ARM: Review - DML T-34 Model 1941 (Welded Turret)

Kit Review: DML 1/35 Scale ?39-?45 Series Kit No. 6205; T-34/76 Model 1941;
440 parts (395 in grey styrene, 41 etched brass, 2 clear styrene, 2 steel twist
cables); price estimated at $34-40
Advantages: Amazing kit with product improvements over last year's Model 1940;
wide variety of markings included; will need little in the way of anything else
to complete an outstanding model right from the box
Disadvantages: some markings are not correct for this particular model of T-34
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all T-34 and Soviet Armor fans
I am always somewhat frustrated when I do an honest job of writing a useful
review for not only my fellow modelers, but also for the company producing the
kit in the hopes that they take stock of useful recommendations and fix the
problems in their kits. Twenty-five years of doing this for Tamiya has shown
remarkably deaf ears, which does seem to at least show me where I really stand
in the context of the universe! But on occasion others do listen, and this new
kit from DML is a great example of that having taken place.
I fully realize that I am not the only one making suggestions or noting
problems with kits; but it is nice when the comments I make are the ones that
seem to have been acted upon and the corrections made.
One of my favorite kits in recent years was last year's introduction of a
brand-new T-34 Model 1940 kit from Dragon Models Limited in Hong Kong. Sharp,
precise, accurate and of a version not previously marketed as a ground-up kit
(Maquette offered a "Semi-Conversion" using the majority of their T-34-85
"Rudy" kit) it was a tremendous effort and nearly spot-on accurate. But it did
suffer from the problem of having a solid radiator exhaust grille at the rear
of the hull, which somewhat spoiled a near-perfect kit.
DML has now followed it with a kit of an early model T-34 Model 1941 (the /76
business was never used by the Russians, but a Western convention after the
T-34-85 was introduced). Note that this, as it is based on the Model 1940,
comes with the "welded" turret. This kit does offer the modeler several
choices to fix that problem and some others, which is a very good thing to see
in this day and age, and DML must be complimented for adjusting their molds to
For a basic description of the kit ? having covered the actual vehicle in
some detail in a three-part article for "Military Modelling" (UK) in 2003
(issues Vol. 33 #2, 3 and 4) ? it retains a number of common parts from the
DML T-34 series kits. The lower hull and sprues A, E, I, M and N from the
T-34-85 kits are retained, as are sprues B, C, D, F, J and L from the Model 40
kit. Sprue G has been changed to offer a choice between either a solid rear
radiator exhaust grille or an open one. Sprues H and K are unique to this kit,
as is a 41-part set of etched brass. This permits the modeler to either use the
kit's plastic one-piece fuel tanks mounts (F14) or make new ones from four
sections of etched bras (eight are required, so you are in for some fiddly
bending if you use them.)
The new radiator exhaust grille (parts G25 and insert MA1) is of the early
open type and lacks the stiffener bars that were quickly added. DML provides
them as separate parts (MA7). Also included is a cardboard photo of the engine
bay directly below the grille area. Missing are the two full-width louvers for
the opening (reproduced on the photo) but as the mesh is fine and the photo is
close enough (the original parts WERE black and white when new) it should be
fine as is.
There are a few minor things to watch for. On the lower hull, a purist would
want to remove the rectangular guards in front of the suspension arm mounting
holes and also the forward of the two jounce stops (the L-shape "thingy" at the
front of the sides of the hull that keeps the arms from going too far up and
snapping off).
The rest is pretty straightforward, and if you have built any of the other DML
T-34s then you should have no problems with this one. A good suggestion (which
Steve Zaloga reminded me of while discussing the Model 1940 kit) is to leave
the front idler adjustment arm (parts A6) loose (mount the wheels to the arm
though) in order to get the tracks to fit correctly. T-34 track links are
paired, and if you cement them in place you may not get the links to fit. The
alternative is taking a "B" (without a guide tooth) link and cutting it down as
a "cheater" to hide the fact that the links did not come out even.
The trick to this is use a flexible cement with long drying time when building
up the tracks. Do the bottom runs first (about 20-21 links), then a small
section to reach the drive wheels (about 5, but one end has to mesh with the
lower run!). Cement the lower run to the drive wheels, then the rear section
and a "wrap" for the drivers (only attach the drivers when you do this, leaving
them loose so you can turn them to fit the tracks.) Next is the upper run
(about 32 links) but do not attach it yet; follow with the lower front set
(about 5 more). Cement the upper run to the "wrap" around the driver and to the
three middle road wheels. Attach the links to "wrap" the idler around the front
until the upper run and "wrap" meet with the correct link (e.g. an "A" to a
"B"). Turn the idler to get them to fit if this does not work out on the first
try; when done, cement them together with a high-speed cement like Tenax 7R or
Microweld. Note that the tracks have to be unpainted where you are going to
attach them, and that includes the road wheels.
(I always paint the hull behind the wheels and the rear face of the rear road
wheels, then attach them to the hull. Next I paint the inside of the drivers
and idlers, assemble them, and then fit the tracks to the drivers, idlers, and
inside row of road wheels. The rest are painted and installed with ACC cement
AFTER the model is painted.)
The model comes with two finishing options: a T-34 Model 1941 from the 1st
Guards Tank Brigade of General Katukov, Moscow area1942, in the famous "road
ruts" white over green scheme, and one from the 130th Tank Brigade, 21st Tank
Corps, Southern Front in April 1942. Decals are included for the "Road Rut"
scheme (close-hatched white lines on green were to simulate ruts in the road to
aerial reconnaissance). Also included are markings for another 11 T-34 tanks,
but most of them were either not Model 1941s or were from other periods of the
war. At least one of them was a "cast" turret Model 1941, so using them with
the "welded" turret model would be incorrect. (Tamiya's "Model 1942" is a
late-production cast turret Model 1941 to show what I mean.)
Overall this is an even better kit than the first one, and DML should be
praised for the very kind (for modelers!) change to the molds to allow modelers
the option to either build it easy or with more skill, depending on their
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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Hot dang! They not only give us a decent welded turret long-barreled T-34 Model 1941, they include the open grill and photoetch. Double hot dang! Hope they include these parts when they reissue the other T-34s. Thanks for the review, Cookie! Gerald Owens
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Ditto, Gerald, ditto! 8-)
Cookie Sewell
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