Pz.Kpfw. T-34 747(r)

Manufacturer: Eastern Express (72050)

By Marko Mäkinen.

This is a model depicting a T-34 captured and modified by the Germans as used with their armored forces. The Germans valued T-34s' performance highly and had a total of about 300 T-34s of different sub-types in their use. Some of them were used in training purposes, but many of them saw extensive front line service even until 1945. The model is built using the very nice Eastern Express T-34 mod. 1942 kit. The kit is a "Mickey Mouse" version with no commanders cupola and two turret hatches (resembling the ears of the famous cartoon mouse in the open position) and with a full set of rubber road wheels. There is an excellent article by James D. Gray about building this particular kit in the "Internet Modeller" (http://www.internetmodeler.com/2003/april/contents.htm).

To make the model German is basically a very easy task. Germans had a standard programme to update the T-34s from 1943 onwards, but until that many of them were used in the condition they were captured. My example represents a late version of the tank used by the "Grossdeutschland" division, which is fitted with a Panzer IV commanders cupola for better visibility (a Panzer III cupola would do, too), a bigger tool box on the right hull wall and a notek light on the front armor. Germans also changed the radio equipment, but that requires no conversion to the model. I also added a German jack and a Panther style tool rack on the left side, which is a somewhat invented add-on, but based on the fact that Wehrmacht did conform the tool equipment of the captured Soviet tanks to their own liking. Side skirts could be included in a "German-ised" T-34, too. The painting is basic dunkelgelb, while a three tone camo or olive green would be possible, as well. The markings consist of individual identification numbers ("red 2"), divisional insignia and very visible crosses to prevent mis-identification by own anti-tank troops. They also include a national cross on the loaders' hatch to help aerial recognition. Besides the German conversions my model is added with turret seams made of stretched sprue, some drilling and sculpting, several wire handles, hooks and lift rings, a headlight cord, a towing cable and an antenna.

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