|DRAGON - T-34/76 Mod. 1943 w/Commander Cupola Factory No. 112|
A look at Dragon's latest T-34 variant.....
T-34/76 Mod. 1943 w/Commander Cupola Factory No. 112
Manufacturer: Dragon Models
Material: Styrene & Photo-etch
Serial Number: 6584
I'm not going to go into the history of the T-34/76, and the development of this specific vehicle, mainly for the reason that I don't know it. Anything here would be reproduced from Wikipedia. If you're the sort that really needs to know the minutiae of T34 tank development, you probably already know, and have all the previous releases of the T-34 series from Dragon. Suffice to say, that it's a kit of a very specific version of the T-34, with specific parts, produced in a specific factory at a specific time. And I thought Shermans were awkward!
It's a very full box! It always is when the kit is another version of vehicle that has previously been released. Mind you....it does mean that you end up with rather a lot of bits for your spares box at the end of the day!
In addition to a box full of grey styrene, we're also supplied with two bags of 'Magic Track' individual link tracks, two photo-etched brass frets, one large and one small...actually very small, and a wire tow cable. Of course we're also supplied with a six-side instruction leaflet and a small decal sheet too.
As far as I can tell, nearly all of the contents are from the previously released versions of the T-34 in one form or another, and whilst this may result in some less than state of the art parts, it does...as mentioned earlier...result in a good few useful bits left over if you're primarily a Russian vehicle modeller.
Dragon implies that the turret is newly tooled, along with the soft-edged turret bottom, tow cable ends, idler wheels and road wheels. I'll leave the final say on that to those that know about these models....there are plenty of you out there!
The kit comes with no interior, but the various hatches etc are all supplied as separate parts as you'd expect and have some detail on their inner surfaces. The large rear engine grill is supplied in two versions, one with a moulded, closed plastic grill, the other consisting of a frame that the supplied photo-etched grill can be used. The lower hull is supplied as a one-piece slide-moulded part, which actually requires some very miner surgery from the outset. The one piece hull roof has the option of fitting photo-etched rear mudflaps, again requiring the moulded plastic ones to be removed. Along with the aforementioned large grill that is supplied as solid plastic or photo-etch, the four long rectangular grids on the engine deck are also supplied in two variations, one set having cross-members, the other without them, but both unfortunately are supplied as solid styrene. There are three different glacis plates supplied in the kit, and each is very different, plus the instruction as to which to use is almost 'hidden' on the instructions...but look carefully and you'll find which one to use! There are alternative photo-etch brackets and straps for fixing the spare track links to the fenders, along with photo-etched detail for the track stowage box in the form of hasps, hinges and fixing brackets.
The Commanders' cupola may well be one of those sprues that is brand new, although I'm not absolutely sure of that... as before, others here far more knowledgeable than me on this subject will know for sure. However, if it is then it's surprising that the sprue has the periscope made from solid grey styrene and that there's no transparent option offered? The main gun barrel is supplied as a one-piece slide-moulded part with a pre-drilled end, with a simplified breech assembly supplied. There are a series of casting numbers moulded onto on the sprues that can be used for the turret, although you'll need further references if you desire accuracy as to which ones to use.
The markings options catered for on the instructions and supplied decal sheet are for two vehicles, both from unidentified units, both in winter whitewash schemes over 4BO green, one in Germany sometime during 1943/44, and the other on the Voronezh Front during 1942/43. See below for further details.
If you're 'into' Russian armour to the extent that you really must have one of these, then you're probably already aware that it will need some minor corrections to be absolutely accurate for what it purports to represent. More to the point, you'll know exactly which areas need correcting. It's a nice kit, with good detail, good engineering overall, and some nice touches. Recommended.
Many thanks to Dragon models for the review sample.