ARM: Review - DML 1/35 scale T-34 76mm Mod 1943 Formochka w/Commander's Cupola

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale ?39-?45 series Kit No. 660 3; T-34 /76 Mod. 1943 ?Formochka? w/Commander?s Cupola - Smart Kit;
644 parts (395 in grey styrene, 160 ?Magic Track? links, 85 etched bra ss, 3 clear styrene, 1 twisted steel wire); pre-order price US$49.95 via Dr agon USA Online
Advantages: Still another T-34 variant appears as a kit; kit provides a goo d version of a late-production Factory No. 183 or (with work or replacement hull) No. 112 tank
Disadvantages: name not found in any history of the T-34
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all Soviet and ?34" fans
    As I noted with the appearance of the first pressed steel T-34 turret vari ant, even though the Soviets quickly decided on producing two versions of t he Model 1941 T-34 turrets ? cast and welded ? even with new casting te chniques using steel molds they were hard pressed to keep up with productio n requirements. Another source of turrets was required. As a result, in Oct ober 1942 the State Committee on Defense (GKO) ordered the UZTM factory to produce pressed steel turrets as they could double the speed of production by this method.
    The new turret design ? called ?Shtampovannaya Bashnya? or the press ed turret ? was based on the cast turrets from Factory No. 183, but here the UZTM used its 10,000 ton ?Shleman? steel press (which had been use d to make components for destroyers and other warships) to produce the new turrets from 45mm homogenous rolled armor plate. Under the direction of chi ef designer L. Ye. Gorlitskiy it was hoped the design would use 60mm plate, but the press could not handle this and thus 45mm plate was used. Surprisi ngly during testing it was found to be superior in protection to the then s tandard 52mm cast turret armor.
    UZTM produced both the cast turrets as well as the pressed steel turrets i n parallel and sent out to other T-34 factories for production, but most co mmonly they were seen on Factory No. 112 (Krasnoye Sormovo) chassis. When p roduction ceased on 1 March 1944 UZTM had produced between 2,050 and 2,062 of these turrets. They were used for both regular T-34 Model 1942 tanks as well as the Model 1943 with the commander?s cupola. While Factory No. 183 built more than 5,700 tanks with the cupola there is no way to determine h ow many actually had the pressed steel UZTM turret; ditto the Krasnoye Sorm ovo tanks. The latter did produce its OT-34 tanks with this turret, however .
    This tank has always been a popular variant of the T-34 due to its unique turret shape, and now DML has updated its earlier Model 1942 pressed steel turret kit (No. 6487) with this modified turret and what appears to be a ne w production cupola, The name ?Formochka? puzzles me, for it is not use d by any contemporary Russian source nor any modern Russian historian, but only as a slang term (also used for ?vacuform? as well) on Russian mode lers? websites. DML continues to use it which is unfortunate.
    Be that as it may, the kit provides all of the parts from the previous kit with a new mold turret roof to accept the new cupola. The rest of the olde r turret bits are retained, but no aluminum barrel is provided. The roof pa rts are integral.
    The kit adds several new sprues to the latest set of the molds and provide s the cast wheels, cast wheels with rubber tires, new stern plate, new radi ator 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 500 mm ?waffle? tracks are provided in the form of a new set of ?Magic Li nk? single link tracks. Each link does come with two ejection pin marks o n the inner face, but these stand proud and while tedious are easily remove d.
    As noted many older but well-done parts are used in this kit. The late-mod el double bump stops on the lower hull molding are still present, as previo usly noted they can?t really be seen when the model is assembled and is a ?so what? correction.
    The model comes with two standard PT periscopic sight/viewer with the ?a corn? shaped cover found on most T-34s as well as the ?cylinder? one seen on some tanks for the loader. A gun breech and partial interior to the turret are provided as with all of the DML T-34 kits. As noted the kit doe s not provide the late-model commander?s cupola, but one could be adapted from a Tamiya T-34 Model 1943 kit. Note that these tanks could and did car ry external fuel tanks, with one each going on the rear sides of the tank a nd two smaller ones on the stern plate; it is recommended you try to get co pies of ?T-34 Snizhu Doverkhu? by Sergey Kirsanov (Frontline Illustrate d, a Russian magazine) if possible to see how these attach.
    This project is listed as supervised by Hirohisa Takada, with drawings fro m Minoru Igarashi and the Dragon design team; technical assistance was prov ided by Nick Cortese.
    Two different finishing directions are provided: Unidentified Unit, Easter n Front 1944 (4BO green, white diamond 4); 119th Independent Engineer Tank Regiment, 1st Baltic Front, Operation Bagration 1944 (4BO green, ?David S asunskiy?, white diamond S, whte 46). A targeted set of Cartograf decals are provided.
    Overall, this is a nice execution of this variant of the final 76mm versio n of the T-34.
    Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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