Model Armour

T-34/76 Mod.1942 Formochka
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T-34/76 Mod.1942 Formochka
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Steve Reids comprehensive build of the Dragon kit!



When I heard Dragon was releasing this I immediately ordered one. I have seen some 'Formochka's' built using the old Tamiya 'Uralmash' turret and the Dragon hull. This kit makes life a lot easier!



So what do you get in the kit?  If you have built any Dragon T-34 recently you'll be able to recognize at least some of the parts. The only truly 'new' part in the kit is the pressed turret sprue D. Good news really, because few things in life make me happier than more parts than I can use!


The kit includes a painting guide for 3 different vehicles. For you guys who can only build of the marking options is a even a Beautepanzer!


If you are interested in building this kit you could do worse than prepare and do a few things....First, find a picture of the tank you want to build. I cleaned up the roadwheels before I did this, then couldn't find a picture of a 'Formochka' with the roadwheels that are actually provided in the kit! T-34's are like Shermans, and Panzer IV's...somewhere out there is a picture of an all steel wheeled 'Formochka' ...but I don't know where it is! I am going to use the solid dished roadwheels out of another Dragon kit. More on this later. prepared to either do some easy modifications, or be criticized by rivet counters. I am probably in for both, but...if you see something I am overlooking then please do speak up. This will not be my last T-34 model - educate me!

Getting started

The roadwheels were going to wait for a bit later, but for now, I wanted to articulate the suspension, which is tough to do on the Dragon T-34's. The suspension arms are held in place by coil spring towers that do not move. To cut a long story short, I removed the springs from their towers and replaced the backs on the towers. I modified one for the right side, one for the left as shown below. I then poured a silicone mould of these parts, so after a couple of days I could cast enough copies for this tank and set the mould aside for future builds.






Dive in
This kit uses the same hull as the Dragon T-34/76 mod 1942 hex 'soft-edge' kit #6424. Dimitri Kiyatkin produced an article in which he corrected the hull on this kit. So I made the same changes on my hull! This is a pic of the hull from the 'soft-edge' kit, which is on the left, and the start of the modifications to the 'Formochka' kit...on the right.




Now the un-altered hull alone...




And below is the altered hull. Notice that the cuts still need to be squared up. I have also cut off the fenders...




No T-34 is properly complete without mangled fenders! I'm going to use the tea light technique I learned on ModelArmour, whereby the foil cup from a tea light candle is used. First...insert a rectangle of .040" styrene...




Add the kit photoetch, a few strips (I used .010" X .030" styrene) and you have this...




Here is what it will look like with the engine deck cover in place...




Reference wise the T-34's can be problematic and it's very easy to go wrong should you aspire to a 'perfect' kit. No doubt this will not be the perfect 'Formochka' but I will attempt to fix areas and faults that I'm aware of. For example, Mark Rethoret, the only guy I know of who can look at the 'T-34 Mythical Weapon' book and immediately identify errors in it, sent me this picture...




It shows that I have some work to do on the forward ends of the engine intake screens. I wish I had known this before I put on the photo etch parts!




Then it was time to remove the areas marked by the red circles in the picture above. Then repair the surrounding areas and add a couple of small covers from brass.


Back to the shock absorber towers...I removed the mould from the mould box and poured 1 set of parts. Here is the result...




I needed to use this mould to make 4 more sets. Minor point - you can see I also cast a new armoured MG cover for the Hull MG. The Dragon kits MG cover has been criticized because the sight hole above the MG is too high. You can plug this hole and drill another lower as Dimitri Kiyatkin did. I found a part from the old Tamiya kit in my spares box, shortened the snout on the cover, drilled out the hole for the MG and made a mould. Now I can cast as many as I want.

It was now time to tackle what I think was the biggest challenge of the build thus far. Here is the pic of the way the area forward of the engine intakes should have looked...




So some surgery is required, as can be seen on this pic again...




Basically I needed to cut along the red lines and remove the area inside whilst attempting to do as little damage as possible to the surrounding detail. The plastic in this area is actually quite thick, probably .060". I am using a genuine old school modelling trick that some of you have probably seen or used before. I am hoping it is new to some of you because it is a great trick to have in your arsenal.

The first step is to drill holes at each corner. A close up shot of the holes around the right side panel...




Now here is the trick...






Thread dental floss through one of the drilled holes and using a sawing action cut your way to the next hole. As long as your hull is held tightly this is really easy to control and make a nice accurate cut!

I clamped the hull on top of a small wood block as I did the sawing...




Below are a couple of pics of the holes after minor clean up with an X-Acto knife.

The holes are not perfect or symmetrical, but they are going to be filled anyway. The goal was to remove the panels without damaging the surroundings. This technique worked great for that.





With the holes cut I squared up the holes with an X-Acto knife and some small files, and then filled the holes with styrene. I started by gluing in a 'floor' beneath the holes so that I would have something to glue the sidewalls to. Then I boxed in the holes.




You can also see that as I moved forward I realized that the bolts on the hull just behind the turret ring had to go. I shaved them off and then marked their locations with the point of a scriber. This was done out of habit, and it wasn't even necessary as it turned out!

Here is the start of my patch for the holes...




Then this...




Finally...cut and sand the forward section to match the turret rings curve and slide it in place...




All that remains is to add the foil panels that Vinnie had described to me, and replace the 5 bolts I removed.

Whilst I worked on the deck I also occasionally poured some resin! Here are some of my finished bits...ooer Matron!

Hull MG armoured covers...




Hull shock towers...




Suspension springs...





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