Home  |  What's New  |  Features  |  Gallery  |  Reviews  |  Reference  |  Forum  |  Search

T-34/85 Model 1944



Zvezda's 1/35 scale T-34/85 is available online from Squadron.com


S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: 3533
Scale: 1/35
Contents and Media: See text for details
Price: USD$18.96 from Squadron.com
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: Accurate; good quality moulding; important wartime variant of the T-34; good value.
Disadvantages: Stiff track lengths; solid radiator vent grille.
Recommendation: Recommended


Reviewed by Brett Green




Three new 1/35 scale T-34/85 models have been released in the last five years.

All three (Zvezda, RPM and Dragon) have many features to commend themselves, but comparisons will be inevitable. In summary though, the Dragon T-34/85 eclipsed all of the earlier releases in terms of detail, fit and finesse; but that kit is now getting hard to find.

The Zvezda T-34/85 kit was originally released in 1997 and was subsequently also boxed by Italeri. The current release from Zvezda is moulded in olive green plastic. There are a few sinkmarks, but nowhere near as bad as those found on RPM's T-34/85 Model 1946.

This kit is labelled "Model 1944" but displays virtually all of the typical attributes seen on T-34/85 Model 1945 vehicles. These include squared off front mudguards, large cupola with single-piece hatch, bulge in the turret to accommodate the traverse mechanism, rear mounted smoke canisters, and a good looking Model 1945 turret. As far as I can tell, the only feature missing is the small lip/bulge on the turret side next to the commander's cupola.

Details of the kit contents are as follows:


Lower Hull

The lower hull is provided in four separate parts. These parts are in common with the earlier Italeri/Zvezda T34/76 and SU-100 kits. The swing arms for the roadwheels are moulded to the lower hull sides.



The roadwheels are a slightly unusual smooth-tyred, plain dish type. Wartime vehicles with the plain dish wheels were usually seen in combination with perforated tyres (as supplied in the Tamiya T-34 kits). The domes on the small hub caps are moulded off-centre - a problem shared by the caps on the Tamiya T-34s. A nice touch in the Zvezda kit is the positionable idler arms. This allows the modeller to guarantee a good fit when employing individual track links. This is particularly critical with a large, two part track-link such as the T-34.



The kit tracks are vinyl. They are quite stiff, and are made up of two lengths per track-run. I don't like the look or feel of these, and will probably use an after market set. Several companies produce after-market individual track links for the T-34. The most affordable is a very inexpensive set (less than USD$6.00 at Squadron) from Maquette.




Upper Hull

The upper hull is crisply moulded. Sponsons are not boxed in. Details such as the interior of the driver's hatch, the fuel drums and smoke canisters are quite well done. Stowage accessories are okay, but tools are poor. Fortunately, apart from the long saw, it is rare to see tools stowed on wartime vehicles. Two injection-moulded cables are also included.



Ventilation grilles for the engine and radiator compartments are moulded as solid parts - nothing fancy here! However, the transmission vent hatch is a separate part, making it easier to add mesh to the very prominent grille.

Owing to the parts rattling loose in the box, the rear left-side mudguard broke off before it arrived here. It will be a very simple matter to restore this part to its rightful place.



The shape of the Model 1945 turret seems good, and it relationship with the hull looks right. Zvezda provide some nice casting marks on the turret sides. However, this is somewhat spoilt by heavy handed texturing of the turret sides overall. The texture is more reminiscent of decorative cement rendering than rough-cast steel, although it will probably look better under a coat of paint.



The mantelet is very nice. The one-piece gun barrel with separate muzzle will help minimise unsightly seam lines. Although no breech is provided, the hatch inner detail is quite acceptable. Ventilators are the twin-domed variety. All turret detail, including the pistol port plugs, vision slots, handrails and lifting hooks, are provided as separate parts.





The Zvezda T-34/85 Model 1945 should still be popular with Soviet military modellers this time around.

This kit lacks the sophistication and detail of Dragon's T-34/85; but the lower price, wider availability and good level of accuracy still makes it worthwhile. Its overall finish is sharper than RPM's T-34/85 Model 1946 too. (seeing as the RPM kit provides a stack of decal options for the Model 1945, you will also be able to use some of these on the Zvezda kit). Furthermore, it is far more accurate than the Tamiya T-34/85 which reappears from time to time.

However, don't expect a kit that is either as well detailed or as simple to build as one of Tamiya's or Dragon's latest offerings. Even so, the extra effort will result in an accurate late WWII Model 1945 T-34/85  With a new set of tracks and some photo-etched grilles, this should be a very nice representation of a vitally important version of the ubiquitous T-34.


Thanks to Squadron.com for the review sample.

Review and Images Copyright 2002 by Brett Green
Page Created 09 May, 2002
Last updated 22 July, 2003

Back to HyperScale Main Page

Back to Reviews Page