ARM: Review - DML 1/35 scale OT-34-76 Mod 43 Factory No. 112

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale ‘39-‘45 series Kit No. 6614; OT-34 /76 Mod. 1944 (No. 112 Factory) - Smart Kit; 737 parts
(415 in grey stryene, 168 “Magic Track” links, 142 etched brass, 4 clear styrene, 1 twisted steel wire, 2 pre-formed wire, 1 wire); price estimated at US$52.50
Advantages: First “factory” kit of this tank; nicely done replica of external flame equipment
Disadvantages: may not meet some modelers’ expectations of “their” version of the tank
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all Soviet and “34" fans
    The Soviets were among the first nations to determine the value of what they called “chemical tanks” and produce them in quantity. But unlike WW I French attempts with the Renault FT, they took two paths: smoke layers and flamethrower tanks. The former never caught on as the smoke equipment originally took up the entire fighting compartment and left the tank defenseless; the ulitmate solution were two smoke pots at the rear of the hull of normal tanks triggered by the crew.
    The flamethrower was another story. The Soviet design of tank-mounted flame weapons was more compact than those of other nations as they took a different approach. Whereas most other nations used compressed air to propel the mixture from the weapon, the Soviets used black power charges to fire a burst of 10 liters of mixture at a time. Range was 60-70 meters with the normal mixture or up to 120 with a thickened mixture introduced during WWII. Normal supply was 100 liters inside the tank with later vehicles carrying another 100 liters in two tanks at the rear of the vehicle.
    Initially the flame weapons replaced 45mm guns in T-26 tanks or shared duties with them as in the KV-8 series flamethrower tanks. While the latter could carry a tremendous amount of mixture, it was a waste of chassis, and so in 1942 experiments were made to fit the ATO-41 to the T-34 in place of the bow DT machine gun. These were successful, and the first test series of OT-34 tanks with the ATO-41 flamethrower were produced in February 1942 by the Stalingrad Tractor Factory. Later the installation was used on all other production models of the T-34, and a modified version (the ATO-42) was later fitted to the T-34-85.
    DML has now introduced a mid-war production variant of the OT-34 on their Model 1943 kit as a Factory No. 112 (Krasnoye Sormovo) model. This is basically their very nice T-34 Model 1943 with cupola (Kit No. 6564) with some swapped sprues ana a new set of parts for the OT-34. This primarily consists of the ATO-41 mount for the forward machine gun mount and two 50 liter spare mixture tanks for the rear of the hull. It should be noted that the bow DT gun and mount are still included in the kit.
    The model comes with the post-April 1943 return to “disk” drivers with perforated tires but also includes two sets of cast road wheels which were more common in the early production variants.
        As it is a “mix and match” kit it combines parts from the DML Model 1940/41 kitss, the T-34 Model 1942 “Soft Edge” turret kit, and their T-34-85 kits along the Model 1943 cupola . The turret is the generic T-34 Model 1942 but with the molds modified to provide a mounting for the commander’s cupola. While the profile of the cast turret appears closest to that from Uralmashzavod, this time DML has designated it as a “No. 112 Factory" tank. As an aside, at this point in time Aleksandr A. Morozov, chief designer at Factory No. 183, had been ordered by Stalin to take responsibility for all T-34 production regardless of factory. As a result turrets after that point did not vary as much as prior to his taking full control, so modelers following “guides” should not place as great stock in them as prior to mid 1943.
    The kit uses nearly all of the sprues which came with the Model 1943 commander’s cupola turret cited. The shapes and angles match the Russian plans of the tank I have on hand. A new set of 500mm “waffle” tracks are provided in the form of a new set of “Magic Link” single link tracks, and DML has added four more flat plate links as spares. Each link does come with two ejection pin marks on the inner face, but these stand proud and while tedious are easily removed. However, the spares were usually one plate and one toothed link bolted together tooth plate up on the rear of the fenders.
    As noted many older but well-done parts are used in this kit. The late-model double bump stops on the lower hull molding are still present, as previously noted they can’t really be seen when the model is assembled and is a“so what” correction.
    The kit comes with three different stern plates but only the one on the “Gayka” turret sprue is probably best for this version.
    The turret sprue (L) includes a one-piece shell (thanks to “slide molding”) with even the holes for the mantlet bolts and mounting guides in place. The cast-in reinforcements under the turret are present as are some casting marks on the turret. When joining the turret top and bottom do not be too fastidious as the race section and top section were welded together after casting, and the weld bead could be pretty rough; also the cleanup of mold edging was done for speed and not finesse. Casting numbers for this turret are included on the OT-34 sprue, but as they are quite delicate DML has given the modeler eight sets to ensure you can “get it right” with the use of a chisel blade or single edged razor blade.
    Note that for this kit all fuel tank brackets and most of the other brackets HAVE to be made from etched brass; this somewhat defeats the original “Smart Kit” philosophy of having most items made from styrene with minimal extra brass bits.
    The model comes with a standard PT periscopic sight/viewer with the “acorn” shaped cover found on most T-34s. The modeler has a choice of but one barrel for the F-34 gun: a one-piece item with hollow bore from “slide” molding and muzzle cap molded in place. A gun breech and partial interior to the turret are provided as with all of the DML T-34 kits.
    This project is listed as supervised by Hirohisa Takada, with drawings from Minoru Igarashi and the Dragon design team.
    Only a single finishing option is provided: the “Dmitriy Donskoy” battalion, Eastern Front 1943 (whitewash over 4BO green with red lettering). The lettering is provided on a small Cartograf sheet.
    Overall, this is a unique variant, but for many modelers the basic Model 1943 may suffice with its inclusion of the ATO-41 head as well.
    Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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