Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale =9139-=9145 series Kit No.6479); T-34 /76 No. 112 Factory =93Krasnoe Sormovo=94 Late Production - Smart Kit; 687 parts (406 in grey styrene, 160 =93Magic Track=94 track links, 115 etched brass, 4 clear styrene, 1 twisted steel wire, 1 turned aluminum barrel); price estimated at US$50
; 781 parts (578 in grey styrene, 180 =93Magic Track=94 links, 119 etched brass, 2 clear styrene, 1 twisted steel wire, 1 turned aluminum barrel); price US$39.95 via Dragon USA Online (6452)
Advantages: release of popular T-34 variant as a mainline kit good idea; dedicated parts match up well with known information on this version; plentiful options and choices; nicely done =93slide molded=94 turret
Disadvantages: no major disconnects noted
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all Soviet and =9334" fans
Dragon occasionally gets the message from what modelers ask for and will take a limited release variant of a kit produced by their cyber- hobby.com affiliate and release a modified version as a regular kit. (Either that or they =93test the waters=94 with the limited production one and then release the broad market version if it sells out; I have no clue how they actually work their marketing and research.)
As noted with the previous =93Early Production=94 kit, the Soviets always tried to come up with the lowest common denominator for mass production: pick one good design, and then put them into mass production at two or more factories. As a result, they rarely had a singularly outstanding weapons system, but they had very good ones and a lot of them. Such was the case with the T-34, which had been picked just prior to WWII to be the standard medium tank.
The =93home=94 or lead factory was Factory No. 183 in Kharkov, and it was to be followed by Factory No. 112 - =93Krasnoye Sormovo=94 - and then the Stalingrad Tractor Factory (STZ) in getting the tank into mass production of more than 2,000 tanks per year.After the war began, on25 August 1941 Factory No. 183 sent five knocked-down T-34 Model 1941 tanks to Factory No. 112 along with nine machine tool jigs and five =93kontovateli=94 =96 a very large barrel-hoop shaped rotating jig for welding the hull components together. As Factory No. 112 had been working on partially knocked-down T-34s for some time, they were prepared and had two of the hulls finished by 1 September. In that month they received another 35 knock-downs from the armor factory at Mariupol=92 and made 48 more on their own.
Due to the fact that the armor plate they were manufacturing was quite hard and edge welding was not as reliable as needed, they switched to a =93notched=94 construction design to fit the glacis plate to the hull sides. Prototypes were finished by 25 October and then full scale production commenced. Documentation was provided to the STZ; they later adopted a similar style but used it for both the glacis and upper stern plate.
Other than the =93notched=94 assembly at the front, the hull =93signatures= =94 of Factory No. 112 tanks were the large hinges at the rear for both the air exhaust grille and the entire upper plate. The upper rear plate also introduced a round access hatch held in place by four bolts; later this was modified to a larger one held in place by seven bolts but offset slightly to the right. The turrets generally matched the Factory No. 183 designs (e.g. with or without the rear bolted hatch for gun barrel replacement access; without it the turret had to lifted by a crane and tilted forward to get to the barrel) but with some minor changes in form and shape.
The other item that distinguished Factory No. 112 tanks from the rest of the T-34s were the fact they sported more handrails for =93tankoviy desant=94 riders than any others =96 up to four on the turret and 14 on the hull!
This version is the later production variant which was produced into1943 when the six-sided =93Gayka=94 turret design. I haven=92t found the changeover point yet but there were probably more than 2,900 of these tanks built. This kit builds on the previous =93boutique=94 release by adding or replacing three sprues and the tracks and modifying several other sprues to match this vehicle. As a result, it only comes with the later rear plate with seven-bolt hatch and not the early four-bolt option.
The tracks are unique to Factory No. 112 and have a different =93waffle=94 pattern. Also provided are the unique rubber rimmed road wheels (the steel wheels were awful and even as soon as April 1942 the Soviets were trying to switch back, with a compromise of rubber tires on road wheel stations one and five being standard). These are both =93drilled=94 with holes molded along the rim as well as =93notched=94 =96 = the idea was to save as much rubber as possible and yet provide the better road wheel buffering of the rubber wheel. The kit also comes with late- model Factory No. 112 drivers.
The old parts provided with this kit are tried and true, and have generally been well received by modelers. Suffice it to say there are still the usual quirks that must be dealt with, such as the late-model double bump stop on the lower hull molding; as it can=92t really be seen when the model is assembled, it is not right but pretty much a =93so what=94 correction. The front glacis plate for this kit (P-1) has the =93notches=94 molded in place and as such care will have to be taken in installing it to the hull body. The kit also provides the =93bars=94 that were welded to the hull to protect the turret race.
The turret is a nicely done new sprue (U) which includes a one-piece shell (thanks to =93slide molding=94 for the late Factory No. 112 type castings with larger pistol port covers. Note that the bead around the front of the shell is weld bead and NOT a seam to remove! Also note that the turret comes with two hatches, of which the second one (R-1) would seem to be more common hatch for this tank according to the =93Top to Bottom=94 books, but the other is unique to Krasnoye Sormovo. The model comes with an interim type PT periscopic sight/viewer with a shape closer to the =93acorn=94 shaped more common on later production T-34s. The modeler has a choice of three barrels for the F-34 gun: two- piece, one-piece with hollow bore from =93slide=94 molding, and a turned aluminum one. A gun breech and partial interior to the turret are provided as with all of the DML T-34 kits.
All 16 hand rails for the tank are included as well as at least two spares or alternate ones. Even though listed as a =93Smart Kit=94 it has a respectable amount of brass included, which covers the engine deck grating and also the grouser straps as major items.
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.
This version comes with finishing directions and markings for five different tanks. However, the finishing for all five is only given as Soviet armor green (shade 4BO to the Soviets). The markings are for: Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front 1943 (none!); Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front 1943 (white 41/05); Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front1943 (white 64); Polish 1st Tank Regiment, Oka River, Russia July 1943 (Polish eagle in white); 8th Estonian Infantry Corps, Eastern Front, 1943 (=93For Soviet Estonia!=94 in white in both Russian and Estonian). Decals are by Cartograf.
Overall, this is a good idea to release this kit as a mainstream model. As with the previous release, these may be the best DML T-34s so far.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.