T-34/85 Model 1944
Zvezda's 1/35 scale T-34/85 is available online from
S u m m a r y
||See text for details|
USD$18.96 from Squadron.com|
||Accurate; good quality
moulding; important wartime variant of the T-34; good value.|
||Stiff track lengths; solid
radiator vent grille.|
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
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:
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
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 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
inexpensive set (less than USD$6.00 at Squadron) from Maquette.
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.
Squadron.com for the review sample.
Review and Images Copyright © 2002 by
Created 09 May, 2002
22 July, 2003
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