Manufacturer: Revell (03130)

By Marko Mäkinen.

In WW II the Finnish army captured amongst other equipment a total of seven Soviet T-34/85 tanks intact, which proved to be an important addition to the anti-tank equipment of the field army. All of them were successfully operated against their former owners by the 2nd company of the Tank Brigade "Lagus" on the Karelian Isthmus in 1944 and after the armistice in Lapland against Germans. Surviving vehicles of this type were removed from active service in 1962. This model represents the company command vehicle (Ps. 245-5) painted in the scheme of summer of 1944. The model is the fabulous new Revell kit, which is slightly changed to resemble the original, earlier type vehicle by cutting off the fender ends, changing the outer hull equipment a bit and enhancing the turret cast seams with stretched and sanded down sprue. The cast appearance of the turret is enhanced by softening the surface with liquid glue and then pressing the texture on with an old toothbrush. Some details are added (turret lift hooks, additional hull stowage hooks, support bars for spare fuel tank racks, track log, headlight cord, antenna). The national insignias and serial numbers are self made. The error with these is that the small serial numbers should be white instead of black. Altogether, this is one of the nicest kits that I have built, but there is one very annoying mistake, which is that there the track measurement is wrong, like many other fellow modellers have noticed. This leaves a narrow gap somewhere at the length of both tracks, which needs to be filled somehow.

I enclose a picture of an actual T-34-85 in Finnish Tank Museum in Parola for reference. This is not the same vehicle depicted by my model, and differs from it for the part of its fenders and some after war assemblies. The painting of the museum vehicle is not original, but replicated in recent years. A close resemblance of the wartime Finnish camo scheme can be obtained by using Tamiya XF-52, XF-57 and XF-58 colors, but in the small scale they should be toned a bit lighter.

NOTE: The Finnish national "swastika" insignia (used between 1918-1945) has no Nazi implications, but is an ancient sign of prosperity and good luck. It was brought to the Finnish armed forces by Swedish count Eric von Rosen (whose family crest used a swastika), who donated the Finnish Air Force its first aircraft in 1918, well before the German Nazi period. Because of its notorious Nazi reputation the swastika was replaced in 1945 by a blue and white roundel cockade, which is still in use.

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