1:72 T-34/76

Zvezda 5001 + RB Model 72B11

Zvezda's first "snap kit". Is it just a basic model for kids, with serious lack of details caused by simplified assembly? Or maybe it can be regarded as "a proper kit" and build into solid miniature of T-34? In order to answer those questions I bought it and build it. Here's how it went.

The kit

It's Zvezda's first easy kit attempt in AFV models. On the first glance looks quite nice and yes, it can be assembled without glue. However it has of course several flaws. Some of them are results of "snap" nature of the kit (e.g. few details missing), other not necessarily (e.g. drivers hatch is moulded in closed position with hull). On the other hand some details are quite nice. So definitely fine offer for kids, but if you want to build a "proper model"... decide for yourself.

Decals included in the kit give us possibility to build two Russian vehicles. First is the all green T-34 with white “20” on the turret, from 22nd Heavy Tank Brigade, as the instruction states. Tactical number informs us, that this vehicle belonged to commander (second digit) of the 2nd company (first digit) of mentioned brigade. Which was a part of 6th Mechanized Corp, and fight in 1943 in Voronezh area.

Second option is a camouflaged tank, named “Stalinets”, from 8th Heavy Tank Brigade. At least that's what the instruction claims. However, this T-34 in known to me literature is depicted as belonging to 30th Guard Tank Brigade and the turret markings supports that version.

Both of this tanks can be found on WW2 photos, which can be helpful in catching up missing details. For example- both T-34 were equipped with additional fuel tanks (although different types), which aren't included in the kit.

The build

I've decided to build this kit in a standard way- with glue & putty, removing any visible snap joints. It came together very nicely. The only places which required more attention were side fenders, where the snap-joints for hull halves were located. But some putty and sanding did the job, nothing difficult.

I chose to make the vehicle depicted on the box art- the “white 20”. In the “T-34 Mythical Weapon" book I found a photograph of an actual thing and it turned out, that I had to add some details. Hence the green parts taken from some Uni Models T-34 kit. They aren't very subtle, but in this model I wanted to focus on the paintjob. From the aftermarkets I used only RB Model 72B11 metal barrel (which appeared to short, so I had to extend it). Rest of the missing details were scratch-built. On the turret I added handles made from wire and some small details on hatches. Also, I drilled holes in the ventilator's cupola. Other than that I made a handle on the engine hatch in the rear plate, removed front fenders, hollowed exhausts' ends and added photo-etched detail on machine gun mount (again part taken from Uni Models kit). Oh, and I certainly didn't plan to use plastic towing cables from the kit.

Painting and decals

First, I've airbrushed the whole model with black Humbrol enamel as a primer. After masking the tracks with Tamiya tape, the coat of green was applied. I used Humbrol 150 “Forest Green”.

Some details were afterwards painted with slightly lightened base colour, to make them more distinct. Exhausts were painted with Model Master 1785 “Rust”, as a base.

Next- the coat of gloss varnish to achieve a good base for decals. The markings from Zvezda didn't cause any problems- I've applied them with help of Microscale Set and Sol liquids. After drying, decals were secured with another coat of gloss varnish. Markings from the box, which I used, has in my opinion one flaw- they are unfortunately somewhat over-sized.

Weathering

Wash was made from artistic oil enamel (Van Dyck Brown colour) thinned with White Spirit. I used it also to made some early weathering. Then I covered the model with coat of matt varnish. Tracks were dry-brushed with steel colour.

Next, I added "just a little bit" of wear & tear. Artistic enamels used for some dirt and colour variation, modeling enamels for paint chips, and pigments for dirt & mud.

Front reflector, hollowed earlier, was painted inside with aluminium metalizer from Agama. Then it was filled with transparent epoxy glue.

In the end, painted earlier towing cables were installed. I've used metal wire rope set from Eureka XXL and plastic ends from kit.

Finished model

The model depicts T-34 with tactical number "20", belonging to the commander of the 2nd Company of the 22nd Armoured Brigade, which was part of the 6th Mechanized Corps. Woronezh's region, 1943.

Addendum

Long after I finished this kit I came across some other photos of this particular vehicle. Unfortunately, they clearly show that the main wheels were the solid type, at least on one side. Oh, well...

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