Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/72 Scale "Armor Pro" series kit
No. 7259; T-34/76 Model 1941; 98 parts (93 in grey styrene, 2 in tan DS
plastic, 2 twisted steel wire, 1 etched metal); price US $10.95
Advantages: improved version of Model 1940 kit with all parts needed
for the F-34 gun; again, mimics its 1/35 scale "big brother";
wheels are an amazing accomplishment in injection molding; decal sheet
Disadvantages: didn't come out when I was building 1/72 armor kits!
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all small scale and Soviet armor fans
The T-34 Model 1940, and the even better Model 1941, were a major
shock to the Germans when they invaded in June 1941. This tank was the
work of the legendary designer Mikhail Koshkin, who unfortunately died
before he got to see his creation validate itself before the Soviet
government and the world.
Companies like DML need to be aware that the Soviets never called
these "T-34/76" tanks, as that was a German description and did not
come into being until the 85mm tanks appeared in 1944. In point of
fact, many Soviet era documents show that the tanks were only
differentiated by their number of turrets (as with the T-26) or gun
carried (here either L-11 or F-34). The Soviets did dub later tanks
T-34-85 to show the differences.
DML has now added the more widely built Model 1941 (T-34 with 76.2mm
F-34 gun) to its "Armor Pro" series (a select part of its 1/72
scale series with additional parts, different moldings, and extras
included in the kits). The kit retains the welded turret of the early
T-34s and does not yet provide a cast turret for the more widely
produced late Model 1941 with longitudinal grilles. Like the Model
1940, it follows the design of their 1/35 scale kits, and again DML has
managed to shrink the level of details down and at the same time
compact the number of parts by some clever molding tricks.
One of the most impressive tricks is the use of what DML calls
"slide-molding" in which multi-part molds with moving parts are
used vice the older "sandwich-type" two piece molds. As a result,
they can do larger pieces without either ejection pin marks or
sinkholes, and get depth or undercuts in smaller parts. This shows up
in this kit in two areas: first, the fact that even in this scale the
gun barrel for the F-34 cannon has a hollow muzzle as molded; and
second, the wheels come in 14 ready-to-install assemblies vice 28
separate wheels and perhaps axle caps. The wheels are nicely done, with
a nice deep grove in between (unlike another company's 1/72 scale
kits with solid road wheels or most HO scale armor) and detailed on
both sides. Purists will want to drill out the thin flash in the
drivers (parts C2) and idlers (parts C1) though, but that is an easy
task if you have a pin vise and small drill bits.
The hull comes with the correct early T-34 (Model 1940/early Model
1941) hull with vertical grille openings in the radiator intakes and a
choice between either a solid radiator exhaust grille or one with an
etched metal grille instead. This is the same nice touch now offered in
the 1/35 scale kits, and DML is to be congratulated for providing it in
1/72 as well.
The turret also mirrors its "big brother in construction, and as
many modelers have found, if done carefully no putty is needed to fill
the gap between the glacis (part A22) and the turret sides (parts A43
and A44). The turret also includes a partial interior as well. (It
should be noted that both the Model 1940 and Model 1941 appear to come
off the same set of molds, with "gates" opening or closing to
provide the correct section of the sprue for their respective kits.)
Most of the details parts are crisp and well done as well, but the
twin jacks for the tank are provided as one part (A63) and are probably
the least well done of any component.
The kit provides single-section tracks as before, but DML has now
changed over to use their DS plastic vice the original black vinyl.
This means that standard plastic cement can be used to assemble them
and get them to "sag" on the model. However, some modelers indicate
these tracks may be a bit short; unlike the 1/35 scale kits that
provide an eccentric idler axle that can be used to adjust tension for
shorter tracks, the idler mounts on the 1/72 kit are fixed and thus
care is needed in mounting the track on the model.
The kit comes with an absolutely gorgeous sheet of decals with many
patriotic sayings and markings, but as the original sheet with the
Model 1940 was more suited to the Model 1941, most of them are now
quite useful. However, many early production Model 1941s carried no
markings (they weren't around long enough to do that) so care must be
taken in using the decals.
Three basic tank finishes are shown: one "protective green" with
numbers from early 1942; one in winter scheme with the famous "tire
tracks" camouflage; and the 130th Tank Brigade from the 21st Tank
Corps, with another 12 options shown for use of slogans on turrets.
Again, you may want to get photo references as many of these, from what
I recall, went on cast turret tanks.
Overall, based on its continued excellence from the Model 1940, this
is a real winner.
Thanks to Freddie Leung of DML for the review sample.
- posted 16 years ago