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In-Box Review
135
T-34/76 early 1943 production
T-34/76 early 1943 production WW2 Soviet Medium Tank
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

When ICM announced news of the upcoming release of this T-34/76 it received a lot of negative comments from those members in the know when it concerns the T34. Having had this model land on my doorstep and the negativity it received, I decided to take a look and assess the comments made against what I have in my grubby little hands. As it would seem most of you here respect certain writers, I used a Squadron/Signal Publication titled ‘T-34 in Action’ written by Steven Zaloga and James Grandsen and illustrated by Don Greer and Steven Zaloga and T-34 Mythical Weapon written by Robert Michulec and Miroslaw Zientarzewski for reference.

Contents

ICM has changed their packaging for all models, or so it would seem from the last samples that arrived with me. The product is now packaged in a plain cardboard flip top box. The usual box top lid made of thin card is then placed on the cardboard flip top box. I feel this is an excellent move on the part of ICM now that large numbers of models are being ordered online and have to survive handling by various postal services. Well done ICM. Inside this new packaging you will find:
5 green sprues
4 vinyl track runs
2 vinyl cables
A decal sheet
An instruction booklet

Review

First Impressions
A close inspection of the box contents reveals that the green plastic used for this release is not of the same type or quality that I have seen in other ICM releases. The plastic is softer than usual, but it does not appear to have affected the quality of the moulded parts as indicated by the finesse of the mesh detail present. There are of course ejector pin marks, but these are also smaller and less pronounced than on earlier ICM releases and look to be placed where hidden on most occasions. My inspection also revealed that one of the wheels had not mould fully on one of the hubs; however in this kit that does not matter as there are plenty of spares. There are some sink marks present which will be covered in greater detail during the rest of the review. One very nice feature in a large number of locations is the weld bead detail.

Wheels and Suspension
The all steel road wheels look to match the reference in the title I have referred during the introduction, this detail also extends to the correct number of bolts on both the cap and hub of the wheels. The pierced rubber-rimmed road wheels also look to match this reference, the holes in the rubber tyre do look a tad on the large side, but I personally am not too concerned about that. The rear drive sprocket is also a very good match to the reference of the later type and applicable to this vehicle, I have noted no concerns here. The front idler wheel is well moulded, but only has 5 bolts around the hub instead of the 10 indicated in my reference; this is something some of you may wish to correct.

The suspension arms and suspension springs do match reference in the second title mentioned, but the bolted plate detail on the back edge of the arms where they enter the hull does not match reference in either title, with that said they do match reference images I took of a T-34/85 on display at Bovington Tank Museum. The bump stops on the hull sides are not accurate matches for the real vehicle due to being overly simplified and under sized, but as these cannot be seen I doubt this will concern many.

Tracks
The tracks included with this model are vinyl rubber offerings, each of the track runs require two lengths be joined together. The tread pattern does not match any of the listed examples in my reference, but they are close to Standard Summer version from the beginning of 1942. This track type is 500mm wide, the tracks in the kit scale up to 507mm and so close enough scale wise. There is an issue with the tracks as there are either 1 or 2 ejector pin marks on every other track link, which being vinyl will be impossible to fill; the location of marks inside the detail of the ground contacting face would make this impossible even if they were plastic links.

Hull
The lower hull appears to be correct from my examination with one exception; the point where the upper and lower hull meets at the rear is a match for a Factory 183 produced tank. Removal of the three hinges and replacement with two wide hinges near the outer sides could make this a Factory 112 offering. Moving to the upper front hull I noted concerns about the placement of the drivers hatch and the size of the armoured build for the MG; The MG blister looks a match for my reference in both titles. The drivers hatch detail is good and also has interior detail that may prove of use, its position on the hull looks to match the information in T-34 Mythical Weapon, but T-34 in Action indicates that it is very slightly to far towards the side by 1 or 2mm. one missing detail on the model that is very easy to correct is the missing grab handles that should be on both sides of the front face.

The sides of this model best match the drawings in ‘T-34 in Action’. The grab handles are correct as are the side mounted light, left track guard tool box and spare track link placement. The bow saw is present, but should not be placed where the instructions indicate it should be; this is not an issue as there are no locators for this part. The toolbox indicated for right track guard is not present in my reference, but is suitable for T-34’s that have the side mounted fuel tanks. The rear mounted external fuel tanks are a very good match in both shape and placement. You also need to add spare track link further up the right hand track guard, but this has been missed in the instructions.

The top of the upper hull came in for some stick about being a pick and mix. Having checked the deck against reference I was only able to find two errors. The rear mounted intake only has 3 hinges present and there should be four. The inner intakes behind the turret have been partitioned into six segments instead of five; I do not see this as a big issue but some may. On the inside of the hull ICM has included seats for the driver and radio operator/machine gunner and the tillers.

Turret
The turret supplied with this model is the hard edge type as indicated by the acute angle on the front lower edge. The rear portion of turret has the correct rounded edge detail, but I believe there should be a joined just above the rounded portion of the turret. The pistol ports in the front sides of the turret are correctly located. The turret sides have a quite nice sand casting texture present; the texture is random and so very convincing. The bottom of the turret has not been ignored detail wise as the ribs are correctly represented both at the front and the rear despite the rear area being hidden. One issue I do have with the lower portion of the turret is that it is a sloppy fit and has a good 2 or 3mm of movement.

The turret top is correctly laid out and also has the metal plate between the two hatches present. The turret hatches have reasonable detail on the outside, but only a moulded on handle on the inside. The hatches also have sink marks present on both faces, these are worst on the inside, but should be easy to fill and sand. The single periscope is the PTK-5 intermediate type and is reasonably detailed and suitable for this tank variant. The grab handles are well replicated and correctly placed. The housing for the main gun was questioned, but I feel it matches reference very well as regards shape and size and even correctly positions the main gun off to the right side. The weld detail is nice but here is where there is an issue, the detail matches drawings in 'T-34 in Action' but does not match drawings and photographic evidence in T-34 Mythical Weapon. The tabs on the outer edges of the mantlet need to be removed, as does the weld seams on the turret face; the weld detail should follow the shape of the mantlet from the half way point down to the bottom of the mantlet.

Weapons
The main gun is split in two halves and I would defiantly consider replacing this with a turned metal barrel. The mantlet is the correct standard type and has the rivet detail correctly placed. Also included with this model is the gun breach, the breach is fairly accurate as regards general appearance and even has the machine gun present and even includes the sight on the left hand side of the gun.

Finishing Options
The model is supplied with six finishing options, which are:
1st Leningrad front red banner tank brigade, Summer 1944
1st Leningrad front red banner tank brigade, Winter 1943/1944
Revolutionary Mongolia tank column, Winter 1943/1944
Komsomolets – Severomorerts tank column, Winter 1942/1943
Stalingrad front, Winter 1942/1943
5th Guard tank corps, Kursk, July 1943

Conclusion

This release from ICM does have some issues, but none of them look to be insurmountable. The sink marks are a pain and unexpected from ICM as is finding one of the wheels not fully moulded. I do suggest that the barrel and the tracks are replaced at a minimum, as this will I feel greatly improve its appearance. Other than the issues I have indicated in the review I see nothing else of concern when checked against my reference; that is of course viewing the model parts before assembly which may highlight some other issues. With some good reference and a clear idea of what is important to you should result in a pretty good model. One thing this review has highlighted to me is that different reference provides conflicting evidence, regardless of how good the book or who has written it.
SUMMARY
Highs: The look of this T-34/76 model should be an affordable variant that I have not seen or at least built before.
Lows: The moulding issues are a disappointment, as are the questionable tracks. I also expected to find a clear lens for the light.
Verdict: Despite the bashing that this model has had I don’t feel it is anything like as bad as some have mentioned.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 35365
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Mar 30, 2015
  NATIONALITY: Russia
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.04%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 84.66%

Our Thanks to ICM Holding!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Darren Baker (CMOT)
FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM

I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2019 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

If you play with the hinges at the real of the hull and source some side mounted fuel tanks, there are quite a few variants possible from this base. I also wonder how hard it would be to alter the front bottom join to get a soft edge and laminate turret.
MAR 30, 2015 - 11:17 AM
I am thinking of kit bashing this beast as well. I like the rear deck idea with the louvers and all.
MAR 30, 2015 - 11:22 AM
This kit does have some very good features and would not require a lot of work to build a good replica of a few hard edged turret versions of the T-34/76.
MAR 30, 2015 - 10:25 PM
I debated for a while on whether or not to post this. First, understand that I am not intending to make anyone look bad or to be the smartest guy in the room. My motivation is strictly from an interest in the tank and a wild and so far un-realized hope that a some point some kit maker will give us a really good and well researched model of the T-34-76. When ICM announced news of the upcoming release of this T-34/76 it received a lot of negative comments from those members in the know when it concerns the T34. Having had this model land on my doorstep and the negativity it received, I decided to take a look and assess the comments made against what I have in my grubby little hands. As it would seem most of you here respect certain writers, I used a Squadron/Signal Publication titled ‘T-34 in Action’ written by Steven Zaloga and James Grandsen and illustrated by Don Greer and Steven Zaloga and T-34 Mythical Weapon written by Robert Michulec and Miroslaw Zientarzewski for reference. “T-34 in Action” is a great but very old photo reference. The drawings and much of the information provided is well out of date. “Mythical Weapon” is also a fantastic photo reference with a lot of interesting historical details but suffers from some less than perfect translations and questionable technical information. Worse, many if not most of the drawings suffer from one level or another of inaccuracy. You have to be careful about which you choose as reference. The suspension arms and suspension springs do match reference in the second title mentioned, but the bolted plate detail on the back edge of the arms where they enter the hull does not match reference in either title, with that said they do match reference images I took of a T-34/85 on display at Bovington Tank Museum. I think this detail is intended to replicate the “torque plates” that were introduced along with the 500mm tracks. On DML kits these are molded to the hull (even on the Model 40/41 kits which should NOT have them). AFVC has included the base on their hull with the plate detail being a separate piece. Unfortunately for this kit it means that the suspension cannot be posed anything but “flat” since moving the position of the arms will also move, incorrectly, the position of the plates. The lower hull appears to be correct from my examination with one exception; the point where the upper and lower hull meets at the rear is a match for a Factory 183 produced tank. Removal of the three hinges and replacement with two wide hinges near the outer sides could make this a Factory 112 offering. It’s not so simple as replacing hinges. The entire upper and lower rear plates were different, with the upper plate overlapping the lower rather than butting up against it as was the case with every other factory. On tanks made before the last few weeks or months before ’44 you would also need to recreate the interlocking glacis plate, add bullet splash strips around the front and sides of the glacis and upper side plates on either side of the turret as well as adding certain other arcane small details. In addition to that Krasnoye Sormovo (Factory 112) never made use of cast wheels of any sort. You would have to find a full set of replacement “stamped” wheels to complete the conversion. The kit as is represents best a UTZ made T-34 from the second quarter (or there abouts) of 1942. Moving to the upper front hull I noted concerns about the placement of the drivers hatch and the size of the armoured build for the MG; The MG blister looks a match for my reference in both titles. The drivers hatch detail is good and also has interior detail that may prove of use, its position on the hull looks to match the information in T-34 Mythical Weapon, but T-34 in Action indicates that it is very slightly to far towards the side by 1 or 2mm. one missing detail on the model that is very easy to correct is the missing grab handles that should be on both sides of the front face. Based only on your photos the placement of the driver’s hatch seems pretty close to correct. The “inside” edge of opening for the hatch should be on the centerline of the glacis plate. Grab bars on the glacis plate would be appropriate for Factory 112 only. The top of the upper hull came in for some stick about being a pick and mix. Having checked the deck against reference I was only able to find two errors. The rear mounted intake only has 3 hinges present and there should be four. Not entirely correct. The switch from four to three hinges happened no later than early 1942. For the tank represented by the kit three is correct. A notable error is that the two engine deck covers (on either side of the raised center section with the large engine access hatch) are a hybrid of two different types. Whereas the front section is more or less correct for UTZ, ChTZ, Factory 174, etc, the rear part would be correct ONLY for Factory 112. Fixing the issue will require some cutting, filing, plastic stock, and shifting of details on the engine deck. Do-able but a PITA anyway. BTW, the large screened cover at the rear of the hull isn’t for air intake. It’s actually the engine cooling air exhaust. The air intake is via the grills on the top and side of the engine deck. The turret supplied with this model is the hard edge type as indicated by the acute angle on the front lower edge. The rear portion of turret has the correct rounded edge detail, but I believe there should be a joined just above the rounded portion of the turret. The pistol ports in the front sides of the turret are correctly located. The pistol ports were actually fairly uncommon on the hex turret, at least until the introduction of the commander’s cupola in mid-1943. The turret sides have a quite nice sand casting texture present; the texture is random and so very convincing. The bottom of the turret has not been ignored detail wise as the ribs are correctly represented both at the front and the rear despite the rear area being hidden. One issue I do have with the lower portion of the turret is that it is a sloppy fit and has a good 2 or 3mm of movement. Again, based only on your photos, the ribs on the turret ring area are too thick, too big, and far too square to represent the real thing well. Also, be aware that these ribs varied quite a bit between groups of castings. The turret top is correctly laid out and also has the metal plate between the two hatches present. That removable plate is an interesting subject in itself; it appears shortly after the introduction of the turret but then disappears not long afterward. So, early hex turrets don’t have it but neither do later ones. The housing for the main gun was questioned, but I feel it matches reference very well as regards shape and size and even correctly positions the main gun off to the right side. The problem I see with the turret “blisters” is they do not represent the profile, the compound angles involved, well at all and, at least based on photos of that kit part, are almost cylindrical. It’s a fairly obvious miss in terms of shape. BTW, the F-34 was offset only 12mm from the turret centerline. If you can notice an offset in 1/35th scale it’s probably too much The weld detail is nice but here is where there is an issue, the detail matches drawings in 'T-34 in Action' but does not match drawings and photographic evidence in T-34 Mythical Weapon. The tabs on the outer edges of the mantlet need to be removed, as does the weld seams on the turret face; the weld detail should follow the shape of the mantlet from the half way point down to the bottom of the mantlet. This is really more a question than anything else but I’m not quite sure what is being referenced here? If you’re talking about the plates on either side of the lower recuperator housing then, yes, those should be there and welded on three sides, top, bottom, and back (the front plate of the housing was removable for maintenance). Check the photo on the bottom of page 169 of Mythical Weapon for a nice photo of the detail I “think” your referring to. The mantlet is the correct standard type and has the rivet detail correctly placed. There are no rivets as such on the “mantlet” (the recoil mechanism housing/armor?) as such, only bolts. Also not mentioned, but I think fairly important to the finished look of the model are what appear to be numerous machining marks left over from the mold making process and, more time consuming to fix, the too small bolt detail on the rear plate as well as the miss-located boltheads on the round transmission access hatch. My personal opinion is that this kit looks like something from thirty or more years ago in terms of both detail and fineness. It's almost unforgivable from a company from the flipping birthplace of the tank! (As I've said before )
MAR 31, 2015 - 10:30 PM
Mark there is no need to be concerned that I will take offence as I enjoy this type of interaction. I will admit that some of my descriptions could be better if I knew all of the right words. I tried to supply images to help where my words failed. Your comments about the books I used in some way prove my point, what was known is now wrong and what is known will be wrong in the future. the respected authors of both titles are only correct to a certain level. The conflict between titles will always cause false assumptions on the part of the modeller as what was accurate yesterday, is questioned today and wrong tomorrow. I am really glad to see your reply Mark, Thank you
APR 01, 2015 - 01:58 AM
Mark, always love seeing your comments on the T-34.
APR 01, 2015 - 09:46 PM
I'm pleased that you took it in the way it was intended. There was a day not long ago where we would have been on the same page in regards to the volatility of what we "knew" about the T-34 but it's not quite so true anymore. Over the last several years there has been a lot of very good scholarship and firming up of what we actually KNOW (Grok?) about the tank. Things that we used to tend to question are now pretty well cleared up. With luck more of these books and articles will be available in English in the near future! Mark
APR 02, 2015 - 09:00 PM
Well, of course you do. (Thanks, Greg. )
APR 02, 2015 - 09:03 PM
I read all the negative comments and thought screw it I will check for my self. The first thing I did was plop the hull and turret down on the mythical weapons line drawings and they looked good to me. My only real concern was the turret with the split, if you think it was there no big deal, to me this is a very easy fix as all it requires is a bit of putty. I will wait for somebody to release a detail set and I almost always replace the tracks (I did not think these where that bad though). All in all I think the kit is well engineered. Mark was your kit warped, my was perfect?
APR 05, 2015 - 04:04 AM
   

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