T-34/76 Model 1940 w/F-34 gun
|Kit #: 337||
Edited by Al Magnus
Kit number 337 by the Ukrainian manufacturer UM depicts an early T-34/76 variant with the main gun upgraded to the F-34 cannon. Finns captured two T-34s of this 1940/41 type during the autumn of 1941 and subsequently used them against their previous owners. The UM kit in question appears to be the most suitable kit to depict these two Finnish vehicles. The actual vehicle I chose to replicate was manufactured at the HPZ plant in Kharkov, and this particular vehicle still exists. It can be seen here in its current outfit (note that some post-war alterations have been made) at: http://www.andreaslarka.net/ps231003/ps231003.html
I rarely measure my kits, and I did not do that this time, either. According to other reviewers the UM kit is very accurate dimension-wise and measure-wise and the details are not far off, either. The kit looks the part according to photographic reference, is molded neatly with nice details and no flash and it comes with a small PE fret and decent instructions, so I had no reservations accepting it as a starting point. The material is good, not too brittle and responds well to cutting and sanding. The decals are of impeccable quality, but as they covered only Russian subjects, they were useless to me.
The fenders are cleverly molded as separate strips and need to be glued to the top hull before mating the lower and upper hull together. Although the fit is precise noticeable seams will be left on the full length of the sides. The real vehicles had rather prominent weld seams in these locations, so the seams ought to be filled up with putty but left a bit rough.
The kit headlights are of a wrong type for my purposes, as they should have hinged covers and be placed on the fenders instead of the front armor. I only had one appropriate cover in the spares box, so I formed another as a mock-up out of a styrene block and glued in the not-in-use position. The installation knobs for the lights on the front armor were then shaved off.
Running Gear and Tracks
The illustration on the box cover shows the tank with older "smooth" tracks but actually the kit comes with later "waffle" style tracks. The Finnish tanks were originally equipped with the older tracks, although they were replaced later. I cannot confirm at which point this happened, and so I used the kit tracks, although this is almost certainly wrong for the intended timeline of the model. The tracks themselves are beautifully thin and detailed and link joints are exceptionally precise. However the alignment of the road wheels has to be exact for the tracks to fit tightly and this is where I had some problems.
Painting and Markings
My model is shown in its winter 1941-42 outfit. I have no photographic evidence of this particular vehicle in winter camouflage, although it must have been painted so in the wintertime. At this stage its registration number was R-111, but it was later changed to Ps. 231-3 (likely). The green base color is Tamiya XF-58, not that it shows much under the snow camo (Tamiya XF-2), which was applied freehand with a brush. The finishing touch included a light wash and a white pastel chalk treatment. In the pictures the satin varnish coating is not yet sprayed. It would enhance the appearance of the model quite a bit and also reduce the decal sheen.
This was only my third build in five years, and I feel I have not entirely regained the skill level I like to think I had before the break. I quite enjoyed the exercise and even if the outcome leaves a lot to be desired, this UM kit was fun and easy to work with. There are several T-34 models around and although I have seen just a few of them, I'm quite convinced that the UM offerings justly belong to the best of the bunch.
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Article Last Updated: 18 April 2011
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