by: Christopher Wilson [ ]
The KitThe box contains 7 bags, 116 parts in light gray plastic, a PE engine cover, one length of metal tow cable, a huge sheet of markings, and some well detailed though poorly molded DS100 tracks. The instructions are 7 steps in length and the newer typical Dragon style consisting of drawings of completed assemblies and arrows indicating parts locations. Only step five shows the actual assembly of the gun breech and mantlet. Decals are by Cartograf and go on well, reacting fine to setting solution (Solvaset in this case). Overall fit of the kit parts is excellent.
The quality of the molded parts is excellent, perhaps the best Iíve seen from Dragon. They have no flash or visible sink marks. The sprue connection points are rather large though, especially considering the size of some parts so careful removal and cleanup is necessary. Two very nice things of note, first, Dragon used slide-mold technology to mold the road wheels; these parts are very well detailed and will require minimal cleanup. Second, the pre-hollowed barrel for the 76mm gun is a very nice touch. The instructions are typical for newer Dragon kits and are ambiguous in some places at times omitting entire steps of assembly. I personally wish Dragon would give better instructions for their 1/72 offerings. Painting instructions are equally confusing. The modeler is given an incredible decal sheet with what appears to be 15 or more options. I say this because there are no instructions for application or a color call-out other than ďGreenĒ. So the modeler will need to find a picture of a model 1940 if they want to accurately portray any specific tank.
AssemblyThe kit goes together very quickly and easily. You will spend most of your time painting and weathering.
Assembly starts with putting the road wheels on the hull but since the kit comes with a nice 6 part gun breech I started there so I could paint the interior first in hopes of leaving the commanderís hatch open.
The road wheels were put aside for painting and the tracks primed with Mr. Surfacer 1000.
I then began cleanup of the upper hull bits and did a dry fit. The gun breech is very detailed and went together fine. A dry fit of the turret showed me that the front requires a little sanding to fit properly at the top and the modeler will need to decide to either depict the weld lines on the turret or leave them off. I made mine from stretched sprue. I painted the interior white and added a dark wash and set aside.
Next I began assembly of the front upper hull, this goes quickly but has some small parts so be careful when removing them from the sprue. The most troublesome part is A49, a vision block for the driverís hatch. I donít know why Dragon molded this part separate but doing so requires a very small pair of tweezers and some patience because the part must be trimmed in order to fit.
That done I moved to the back. The lower rear (A54) fits OK but there is a small gap on one side that will need a bit of filler, even when clamped. I then attached the upper and lower hulls. At this point I had to choose between the injection molded rear deck with or without PE. I used the PE in this case and the parts fit perfectly. However, once laid on top the rear hull plate (A58) no longer fits. This is why I always dry fit first. Much of the upper angle on the rear backside of A58 needs to be removed and sanded down. It also needs to be put on before the rear deck A71. It took a few minutes with a sanding stick removing little bits from A58 top and bottom before I finally achieved the proper fit. Now things began to look like a T-34.
Next I attached the fuel tanks and other bits to the upper hull. I also drilled out the headlights since I was going to be using MV lenses on my model.
Finally I assembled the turret. It requires a little filler but not too bad at all.
I did the road wheels and tracks last. The road wheels are a press fit; in fact they actually need to be drilled to accept the torsion bars. The tracks are the real let down in this kit. Perhaps it was just mine, but while the detail is excellent the quality of the tracks is not. Mine had injector tabs in four places on each track and it appears as though they were removed from the mold before cooling and the tracks were crimped at these locations. In addition they are short. I found the tracks will stretch and was able to carefully get three more track links this way and that appears to be enough. Nothing can be done for the pinched parts though except muddy the tracks and put those sections on the inside.
Painting was straight forward and I elected to use the decals even though I had no primary source for this information. Iíve heard of an example of the model 1940 being in Berlin in 1945, so it wouldnít surprise me if some of these survived long enough to have slogans painted on them. At any rate all reference photos I had point to green with no markings so I used some artistic license here. Weathering was done with powders and filters.
Recommendation Dragon has again released a great little model. The T-34 model 1940 is an interesting early version which Iím glad Dragon gave some attention to. If you are looking for an interesting subject and are into Russian armor, this one is for you. Recommended.
Thanks go to Dragon USA, via Saul Garcia, for the review sample.