The latest T-34 kit from AFV Club
offers an alternative to those who loved the previous kit with its full interior, but didn’t care for the clear exterior. The kit offers an opaque exterior with casting and weld-bead detail in gray styrene.
The only difference between this and the first T-34/76 kit is the replacement of the clear exterior turret and hull parts with gray styrene. All other details remain the same.
The T-34/76 was simplicity itself, and construction of the kit, even with full interior detail, is straight-forward.The working suspension is the first to be built, by inserting the coil spring assemblies into their housings in the inner hull walls. One end is connected to a pin on each torsion arm, which pivots by having its shaft trapped with a cap on the inside of the hull. The whole assembly is clever and simple.
The next six steps of the instructions are devoted to building the interior of the hull. About the only omission is the centrally-located turret wiring link, positioned between the ammo bins on the hull floor - not difficult to scratch-build.
The outstanding feature of this kit is its fully-detailed V2 diesel engine/transmission assembly. Covering two pages of the instructions, building the engine/transmission compartment is a kit in itself! I was very impressed with the flywheel/cooling fan assembly. Super-detailers may want to add the twelve fuel injection lines from fine wire, and hollow-out the exhaust pipes. The engine compartment is nicely finished with a separate access hatch and cooling slats (which can be positioned in the open position).
The road wheels with their separate tires, moulded in black styrene, are next to go on, held to their axles with hubcaps. The kit-supplied vinyl tracks are extremely supple –so much so, that one must take care not to melt them with over-use of cement. That’s right, they are joined and held-down to the road wheel tops with regular cement, not CA instant or “super”, glue. Nice touches to the exterior hull include tiny separately-moulded tie-down loops and a multi-part tool box.
Decals to depict 4 vehicles –one of the Polish 1st Army (1945), are provided. They are thin and crisp.
As a former welder, I can safely say that AFV Club has done their usual job of depicting convincing weld beads for the new exterior parts of this kit. These are subjective things, as real weld beads are human-applied, no two being identical, even if applied by the same welder, to the same vehicle, on the same day. The cast detail of the turret is convincing, but will need to be re-worked after joining the turret halves, perhaps with Mr. Surfacer or similar. The cast detail is on the exterior surfaces of the turret and hull only.
According to the definitive guide on the T-34, “Mythical Weapon” (Airconnection Publishing, by Robert Michulec), this kit measures-up very accurately to scale drawings provided.
Note: A limited number of kits also will include a print of the box art.
Follow the step-by-step build of my T-34/76 in my Build Log