ARM: Review --

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/72 Armor Pro Kit No. 7266; T-34/76
Mod. 1942; 16 parts (102 in grey styrene, 2 DS tracks in tan, 1 etched
metal, 1 twisted steel wire); price about US $11-12
Advantages: Even better than Model 1941 kit; large number of optional
parts and accessories
Disadvantages: DS tracks cut long for sag, may need close attention
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: For all small scale and Soviet WWII modelers
The T-34 Model 1940 and Model 1941 were a big shock for the Germans,
but they had a number of serious problems from the Soviet point of
view. They required a lot of scarce materials such as rubber, many
assemblies were welded, and the turret was extremely cramped. As a
result, the tank underwent some redesign and along with the new 5-speed
transmission added during the Model 1941 production run they changed
the things which were wrong.
The rubber tire road wheels were replaced with cast steel ones having
a small rubber bushing in the center, but these were quickly found to
be too hard on both the tank and the crew. While official orders were
to use nothing but steel road wheels, most factories quickly created a
new cast steel version with a rubber tire. These were used on the first
and fifth road wheel stations on both sides, and eventually - as US
supplies of synthetic rubber began to make up the difference - the
tanks gradually shifted back to rubber tires on all wheels.
Cast turrets were used in both the Model 1940 and Model 1941, but a
new, more efficient and larger turret was created for the T-34, and
even though there were several variations, all were cast. (The pressed
steel turret from Chelyabinsk was a different approach to producing
turrets of this design.) The Germans called them "Mickeymaus"
turrets as with the hatches open they looked like mouse ears; the
Soviets dubbed it the "Gayka" or "hex nut" due to its hexagonal
shape.
The new tank, generally referred to as the "Model 1942" by most
Russian authors, did not really get an official title but was referred
to as the T-34, just like its predecessors. The Germans called it the
T-34/76D, a later model with commander's cupola the T-34/76E and the
Chelyabinsk tanks the T-34/76F. All were four man tanks; the T-34 did
not get a formal fifth crew member until the T-34-85 series tanks came
out in late 1943.
DML has followed on the heels of their very nice T-34 Model 1941 with
this kit, and it comes with many nice touches. One of the surprising
ones is that it comes with nearly all of the accessories found in the
Tamiya "Model 1943" 1/35 kit of the same vehicle; handrails, tools,
boxes, unditching logs, and rear auxiliary fuel tanks. It also
possesses "slide molded" double wheel sets for the running gear
with the two wheel pairs made as a single part. It provides the correct
four rubber tired and six steel wheel pairs. The gun barrel is molded
with a hollow tip, and a basic interior for the turret is provided.
The engine deck comes with a choice of air exhaust grilles - solid
or a frame with an etched metal insert. Somehow this is one of the
nicer features of the DML kits, as none of the other manufacturers seem
to think this far ahead. Not all modelers are fans of etched metal, and
giving the modeler the choice in one box is a truly great idea.
The model comes with a great - and for once useful! - decal sheet
and a choice of six different finishing options: 264th Tank Brigade,
4th Guards Tank Corps, an unidentified vehicle at Kharkov, two options
(summer or winter) from the 30th Guards Tank Brigade, and one captured
tank from the SS division "Das Reich".
Overall this is a great kit and should prove very popular.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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AMPSOne
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