by: Darren Baker [ ]
The T-34 tank is the most produced tank in the history of armoured vehicles with in excess of 35,000 vehicles being produced. The T-34 served the Soviets throughout WW2 and proved to be a very able vehicle. When Germany invaded Russia the T-34 came as a big shock to the Germans being the superior of anything the Germans fielded at that point. The weakness of the Soviet forces was poor leadership following the purges of Stalin which also had the effect of making capable officers keep their heads down. As a result of this and other reasons to be fair the Germans did capture a good number of T-34 tanks. These captured T-34s were quickly turned on their previous owners in the form of the T-34-747(r).
The latest offering from ICM has now been released in the form of a T-34-747(r) in 1/35th scale. The model is packed in the now common highly protective packaging of a cardboard tray with lid and then a second card lid with an artistís impression of the model included on the top. Inside there is an instruction booklet that has the decal sheet protected inside it. There is then a re-sealable plastic bag containing the sprues and a second bag that contains the tracks and cables. I am happy to say that ICM was the first to go to these lengths to protect the contents, but I do wish they would separate the sprues to reduce the risk of damage through bending or being caught on each other. In this respect I must congratulate ICM for wrapping two of the sprues in foam sheet for further protection.
A close look at the contents has not revealed any major issues as regards moulding, but there are some aspects of the kit that will make people struggle to different degrees. ICM does make the most of their moulds and releases many variations over a short time with the addition of extra parts to make the needed changes and that is an approach I greatly approve of. One of the issues with that approach is that on occasion moulded on detail may need to be removed and that is the case with this release. On the seen portions of the upper face of the mudguards there is some detail that needs to be removed, the detail in this case is difficult to get at due to raised detail that is not removed getting in the way. I believe the best angle of attack is a chisel using the reverse face to do the cutting. On the plus side there is no damage in this example of the model despite my concerns about all of the sprues being in one bag.
A nice feature of this model is some internal detail in the form of seating for the driver and machine gunner. This means with a little work the drivers' hatch can be displayed open ideally with a figure in situ. The suspension swing arms are locked in position and so again work will be required if the model is going to be displayed on an uneven surface. The road wheels are a mix of steel wheel and wheels with tyres all with a nice level of detail. Both the drive wheel and idler wheel also have a nice level of detail. The tracks are supplied in vinyl rubber and I am not a fan in this case due to these being very heavy tracks that tend to sag. The detail on these is fair but I would look to the after market as a personal choice.
The upper hull has some interesting detail included in the form of adjustable vents that cannot be seen when looking at the rear vent and not easily seen when looking at the side engine deck vents. The details moulded on the upper hull look good and no obvious problems jump out at me, but I am not a T-34 expert. The bow machine gun has been supplied as full item rather than just the external element. The rear deck where the exhausts are mounted looks good and I am pleased that the exhausts have some hollowed out detail present. An aspect that I know many will be pleased about is that the grab handles all appear to be separate parts rather than featureless moulded on detail.
Moving onto the turret and I am a happy modeller here. The turret has a very nice subtle texture that is much reduced from earlier efforts. On the inside there is a very nice gun breech included and this also has a full machine gun in this area. The result is the modeller who leaves the turret hatches open has something to look at rather than just an empty turret. I really am pleased about this aspect. On the outside is something I do not like and that is a barrel in two halves and I would look to a metal replacement. In all other areas I am pleased with the detail provided. Grab handles have again been provided as separate parts and it should be said that it makes replacement with wire easier as well if so desired. The tow lines have been supplied as vinyl rubber wires and plastic ends which is something I prefer to string.
ICM has provided four finishing options for this model which are:
Grossdeutchland Division, Russia, Winter 1943
Then there are 3 very differently finished vehicles that were at Kursk in July 1943
This offering from ICM offers more than I expected to find, in particular the breach and machine gun in the turret. Overall detail is pleasing to me with the exception of the gun barrel. My issue with the tracks is a personal viewpoint on a realism aspect as it is hard to get vinyl tracks to sit as you would want. With that said I do like what is here and due to the low prices that ICM charges for its products I would happily purchase this kit.