by: Mark [ ]
Just two weeks after the start of Operation Barbarossa, orders were issued to create platoons using captured Russian tanks. A significant number of T-34’s were captured, repaired, and put back into service with these platoons. The T-34’s were designated as Mittlerer Panzerkampfwagen T34-747(r). The major modifications incorporated were a commander’s cupola and German radio equipment. Notak lights and turret storage bins were also a common addition.
What’s in the Box
The kit is from Academy and released in 2016. The box is sturdy and does a good job protecting the contents. Parts count is about 330, depending which version you build. What’s in the box:
28 sprues molded in beige (15 of these are for the 3 different styles of road wheels)
1 PE Fret
1 Piece of thread
1 Decal sheet
1 10 page Instruction manual
Looking at the Kit
The quality of the styrene is very good. There is little or no flash on any of the parts. Any ejector pin marks are located such that they shouldn’t be seen once built. A total of 24 parts are listed as not being used. In addition, a significant number of road wheels will also not be used depending on which version you choose to build.
Instructions – Standard Academy format, consisting of 10 pages of line drawings. Assembly is broken down into 15 steps.
Before building the kit, you will need to select which of the four versions you will build, as there are parts specific to the version you select.
Assembly begins with the lower hull and suspension. The hull is made up of three parts. The internal frame supports for the suspension help provide rigidity when attaching the hull sides to the hull bottom. You do want to make sure that the sides are square to the bottom. There are four different suspension configurations. A and B install on the right-hand side; while C and D attach to the left-hand side. The way the instructions are drawn, it would appear that each one will only fit in the correct location.
In Step 2, you attach the rear hull panel along with the swing-arms and idler axles. You also install part I9 as a center support piece. I would recommend that this part be installed in Step 1 as it will help you in squaring the lower hull pieces.
Step 3 requires you to know which of the four versions you plan to build. The kit comes with three different styles of road wheels. Two have rubber, so will have to be painted separately. The third style is the all steel version. The instructions provide you clear guidance on the roadwheel layout depending on which version you have selected.
Since you are provided three full sets, you can easily choose any configuration you want. Regardless of what you select, you will have a lot of roadwheels left over for the spares box.
You complete this step by installing the drive sprockets and idler wheels. Polycaps are not used, which would have been very helpful.
There is one error in Step 3. The labeling for the drive wheel is incorrect. The drawing is correct, but J8 should be J9, and J9 should be J8. There is only one way to assemble the parts, but, it’s still an error that Academy missed.
The kit comes with the length and link track style. The upper length (K1) is molded with a slight sag to the tracks. The individual links are assembled from two different parts (K3 & K4) that alternate. These sections are to be formed over the drive and idler wheels. Be sure to assemble the correct number for each section.
Step 5 only applies to version 1 or 2. If you are building one of the other versions, then you can skip this step. You are first required to remove four bolt heads. Then drill four holes where you just removed the bolt heads. These holes will be used to attach parts in step 9.
Unfortunately, you are not told what size drill bit to use. It looks like you should use a 1mm drill bit.
In step 6, you begin adding parts to the upper hull. You add the armored louvers and engine hatch. The front tow hooks and a few other small items. You need to add some parts based on the version you are building. For version 4, you need to drill four holes on each side. Again, you are not told what size drill bit to use. It looks like you should use a 1mm drill bit. One omission is that the part for the hull machine gun is shown, but no part number is provided. The part is I14
Step 7 completes the rear of the vehicle. Two options are provided for the rear hatch. Part I7 has the screens molded with the part. The other option, you add the pe screen and straps to the rear hatch. There will be a slight bend to the screen, but no bending tool is needed. Glue the level portion and let it dry. Then apply glue to the rest of the area and form the screen to the bend and hold in place with tape until it dries. Then apply the additional pe parts over the screen. The instructions do have an error here. The part labeled PE2, is actually PE4. PE2 should be the long thin strips that are not shown on the instructions. (You can see this on the attached picture of the PE fret)
The rear panel is completed by adding the exhaust and shroud. The exhaust pipes are slide molded so no joining seam to remove. Just a slight molding line needs to be removed. Part G2 is only added if building version 1 or 2. Finally you add the right rear tool box.
Step 8 has a few common parts, and specific parts for versions 3 & 4. The common parts are the hull machine gun, spare tracks, towing shackles, forward tool box. For version 3, you add the Notak light. For version 4, you assemble the fuel drums and attach to the hull.
Step 9 you continue adding common configuration parts to the upper hull. Handrails M14 are installed for versions 1/2/3 only. You also assemble the rear mounted storage boxes if building versions 1 or 2 only.
Step 10 is a very busy step and really should have been divided up into 2 or 3 separate steps. You begin with assembling the major turret parts. The surface texture is nicely done, however, I can’t speak to its accuracy. You then proceed to a 3-step process to assemble the turret roof. Two copula options are provided depending on your chosen version. So, select the correct style to complete the turret top.
Do pay attention to the orientation of the lifting eyes (M13) when you install them.
Next is the gun mantlet. Part E4 is inserted into E10. No glue should be used if you want the gun to move. The rest of the sequence is straight forward. You complete this step by adding the top and mantlet to the turret.
Step 11 adds parts to the outside of the turret. Only part E8 is common for all versions. The rest of the parts will be determined by the version you are building. You complete this step with the barrel. Again, this is a slide molded part with only a light molding seam to remove.
Step 12 assembles the drivers hatch. You have the option of configuring it for being open or closed.
Step 13 assembles the tow cables. The kit includes thread to represent the cables. The cable ends are also slide molded for a more accurate look.
Step 14 assembles the sections together. The upper hull is attached to the lower hull. The turret is installed. The drivers hatch is added as is the nose piece to the glacis plate.
Step 15 is the final step and adds the front fenders and you install the two cables as you wish.
Painting – Color callouts are provided for Humbrol (acrylic & enamel), GSI Creos (Aqueous Hobbycolor & Mr. Color), Lifecolor, Testors/Modelmaster (acrylic & enamel), Revell (acrylic & enamel), and Vallejo (Model Color & Model Air).
The painting guide does lack a proper top view which would have been very helpful for version 1. The other three versions are all single color with no camo pattern applied.
Decals – Options are provided for four different vehicles:
11th Pz. Rgt., 6th Panzer Div. Opn Zitadelle July 1943
Unidentified Unit, Karelia 1942/3
Unidentified Unit, Karelia 1942/3
(Pz.) Kp./schw.Ski.Btl. 1, 1st Ski. Jag. Div., Pripyat area, Ukraine, Spring 1944