandwiching on top. For one set of four wheels on a single bogie, around 13 points are being cemented in one go, so to keep it all lined up and in contact while the cement set I used two pairs of tweezers with clamps (4).
With all of that setting on one side, we turn to the hull bottom (5) which is assembled from three main plates (6) with the upper nose plate being added at the same time to make sure all is square (7). Note the internal surface of the side plates includes some exterior detail above the upper nose plate, so cement is applied there from underneath to avoid damage.
Now we return to the completely set bogies (8) carrying out any necessary tidying up on them, and then assembling the two part return rollers (9) of which there are five on each side. The rollers are quite long and the mountings small, so a fair amount of work is needed to make sure they are lined up correctly as the cement sets (10, 11) bearing in mind that the upper tracks will be glued to them, so any misalignment now will result in misshapen track runs later.
We now assemble the two part sprockets and toothed idlers, which look very similar but are not identical, so we make sure we know which is which, photo 12 showing the front drive sprocket. In between these pairs, there is one more wheel unit that sits between the drive sprocket and the first road wheel, and this is again assembled as two halves (13). Photo 14 shows the sprockets and idlers all aligned and set in place. The holes on the front track wheels needed a little enlargement in order to seat correctly on the mounting bracket (15), and were then sandwiched under the outer bracket (16).
The completed bogies attach to the hull at just two quite shallow points (17) so a decent bond is important to make sure all remains lined up (18, 19) in preparation for the track assembly. Following an overnight setting, we can proceed with the tracks. I started with the top run leading to the drive sprocket, then worked my way down the sprocket with the single links (20). The issue to keep in mind is that the entire run must join up at the end, and I think the best place for any adjustment that may be necessary in order to fit the last link in, is between the last road wheel and the idler where we can make the run more or less curved. So having completed down to the front track wheel, I then worked back and around the rear idler (21). In order to make the links sit close enough to each other, it helped to slightly enlarge the gaps where the links interlock (22). Photo 23 shows the first side completed, while photo 24 shows that front track wheel being cemented and clamped down against the track. A few extra single track links are provided to cover for breakage or loss.
So after a cup of tea, a beer or whatever you need to celebrate the completion of all that, turning to the hull superstructure, we start by cementing the front plate to the upper hull (25). This is a thoughtful piece of design as in photos of the real tank this is obviously a very thick plate, and this separate item replicates that appearance well. A small correction was carried out to the side of the track guard, which is moulded sloping away to the rear, while photos clearly show it sloping slightly forward at the bottom edge (26).
The cylindrical exhaust mufflers fit well to the brackets (27) followed by other upper hull details, including tool cases on the track guard fronts, headlamps, aerial socket (28), two jacks on the engine deck, and also the smoke grenade rack on the rear plate (29). I chose to leave the shovel and spare wheels off for now, to be painted separately.
The turret assembles from the base, superstructure and cupola (30). The periscopes are moulded in place but are well rendered, as are the hatch and hinge details, although it is a shame that none of them are openable. The one piece open ended gun is mounted into a small mantlet, and the coaxial machine gun directly to the turret front, so all is perfectly simple (31).
As the side skirts overlap the top of the tracks, for me this is not an easy kit to paint once completely assembled, so I did some of it before final assembly, in the following way. Start by masking off the lower hull, including the joining surfaces, leaving the tracks, suspension and hull sides exposed (32), also protecting the joining surface on the upper hull (33). Photo 34 shows the turret and the final small details readied for painting, including the rear tow hooks which overlap slightly with the join between upper and lower hull, so they will be added after that assembly is done.
Halfords aerosol black primer was applied to the sides, and to the undersides of the track guards (35), followed by XF-73 dark green sprayed on to the wheels and hull sides, trying to mostly avoid the tyres and tracks (36).
With the hard to reach parts now coated in black or green, the hull was assembled (37). Obviously more time could be spent on painting and weathering the running gear before doing this, but Iím trying not to spend too long over itÖ Now the green painted wheels and hull are masked with tape and everything exposed is coated in primer (38, 39).
Photos of the three colour Hungarian camouflage scheme show the wheels in plain green, so they stay masked while the colours are applied, starting with dark yellow (40). After applying some blue tack, the brown was painted (41), then more blue tack followed by green (42). After leaving the paint to cure overnight, all the masking is removed (43, 44).
The usual gloss varnish was used as a base for the decals, which went on perfectly well, apart from that big aerial recognition cross on the engine deck. The problem is in the size and that it overlaps just a little with the hinges and latches of the hatch that it is on, as well as going over the opening itself. I managed to tear mine a little in one corner while trying to press it down over the details, though not too badly, and using a few coats of Microsol and Microset it did bed down acceptably. Notice that the decal sheet includes two big white crosses the same size, so it might have been better if Iíd masked off a square after painting the black primer, then applied the white cross on top.
A basic finish of a dark Humbrol pin wash and some AK winter streaking grime brings all the rivets out and calms down the camouflage (45, 46). There remained the final details to be added, including the spare wheels on the rear plate (47), the fire extinguisher, the very nice shovel and pry bar, the axe and the wire cutters, all of which can be seen in place on the photos of the completed model. A final coat of satin varnish, the turret put in place, and it is finished enough for review purposes.
Not the simplest of small scale tank builds then, with the elaborate wheel assemblies broken down in to individual components and the link and length tracks. None of it is hard however, more just time consuming, with everything fitting into place well, and the instructions doing an excellent job of explaining the assembly, including very useful and clear as-built images in every step. Once the running gear is out of the way then the rest is quick and simple, with only working out how to paint it providing any challenge.
The model seems largely accurate when compared to reference photos. Iíve noted the track links as looking perhaps a touch under size, and the slightly misshapen leading edge of the track guard, the latter an easy fix. You can see in the photos that the openings in the side louvres are quite shallow and really need a fully black shadow to be applied to them. If you wanted to add detail, then lifting hooks could be added to the small plates that are visible on the upper sides of the turret. If we want to be very picky about rivets, then those on the angled plate behind the fire extinguisher and headlamp are noticeably smaller than those on the front and side plates on either side, and while the spacing on the turret looks spot on, where it can be seen that the top and bottom pair of the vertical run are slightly closer together than the rest of the rivets, that same closer pairing doesnít feature on the hull side plates, where the vertical runs are evenly spaced. Having said that, the rear of the side plate is perfectly correct in that there is no corner rivet, top or bottom. Enough of the rivets.
Another decently detailed, thoughtfully designed and well-presented kit from IBG, filling another gap in the injection moulded small scale tank scene; at 10.50 Euros the price is also very fair. IBG deserve to shift quite a few of these, and letís hope they continue to expand their ďgap-fillingĒ range.