by: Darren Baker [ ]
ICM have reissued their T-34-76 with their great figure set offering of tank riders. These two items are I believe still available as separate offerings but they make a great display option as a single purchase.
ICM has packaged this model in a single plastic bag, and has foam sheeting over the more delicate sprues. This is then packaged inside a sturdy flip top cardboard box with a separate card top cover. This should protect the model against most damage likely to occur in the postage system. The figures are packaged in a bag of their own. The contents break down as follows:
5 dark green sprues
An upper hull
A lower hull
2 vinyl sprues
A decal sheet
An instruction booklet
1 tan sprue
An instruction page
First impressions are very good as the mouldings are all well formed with no obvious issues jumping out at me. There are some flow lines in some mouldings, but these do not seem to have caused any obvious damage to the finish of the parts. The tracks being vinyl usually have issues, but I can only detect very slight deformation at the points where the gates and parts meet.
Due to being picked up on my reference as I do not have the latest information, I am going to stick with my general opinions of this model as I do not want to give anyone false data. The wheels and undercarriage have some nicely moulded detail, ICM having put a lot of effort into the wheel detail. The only thing I wish that ICM had done was to supply the ability to set the road wheels as if on uneven road surfaces. The upper and lower hull has been very well moulded with the fit between the two pieces being very good. There is a small raised bump on the underside of the lower hull where the moulding stub was and that will need to be sanded down or cleaned up, remembering that ICM has provided some moulded detail there as well.
The design of the upper hull is such that it will make the addition of photo etched upgrades to your model easy, the various vent detail has been supplied as separate parts and so can easily be replaced. The engine access panel has also been supplied as a separate moulding and so an engine could be added and displayed. Inside the hull ICM has supplied seats for the driver and machine gunner, there are also the tillers supplied for the driver. The machine gun for both the bow and turret have been supplied as full moulding rather than just a barrel, but the barrel could be improved by a little drilling out of the barrel.
The turret has some nice detail present, especially where the breach of the gun is concerned which is included along with the full machine gun. The hatches can all be displayed either open or closed depending on your requirements. This model does include my new pet hate when it comes to new kit releases, a barrel that is two piece and split along its length. Yes I know we managed for years with this issue, but for the love of god why do we still have to suffer this in the modern age and so I strongly urge an investment in an after market barrel.
The vinyl rubber tracks have some nice detail on both the road surface contact side and the wheel contact side. The hollow guide horns have been well replicated and do add a nice touch to these tracks. The points where the tracks connect to the gates on the sprue do have small and slight deformations, but if these are placed on the inside of the run it should not be easily seen or detected.
ICM has supplied six finishing options for their offering of this model which are;
T-34, 24th Tank Regiment, 46th Mechanised Brigade, Byolorussia, July 1944
T-34, 18th Guards Tank Brigade, 3rd Guards Tank Corps, Byolorussia, July 1944
T-34, Sevatopol, May 1944
T-34, Summer 1944
T-34, 4th Guards Mechanised Corps, Romania, August 1944
T-34, 10th Guards Ural Tank Corps, Ukraine, Summer 1944
The Soviet Tank Riders
An examination of the sprue reveals very little to comment on. There is a little flash on some of the mould seams, but nothing of a level to make clean up difficult. Removal of the parts from the sprue is easy for the most part, but I did find a couple of parts that could have had their connection to the sprue better placed. I will also say that I like the effort ICM has gone to in shaping the equipment to fit the figures.
The winter quilted 2 piece uniform is very nicely replicated, it Russian term is Telogreika and is a quilted jacket and trousers which helps to keep the wearer warm while not being so bulky that it restricts movement. The hats provided for all of the figures are Ushanka which is the fur cap worn by Russian forces, this is again suitable winter wear. All of the figures are wearing mittens that have a separate trigger finger portion; I could not find a specific name for this item. The figures are wearing Sapogi boots worn by Russian forces. The sole of the boot is made of rubber with the foot portion made of leather with the leg portion of the boot being made of water proofed canvas. I will admit that I would have preferred to see at least one of the figures in felt boots or Valenki. The detail on the uniform is very good in my opinion, but some of the crease detail will need to softened I feel.
Moving onto the equipment that is supplied with the figures. Three of these figures are supplied with a Myeshok which is a canvas bag worn on the back and is used to carry any equipment the soldier wants to carry. Each of the figures is supplied with a water bottles, each in its canvas bag, the water bottle was made from aluminium if you want to show one in use. Three of the figures are equipped with PPSh41 machine guns with separately supplied drum magazines; ICM has also supplied a suitable ammunition pouch for those figures. The remaining figure is equipped with a PPS43 Sub-machine gun with folded stock and again a suitable ammunition pouch holder. Lastly each of the figures is supplied a shoulder strap bag, the straps for this could do with some work when attached to the figures. The weapons are good but could be bettered in areas such as the cooling slots and muzzles which are not hollowed.
The faces of the figures are excellent for 1/35th scale injection moulded plastic. The faces all have expressions which are cleanly defined and there is absolutely no reason to replace them with resin offerings. Even the ears are very well replicated which is an area often poorly replicated in figures of this type. The hands have limited finger detail due to the mittens, but detail is still clearly visible in these areas.
I have assembled the main components of the figures minus their heads and equipment. The only clean up I have made at this point in time is the sprue connection points. Most of these areas were easily cleaned up, but a couple of the connection points were on the edge of a mating and detailed face and these were more involved. I used Tamiya extra thin to assemble the figures and I am pleased with the results. A quick note on the glue; rather than putting the pieces together and using the glues ability to be sucked into the join by capillary action, I applied glue to both faces to soften them and this sometimes allows a better joint.
The T-34 offered by ICM is a fair kit considering the fantastically low prices their products can be bought for. The overall finish should be pleasing and with a little work could be lifted further. Two improvements I would suggest is a metal barrel and replacement of the vinyl plastic tow cables. The tracks could be improved via the addition of resin or metal tracks, but the supplied offerings are fair. This figure offering from ICM is an excellent set of figures that I believe will prove to be very popular. I cannot fault the offering in any way other than saying that some of the connections that have been made between parts are in difficult to clean locations. Assembly was straight forward and connections very positive, but as you can see by the photographs there are a couple of areas that will need a little filler. With prices as low as £17 what more do you want, a figure set can cost £10 on their own.