ARM: Review - DML 1/35 scale T-34/76 Mod 1943 Commander Cupola - Factory No. 112

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale =9139-=9145 Series Kit No. 658=
4; T-34/76 Mod. 1943 w/Commander Cupola Factory No. 112 - Smart Kit; 811 pa=
rts (518 in grey styrene, 160 =93Magic Track=94 twin links, 129 etched bras=
s, 3 clear styrene, 1 twisted steel wire); pre-order price US$48.95 via Dra=
goon USA Online=20
Advantages: large combination of T-34 parts will fill up many a parts box
Disadvantages: does not match photos of most known Factory No. 112 built la=
te model T-34 76mm tanks; large number of etched brass parts for a =93Smart=
Rating: Recommended
Recommendation: for T-34 fans with a deep parts box
It was not until early 1943 that Factory No. 183 chief designer Aleksandr =
Morozov got the authorities in Moscow to sign off on his being the chief de=
signer for all T-34s produced by all other factories. The reason he wanted =
this control was to ensure commonality of production and standardization of=
parts among all of the tanks.=20
Up until that time the factories were provided with the Factory No. 183 pl=
ans but made local changes as they saw fit. Factory No. 112 - =93Krasnoye S=
ormovo=94 =96 was no different, and in point of fact produced the early mod=
el T-34 with the small turret until mid 1943 as a result. Once the factorie=
s standardized, they upgraded their production to use the larger =93Gayka=
=94 six-sided cast turret.=20
Other changes were introduced as they went along. The Factory No. 112 tank=
s had a so-called =93Sharp Edge=94 turret with many small casting fillets u=
nder the swell of the turret, as well as the interlocking hull design used =
by =93Krasnoye Sormovo=94 from the beginning. As features were added, they =
applied them, with the result they quickly added the commander=92s cupola. =
When the restriction on using cast road wheels with internal buffers =96 ha=
ted as they made the tanks noisy and fatigued the crew =96 they adopted fir=
st the cast wheels and later the solid disk wheels more commonly seen on T-=
34-85 tanks.=20
DML=92s latest effort is supposed to replicate the very late production Fa=
ctory No. 112 76mm tanks, but it does not use the better known turret assoc=
iated with this factory. It does have the interlocking hull and profusion o=
f =93tankovyy desant=94 handrails for tank riders, as well as the very late=
production solid disk road wheels and rubber tires. It also uses the same =
turret casting numbers on both of the finishing options (found just forward=
of the pistol ports on Factory No. 112 turrets) which does not make sense.=
The rest of the parts are =93mix and match=94 sprues from DML as most mode=
lers who have built many kits are familiar with as a rule. As T-34s did not=
vary that much, this is not a bad thing and in most cases the parts are fi=
ne. It comes with several glacis plates (P1 is the =93winner=94) and stern =
plates too (P21 here). Three alternative engine decking grilles are provide=
d with P18 being the solid one and P19 the one to use with the provided etc=
hed brass parts. Note as with all DML engine grilles the louver mounting pl=
ate (MA1) will interfere with their fit on the rear of the hull so care mus=
t be taken to get it to fit correctly (e.g. trim the edges of the mounting =
plate back a couple of millimeters if you are not leaving the cover open).=
The kit is shown offering either the rounded bow for the glacis (P27) or t=
he sharp-edged one (C3) which was introduced for T-34-85 production. Rememb=
er these are very late production tanks (e.g. November 1943 and later) and =
may well have had the new bow installed.
Most of the rest of the model is pretty straightforward. It comes with =93=
Magic Track=94 two-section tracks (plate and tooth) so requires getting the=
geometry straight when installing the tracks (e.g. leave the idler wheel m=
ounts loose until fitting the tracks at the end to ensure the right number =
of links and the right amount of =93slop=94 are used).=20
Technical assistance was provided by Nick Cortese, Tom Cockle, and Gary Ed=
Two finishing options are offered: Unidentified Unit, Germany 1943/44 (red=
44-1, =93Choybalsan Mongoln=94, whitewash over 4BO green); and Unidentifie=
d Unit, Voronezh Front 1942/1943 (green heart with white drop, whitewash ov=
er 4BO green). Neither option makes any sense for a true Factory No. 112 =
=93Gayka=94 tank with cupola unless the first one was captured and the seco=
nd one was misidentified.=20
Overall, this is a nice kit but has a number of problem areas in its =93pe=
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample. =20
Cookie Sewell
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