Kit Review: cyber-hobby.com 1/35 scale Kit No. 22 (Dragon Models
Limited 1/35 scale '39-'45 series Kit No. 6388; T-34/76 STZ Mod. 1942
2-in-1; 734 parts (376 in grey styrene, 180 "Magic Track" links, 170
etched brass, 5 clear styrene, 2 twisted steel cables, 1 turned
aluminum barrel); price US$45.95 via DragonUSA
Advantages: FINALLY the STZ variant modelers have been looking for;
many different turret options possible with this kit
Disadvantages: releasing it as a "limited series" kit is a DUMB idea!
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all Soviet and "34" fans
To repeat what I wrote five months ago when the first T-34 STZ kit
appeared, when the Soviets realized war with Germany was inevitable,
and the T-34 began to show a great deal of promise, the Central
Committee of the CPSU approved its production at other factories. The
primary factory was the Kharkov Steam Locomotive Construction Factory
or Factory No. 183 in Kharkov. The first satellite factory was to be
the Stalingrad Tractor Factory in Stalingrad, aided by Factory No.
264, the Stalingrad Barge Works, and Factory No. 221, the "Barrikady"
artillery foundry. The second was Factory No. 112, "Krasnoye Sormovo,"
but they also had the advantage of getting 50 knocked-down T-34 tanks
to "learn on".
It took the STZ much longer to get their production started and the
first tanks did not began to roll off the lines until the end of 1940.
One of their problems - as with Factory No. 183 - was that the
Leningrad factory complexes were stingy with supplying them with the
short L-11 gun which mounted in the early T-34; in January 1941 they
switched to the superior F-32 design, and cut off the T-34 plants
entirely. Factory No. 183 led the changeover to their new gun, the
longer F-34, and the STZ followed suit.
Originally the STZ tanks were externally no different from the
Factory No. 183 tanks, and it was only over time and due to exigencies
that the design began to deviate due to local problems and changes to
facilitate high rates of production. The base design remained stable
through the fall of 1941. By the spring of 1942, the design had
changed. The wheels were now cast steel wheels with internal rubber
bushings vice the old pressed disks with rubber tires. The turret was
a rolled steel design with a removable plate that now covered the
entire rear of the turret. The hull design had been changed to
accommodate interlocking plates at the front, sides and rear, which is
considered the "classic" STZ hull design.
By summer 1942 the design had again been changed to now use a
"chisel" turret mantelet to speed production (the parts did not
require being pressed into shape as with the original design.) Later,
the Barge Works created newer designs of both cast and welded turrets
with the "chisel" mantelet and "notches" in the lower cheeks of the
turret; this is what most modelers consider the "classic" STZ turret.
By the time production ceased in early 1943, the factory had built
3,770 tanks, most of which had fought in the legendary battle of
Stalingrad. There is a myth that the tanks rolled off the production
lines and right into combat outside the factory, but while there is an
element of truth to the urgency of production it was not quite so
Five months ago many Soviet T-34 fans were quite disappointed when
DML released a Stalingrad T-34 kit - but not the different variant
they wanted, but basically the lightly modified variant based on the
early knocked-down T-34 kits they received from Factory No. 183 in
Kharkov. Now cyber-hobby.com has released a complete kit of the later
production STZ T-34 with the features modelers were looking for - the
"chisel" gun recoil mechanism cover, the "chopped" turret, and the
"notched" hull, and this kit is everything they could want in many
The kit comes with a totally new upper hull with the correct
"notched" hull joints. According to Steve Zaloga, this was caused by
two basic reasons: one, to speed up assembly of the hull; and two,
since the armor plate was a new high-hardness type of steel, which was
not amicable to being welded, it had to have the notching in order to
retain ballistic integrity when struck by solid shot projectiles. (The
Germans did the same thing for the same reasons - when the Soviets
fired blunt nose 122mm projectiles at German Tiger and Panther hulls
on test, they discovered they shattered the weld beads whereas pointed
rounds would either penetrate or gouge the armor.) This upper hull
comes with an integral glacis and fender assembly, so the others in
the kit are now spares.
Likewise, the kit comes with a new T-34 STZ early-type hull pan with
"notched" joints as well as the single road wheel arm stop on the
While the kit comes as a "2-in-1" with a choice of early or late STZ
turrets, it must be pointed out that this kit comes with a total of
THREE turrets - Factory No. 183 welded, STZ early welded, and STZ/
Factory No. 264 late welded. The latter is the one most modelers
associate with the Stalingrad Tractor Factory, and given all of the
options together there are four different main hatches and two new
turret roof options in this kit. Also, the STZ late turret has a
choice of regular or "chisel" recoil covers for the mantelet. The
turret roofs also provide for the modeler's choice of PT-4-7
periscopic sights - zero, one or two. A new clear sprue also provides
clear viewing devices for the driver's hatch. There are also a total
of four 76.2mm gun barrels included - one two-piece, two "slide
molded" and one turned aluminum.
The rest of the kit is basically most of what came in the STZ Model
1941 kit except that the pressed steel wheels are no longer included,
only the cast steel ones with internal buffering. The usual DML
options are provided such as the "Magic Track" two-section single link
tracks ("a" with guide tooth and "b" plate without) and a plentiful
fret of etched brass. Both 40 liter "box" spare fuel tanks are
included and the same odd selection of the 95 liter "cylinder" tanks
as was present in the T-34/76 cast turret kit (No. 6418). You also get
two styles of engine louvers (vertical and horizontal) and extra
fenders as well as spare glacis and driver's hatches.
Production credits are to Hirohisa Takada for supervision, Minoru
Igarashi and the Dragon engineering team for technical drawings, and
Nick Cortese for technical assistance.
The kit comes with a total of seven different finishing options:
Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front 1942 (4BO green with white crosses);
Unidentified Unit, 40th Army, Voronezh 1942 (4BO green with white
"swoosh" stripe); 5th Tank Army, Bryansk Front 1942 (4BO green, White
07 "Za Stalina!"); Unidentified Unit, Kaliningrad Front, 1942 (4BO
green, white 14 in triangle); Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front 1942
(4BO green with red decorated stars and white "Za Rodinu!");
Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front 1942 (4BO green with brown stripes
and white L2-IS); Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front 1942 (4BO green
with white 32-37). However, as is unfortunately too often the case,
cyber-hobby.com/DML do not tell you which is an "early" tank and which
is a "late" tank, which spoils the overall effect. Decals are targeted
and from Cartograf.
Overall this is the kit many modelers have been waiting for patiently
- but the only really dumb thing here is that DML is currently
releasing it as a "limited" kit with low circulation, which is
unfortunate. This one should have been a full court press and wide
release, and as a result there is going to be complaining over access.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
- posted 14 years ago