ARM: Review - DML 1/35 Scale T-34/76 Mod 1942 Hexagonal Turret Soft Edge

Kit Review:Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale =9139-=9145 series Kit No.
6462; T-34 /76 Mod. 42 Hexagonal Turret Soft Edge - Smart Kit; 555
parts (326 in grey styrene, 160 =93Magic Track=94 links, 63 etched brass,
4 clear styrene, 2 twisted steel wire); price estimated at US$45-50
Advantages: Most accurate kit of this version of the T-34 now in
production; fairly generic version of the tank
Disadvantages: may not meet some modelers=92 expectations of =93their=94
version of the tank
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all Soviet and =9334" fans
While the Soviet T-34 tank was the best tank in the world at the time
of its introduction, it suffered from some severe operational
drawbacks. Most critical were the fact that the turret was cramped and
made conditions for observing the battlefield difficult. Also, the
turret design was complex and required machining to prepare it for
assembly.
Since they could not carry out massive redesign of the tank at the
time =96 late 1941 =96 the Soviets instead designed a roomier turret
better suited for casting which would fit the standard 1420mm turret
race of the Model 1941 tanks. The new turret was rationally laid out
to give the highest amount of protection to the frontal 60 degree arc
of the tank, and used a simple modified hexagonal shape to achieve
this. The new turret, quickly dubbed the =93Gayka=94 (hex nut), went into
production in early 1942.
Another major change in the tank was to switch from rubber tired
pressed or cast steel wheels to internally buffered steel wheels which
use a similar operating concept to those on the KV series tanks. But
this was quickly found to be too fatiguing for T-34 crews, and
therefore starting in April 1942 the first and last road wheel
stations were fitted with cast steel wheels with rubber tires. This
tank remained in full production until January 1944 when the T-34-85
series tanks began to enter production, but some factories continued
to produce them for a few more months. Also, in 1943 a much-needed
commander=92s cupola was added to the design.
DML has now answered the requests of many T-34 fans and released a
Model 1942 series tank with the =93Gayka=94 turret. The kit also adds the
cast wheels and an extra set of the rubber tired cast wheels, so the
modeler has his choice of early or standard 1942 production tanks. The
tank also comes with the seven-bolt rear plate and seven-bolt exhaust
shrouds as well.
The turret is the generic T-34 cast turret which was produced by
several of the factories, but this one appears closest to that from
Uralmashzavod. It has the rolled and smoothed lower casting joint
(referred to by modelers as =93soft edge=94) and the small bolted plate
between the two hatches on the roof. While a number of variations
exist, the lead factory =96 Factory No. 183 in Nizhniy Tagil =96 got full
authority to standardize all components and by 1944 had managed to get
most of the factories using the same molds and casting methods to
create cast turrets (Chelyabinsk used pressed steel for theirs which
was unique until they stopped manufacturing T-34s in 1944.) I=92ve
never really been able to find out how many of the =93Gayka=94 turreted
tanks were built, but a good estimate would be about 16,000 and
another 3,000 with the commander=92s cupola.
The kit adds several new sprues to the latest set of the molds and
provides the cast wheels, cast wheels with rubber tires, new stern
plate, new radiator exhaust grilles, and the turret and detail
components. The shapes and angles match the Russian plans of the tank
I have on hand. A new set of 500mm =93waffle=94 tracks are provided in the
form of a new set of =93Magic Link=94 single link tracks. Each link does
come with two ejection pin marks on the inner face, but these stand
proud and while tedious are easily removed.
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=92t really be seen when the model
is assembled and is a=93so what=94 correction.
The kit comes with three different stern plates but only the one on
the =93Gayka=94 turret sprue is probably best for this version.
The turret sprue (L) includes a one-piece shell (thanks to =93slide
molding=94) 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.
The model comes with a standard PT periscopic sight/viewer with the
=93acorn=94 shaped cover found on most T-34s. The modeler has a choice of
but one barrels for the F-34 gun: a one-piece item with hollow bore
from =93slide=94 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; technical
assistance was provided by Nick Cortese.
Three different finishing directions are provided: Unidentified Unit,
Eastern Front 1943 (4BO green with lozenge 2 - 71 in white);
Unidentified Unit, Southwestern Front, Middle Don 1943 (whitewash over
4BO green, Red 252); and =93Moskovskiy Kolkhoznik=94 (Moscow Collective
Farm Worker), Moscow Kolkhoz, Eastern Front 1943 (whitewash with name
in red during presentation ceremonies). A targeted set of Cartograf
decals are provided.
Overall, this is a great improvement over the Italeri/Zvezda and
Tamiya kits and should be quite popular, as well as herald the rest of
the =93Gayka=94 turreted 76mm tanks.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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AMPSOne
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