AER Kit # 7210; Toga Kit # 252; Cooperativa/Eastern Express Kit # 72008

This was the first self-propelled gun on the T-34 chassis which was released in plastic. It shares many of the same components as the AER T-34/85, and also many of the same comments. Unfortunately, I started construction on my kit a couple of years ago, so I had to scan the partially completed kit.

While the molding quality of this kit isn't quite as sharp as the other T-34 kits, it is still a fairly decent model. The hull in particular, is pretty well done. There is good bolt detail on the rear hull plate, and the rear transmission access hatch is molded in good relief. The welded hinge for the driver's hatch is fairly good too, although the hatch itself can only be posed in the open position without major work. The screening hatch over the engine fans is molded as a separate piece, as is the small, rectangular engine access hatch in the center of the engine deck, but there is no interior or engine detail. All of the fighting compartment hatches on the hull top are molded closed, and only the rear loading hatch could be opened up without much trouble.

These two scans show both sides of the sprue, but only one is included with each kit.

The wheel axles are molded onto the hull sides, like all T-34 kits, and are a little flat. Also, the spacing between the axles is incorrect. The kit has the front three wheels on each side very close to one another, when in fact, it should be the rear three wheels which are close. It probably wouldn't be too difficult to cut off an axle or two to correct the problem.

The wheels are flat and poorly detailed. Also, there are too few lightening holes in them. The spare fuel drums are fair, molded in halves, which may present a problem forming a clean join. The screening over the engine fans is not as good as the other T-34 kits, and lacks detail. The storage bins are simple blocks of plastic without any sort of hinges or lid detail whatsoever. Only one smoke barrel is included with the kit, and the instructions indicate it should be attached on the hull side, which I believe is incorrect. There should be two of them, and they should be located on the rear hull. Also there is no bolt detail around the rims of the muffler guards.

The tracks are the hard plastic, link and length style. While these are not quite as nice as the newest tracks from Eastern Express, or the ESCI hard plastic tracks, they are still light years ahead of vinyl tracks. The waffle pattern on the outside of the track is pretty good, and the inside surface of the track is fairly well represented also, although the track guide teeth could have been taller, and more pronounced (although limitations in molding technology may have prevented this). The tracks are very thick, but very easy to work with.

The decals sheet is very comprehensive, with about a dozen different marking options. They are printed in single colors, so registration is not a problem, and although the carrier film is spread over most of the sheet, it is very thin and with a matte surface texture. They look like they should be pretty decent decals, although I haven't tried them yet.

All in all, this is not too bad of a kit, although I'd recommend replacing the wheels with either resin after-market items, or plastic items from other T-34 kits. With the photo-etched brass after-market detail sets available for this kit, it should build into a decent model.

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