Darren Baker takes a look at the T-44 model release in 1/35th scale with interior.


This offering from MiniArt of a 1/35th scale T-44 with interior could be considered a better tank than it was intended to replace, and for other reasons was not successful. The T-44 was the successor to the T-34, offering better manoeuvrability and better protection for the crew and the vehicle itself. In some ways it can be considered as a T-34/85 turret on a new and improved hull. While this tank succeeded in being a better vehicle, it was unsuccessful due to production of the T-34/85 already being well in place and moving to the T-44 would have reduced the number of vehicles at a point late in WWII, when tanks were needed. 


This offering from MiniArt is packaged in the usual manner, of a cardboard tray with a card lid. The card lid will need further protection, as it could easily be damaged. Inside is a single bag, that contains three further bags holding the various elements of the model. During this time of concerns of waste plastic, I would hope that model companies start giving this some thought as regards recycling or usage. There are an extremely large number of sprues in the box, which is due to MiniArt tackling production in a mix and match approach that will enable the release of many different variants. My only concerns reference the mouldings, is due to the finesse of some parts that could be easily damaged or broken, during removal from the sprue.

With this model being an interior kit, it is not going to be a five minute build. The hull floor has good detail on both faces, MiniArt has also provided functional torsion bar suspension, but unless you are displaying the model on an uneven surface I would advise locking the suspension units up. The driver’s position has a good level of detail particularly with regards to the seat. But perhaps a little concerning for the operator, is a huge ammunition storage locker right next door in the front of the tank holding 30 rounds. The side walls of the lower hull are separate pieces that will require some thought on the part of the modeller, in order to get everything square. My suggestion would be, to attach the storage locker side wall, then the rear wall, and then the driver’s side wall. This in combination with the firewall should ensure that everything goes together as intended. The space that the turret will take up inside the vehicle has ammunition storage for both the main gun and the machine gun. What may surprise you is that the crew working the turret, have to move themselves with it rather than being in a cradle when not in a seated position. The driver’s hatch has good detail inside and out, including a clear plastic periscope, and the hatch can remain workable after being added to the model.

The oily section at the rear of the tank is very well catered for with a very well detailed engine. But I cannot comment of the accuracy of that detail. There are some very fine plastic mouldings used in this area and despite the small number of parts, I am pleased that there is not an excessive amount of photo etch used. As a modeller I tend to find that excessive amounts of fine photo etched parts deter me from tackling the model. The amount of piping, conduit and actuation rods in such a small space in the vehicle has the potential to be a very eye catching aspect of the model as MiniArt looks to have done an exceptional job of the engine bay. 

The upper hull of the model is provided in four main pieces which are as follows: the angled bow armour, the plate on which the turret sits, the first section where the actual engine can be accessed and finally the rear vented section of the engine bay. This approach would lead me to believe, that more T-44s are being lined up. Looking at the vented area of the vehicle, the detail is of a very high standard and can be displayed raised for maintenance, or closed up as in use. The engine access panels are all separate mouldings, which can be assembled open or closed. However, I suspect that one of the issues with this vehicle was that there are three panels, and so I suspect it would be more efficient to lift off the entire panel for engine maintenance. 

Elements such as the external fuel tanks are well replicated. Unfortunately I cannot see any evidence of the fuel lines. Stowage boxes have been provided with photo etch handles, and separate lids. So with a little effort the modeller could show these open, should the modeller have a need or desire to do so. There is quite a lot of photo etch used on the mud guards, which may make this area of the model a bit of a challenge. Looking at what these parts represent, I am pleased to say that the photo etch does do a better job of scale replication, rather than being there for the sake of it.

The wheels for this offering, are especially well detailed and with a little wear and tear replicated on the tyre aspect of the wheels. The drive wheels at the rear of this model have been especially well detailed to a level that even I was not expecting, as the internal elements that catch the teeth of the tracks are separate parts, and with care all of the wheels will remain workable. The tracks for the model are individual links, which are very well detailed including the hollow of the guide horn, being well replicated. I have used these tracks previously with my only issue being that they are only as good as the cleanup of the individual links, as they will fight you if not done well. 

The main turret of the model has a very good cast texture on it and the reason that the T-34/85 range of models having inserts inside the turret, become clear with this release. Internal turret stowage is very well replicated inside the turret, which includes ammunition storage on the sides of the turret, and in the rear recess. The breech of the main gun, and seats for the gunner and commander have been well replicated, as have the turret machine gun with its drum magazines. I was also pleased to see items such as the radio and traversing gear covered. Hatches can again be open or closed, with clear elements where required. Looking at the exterior of the turret, grab handles and the like are present, with the model finished off with a nicely modelled single piece barrel.

MiniArt has provided eight finishing options for this release, which are as follows:

Red Army, Summer 1945

29th Armored Division , 5th Guards Mechanised Army, Slonim, Belarus, 1946-1947

Red Army, Summer 1945

Red Army, 1945-1946

Soviet Army, Late 1940s

8th Mechanised Army, Operation Whirlwind, Budapest, Hungary, November 1956

8th Mechanised Army, Operation Whirlwind, Hungary, November 1956

Soviet Army, presumably Belarusian Military District, 1950s

The decals themselves, are cleanly printed with good colour definition, and while some may trim up some of the carrier film, I am happy with them as they are plus they are reasonably thin.


For those modellers who wish to cover Soviet armour, during WWII this tank is an important step in Soviet armour progression, and also makes a nice stop gap in the tank advancements of the former Soviet Union. My only concerns with reference to the model, is the finesse of a number of parts which could be easily broken, and the tracks which will fight you every step of the way if you do not clean then properly. In all other respects, this is a very nice model that has the potential to be very visually appealing.



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