Although I have always been intrigued by WWII armored vehicles, I have never been a big fan of Russian AFVs. However, given the fact that I have been in need of an intermediate project in between the monthly installments of the Millennium Falcon AND the excellent reputation that Trumpeter possesses, I decided to take the plunge.
The Trumpeter T34/85 tank kit is produced in 1/16 scale which makes for a fairly large, but very manageable project when finished. Trumpeter kits are unusually detailed whereby each section such as the interior, engine, exterior, and turret almost represent complete model kits by themselves. With over 845 parts in this particular kit, this is not a project that you can finish in a weekend.
This page was last updated: December 6, 2016
New World Productions
And now a little history....
T-34/85 Soviet red army tank considered by many as "possibly the best tank of World War 2, the T-34/85 was fast, maneuverable and hard-hitting. Appearing in large numbers from early 1944, it led the assault on Germany until the end of the war.. The major change in T-34 production after 1943 was the arrival of the 85mm (3.34in) gun T-34/85, which had a new three-man turret and a larger-diameter turret ring. The huge losses of T-34s in 1941 and 1943 were due respectively to the speed and surprise of the German advance (Blitzkrieg) and the development of new German heavy tanks, such as the Tiger and Panther.
Although similar in appearance and using the same automotive components, the T-34/85 was a major redesign, with a new three-man turret, the same as that used on the KV-85. The new gun was the D-5T85 dual-purpose 85mm (3.34in) gun, which could fire shells able to penetrate 102mm (4in) of armor at 1000m (3280ft). This was enough to defeat a Panther or Tiger at closer range. The T-34/85 was rolling off the production lines in January 1944, only five months after the design was initiated. That year over 11,000 were produced and these played a major role in pushing the Germans back into Germany in late 1944. The T-34/85 remained the principal Soviet tank until the late 1940s
This kit depicts the T-34/85 Model 1944 with “angle-jointed” turret and early split style commander’s hatch.
The Trumpeter Kit....
Trumpeter has developed a reputation for producing beautifully detailed scale models whereby the casting quality and packaging are outstanding. This kit measures about 17 inches long and 8 inches wide and is a superb representation of a T-34/85. The kit features a two-piece hull (upper & lower) with micro molded details & textures, photo-etched brass parts for hull details, exquisitely detailed interior hull compartments, engine compartments are rendered with meticulous detail including piping, small fittings, brake assemblies, engine block, gearbox, air cleaners, exhausts, radiators & central bulkhead.
The hatches can be fully functional and the highly detailed individual track links are molded in hard black ABS plastic. Each toothed and flat track link simply clip together. The instruction booklet is very detailed and reasonably easy to follow. I could not help but notice that the recommended age level for this beast is 12 years old so I think I am going to be okay.
I am not interested in making too many changes to the original kit since the detailing is quite good. Some of the cabling and wires will be substituted with floral wire however.
Before I could tear open the box containing this impressive kit, I knew that I would need to do some research. My knowledge of Russian armor is not particularly good and I was interested to see how other modelers approached the assembly of their T34's. In addition, I knew that I was going to need a number of tools for this project including X-Acto knives, sanding boards, sprue cutters, hand vise, clamps and glue for starters. I like to use Tamiya acrylics along with Vallejo primers, MIG oil pigments, and Metal Master Russian green topcoat for the outer hulls.
I quickly found several really outstanding project builds of this particular kit on the Britmodeler and AFV Modeller websites. Toadman has a terrific picture portfolio of restored T34/76s and T34/85s which provide excellent shots of the interior, exterior, engine etc. I did not waste any time in purchasing a CD from Toadman knowing that I would need guidance on paint schemes both inside and out.