During the course of the war in the Eastern Front, both the Germans and Soviets captured lot of each others equipment and put them back into service. The Wehrmacht was particularly impressed with the Soviet T-34, which proved to be a tough tank to beat on the battlefield and very effective against the Panzers. The Germans captured several hundred of these Russian tanks and modified them to varying degrees with some German equipment. This kit is one example of such a tank, which is basically a Stalingrad Tractor Factory built T-34/76 Model 1942 with the addition of a German turret storage bin.
Once upon a time, a modeler would have to engage in some kit-bashing to model such a variant but Dragon
has essentially done this for you by providing sprues from several other Dragon
kits in the box. While this makes it easier for you, you do end up with a lot of parts that are not used, which is somewhat inefficient but a boon to your spares box.
The main parts are the upper hull and hull pan, parts D and I respectively, and they are very beautifully molded with lots of details. In fact, the molding for all of the parts is excellent with bolts, welds and other details effectively reproduced.
The other parts come on several sprues from different Dragon
kits please note that there are two different sprues referred to as E and H. I have tried to narrow down the parts descriptions to what is actually used with this kit:
- Sprue A (2x) - T-34 driver mounts, engine hatch and other details
- Sprue B (1x) - T-34 40/41 headlights and several hull details
- Sprue C (1x) - T-34 40/41 upper hull details, storage box and gunners seats
- Sprue E (1x) - T-34 various tie-downs and brackets
- Sprue E (1x) - Pzkw. III German type external turret storage bin
- Sprue F (2x) - T-34 40/41 exhaust covers and tow cable loop ends
- Sprue G (1x) -T-34 40/41 machine gun mount, side engine vents and aft engine vent hatch
- Sprue H (1x) - T-34 engine intake vents, and drivers hatch
- Sprue H (1x) - T-34 41 76mm gun mantlet and details and storage box
- Sprue K (1x) -T-34 41 76mm gun assembly parts
- Sprue L (4x) - T-34 ice grousers
- Sprue M (2x) - T-34 engine exhaust pipes
- Sprue N (2x) - T-34 road wheel springs and housings
- Sprue Q (2x) - T-34 cast road wheels, drivers and idlers
- Sprue R (1x) - T-34 lower glacis, rear plate, storage box and other hull details
- Sprue S (1x) - T-34 STZ late turret parts
- 180 Magic Track tread links with 90 plain and 90 toothed versions
What may add to a bit of confusion during assembly is that there are some redundant parts contained on different sprues. For example, some of the parts for the 76mm gun are on both sprues H and S and the engine vents are the same on sprues G and H. The assembly instructions do single these out when they occur.
A small photo-etch fret is included with engine-deck louvers, belt straps, hinges, handles and other details. The brass has good relief etching and is well done. The kit also has a small decal sheet printed by Cartograf with black crosses and the crest for the Panzer Regiment 31, 5th Panzer Division, Russia 1942.
The instructions are in the standard Dragon
layout consisting of 6 pages. The first page has a layout of the parts sprues and the parts that are not to be used with this kit are shaded in gray. There is one error here that I caught part 25 on sprue G is grayed out, but in fact it is referred to in the instructions as the engine deck part to use if you wish to use the photo-etch louver. The alternative is part 17 on that sprue which has a molded louver. The following page has color references for Aqueous Hobby Color, Mr. Color and Testors Model Masters paints and the first set of assembly diagrams. The assembly diagrams are good but a bit crowded and will require careful review. The last page has painting instructions for a typical sand and green blotches camouflage scheme. A small insert is included which is apparently meant to correct something in assembly step 5, but to be honest, I cant quite figure out what the correction is.
Overall, this is a very good kit of the quality we have come to expect from the newer Dragon
offerings. I cannot comment on the fit of the kit as I havent started it yet, but it does look good in the box. You do get a lot of parts, most of which will be relegated to the spares box. You can easily build a Russian STZ T-34/76 Model 1942 tank by not adding the German external turret storage bin, but you will have to look for another source for decals and painting instructions. If you choose to build it as a captured T-34 in German livery, it will make for an interesting model.