Kit #: 03130 Review by Rob Haelterman

Preliminary note:

Scans of the content of the kit can be found here.


Pictures from Henk of Holland website, used with permission


Construction was straightforward. It helps that the complete suspension can be built (and painted) as a separate part and added only at the end of construction.


As the diorama I had in mind for this kit required the suspension to be articulated, I cut off some suspension arms and repositioned them. Unlike the UM kit, the Revell kit doesn't come with separate parts for the swing arms.

I don't know if this modification is the reason, but I ended up a few track links short. I have heard rumors that this is a typical problem of this kit, but unless I build it again in the stock configuration, I can't be sure. Fortunately I had some spare sprues with track links lying around (bought years ago from Revell's Department X). This also allowed me to use a larger number of individual links to replace the sections that Revell provides. (For those who want to know the details, I added 12 individual track links and omitted two 4-link sections.)
Note that the T-34 track has a main link and a connecting link, which together span quite a distance, making it very difficult to get an even number to match when completing the complete track length.
I should also have paid more attention to the drive sprocket (which is to the rear in this tank). In contrast with most tanks (that have drive sprockets with teeth that engage the track), the T-34 engages the track teeth that go into openings in the sprocket. I ended up removing a bit of material on the inside of the sprockets to make the teeth fit. I also appeared to have used way too much glue to make the tracks stick to the roadwheels and it shows on the finished model (but hopefully won't, once the kit has found its final resting place in the planned diorama).
For those who are interested, the roadwheels in this kit are the full spider wheels typical of Zavod 183.


The Revell kit doesn't alow for an open driver's hatch. Worse, the driver's visors are closed (even though on the boxtop one is slightly open), so the driver in this kit is basically driving blind. Fortunately, I previously built an UniModel (UM) T-34/85, and, not being happy with the way it turned out, I salvaged the separate driver's visors from that kit and grafted them onto the Revell kit.

Most of the time spent on this kit's hull went into assembling the external fuel tanks and trying to get all seams smooth. Revell's idea of having two half cylinders and two lids per tank seems a good idea, but, in the end, caused me a headache. I believe UM's way to split the parts is more practical.

The oil tanks at the rear came from Leva set 72C18 and are a typical feature of late war T-34s. I believe they should be handed, but the Leva set gives you two identical oil tanks. I also believe I should have added piping to connect them to the engine compartment, but caught that detail too late.

The tow cable is from Eureka XXL, with towing eyes from the Revell kit, as I broke the ones from Eureka. The Eureka set is labeled as for the T-34/76, but it would have to do.

A small detail that is seen on the boxtop but not on the plastic parts is the hinge on the inner, vertical side of the front fender flaps, which I simply scribed into existence. I also drilled out the exhausts.



For the turret, I used the Leva set 72C18 for the early "flattened" turret, without bulge for the turret traverse mechanism and with the double hatch.
The Revell turret isn't bad in shape and represents the late "step-jointed flattened" turret with from Zavod 183 with late, large single hatch, but is extremely smooth. The small bulge on the left side for the turret traverse mechanism should also have been a bit more pronounced (like it is on the boxtop), in my opinion.
The Leva turret has a very nice, rough texture to it.
The cupola came from the same UM T-34/85 as mentioned earlier, as I found this area of the Leva set rather poor in detail. This cupola is the earlier type with double hatch as well.
I have been told that the cupola of the T-34/85 could rotate. That is why mine isn't perfectly aligned, right ?

Handrails are lacking from the Leva turret set, but can be taken from the Revell kit.

The barrel was replaced with an RB Model metal one (72B13), as Revell's barrel isn't quite round in cross section, while Leva's offering is even worse.
I'm a bit surprised that the gun collar in Revell's kit doesn't have the side extensions, which I would have expected on a late turret, but as the Leva set represents an earlier turret and as the mantlet is rather poor, I replaced it with the Revell part.


Marking options
I built my kit in fictitious markings, but for those who are interested, these are the markings offered by the Revell kit

Tim Lau offers the following comments:

Almost all of the 1/72 models of the T-34/85, except for the ones recently from Zvezda, are based on very dated knowledge, before anyone had figured out what turret details come from what factory, what wheels go with which factory, etc. (Even now, the research is not complete but things are much better.) So these old kits should all be presumed to have "inaccurate" decals. They just did not know better back in the 1990's and mid 2000's.

Anyway, vehicle 242 can be seen in this link.

The fenders, as you can see in the picture, should be curved. Unless I am mistaken, the cupola hatch should be the earlier, two-piece version instead of the one-piece version as depicted on the kit. (I would not even go into details like vision slits, electrical traverse and so forth because I do not have the Revell kit to compare. A bit more information can be found here.)

Essentially, the kit represents a later version of the T-34/85 than the actual vehicle. Even in terms of the decals themselves, there is a marking missing on the rear of the turret.
Also, the Revell decal says "S" instead of "Б" on top of the 242 number, whic is a big big big mistake. Note that the boxtop has the correct marking.
If you like 242 markings, you need a different kit (maybe Dragon?) and also need to buy Colibri Decals 72037.

Vehicle 32 looks like a fantasy re-imagining of vehicle 36 seen in this picture.
Not even worth the while to deal with these decals.






For the diorama, I used a set of Juweela individual bricks to build the wall, a set of Germania nuns and Garage Exclusive Models tombstones and cross.





[1] The T-34/85 in the Great Patriotic War, Part One, Brett Green.

[2] T-34 Bloody Peace-Maker Vol III, Ajaks.

[3] T-34 Mythical Weapon, R. Michulec, M. Zientarzewski, Armagedon & Airconnection

[4] The T-34-85 in WWII: A Closer Look, R. Peterson




Review sample purchased by the author.

Revell kits can be purchased from Tracks & Troops

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Article Last Updated: 12 December 2021

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