Eastern Express (Kit #72015)
is an example of a model that takes a little extra work to
complete, but the final result is fantastic. The model is fairly
typical of kits coming out of Eastern Europe these days, in that
it is a highly detailed model, but the engineering is not quite
as good as that exibited by such companies as Hasegawa or Revell.
the difficulties with the kit:
attachment tabs for each pair of wheels were off-center,
so it was easiest to sand the backs of all the wheels
completely smooth, and glue them together like that.
was a small gap on the hull side right above the forward
idler wheel, which resulted from a space between the
upper and lower hull pieces. It would be completely
obvious on the finished model when looking beneath the
fenders, so I had to fill it with a piece of styrene.
was difficult to sand smooth the seam from the two halves
of the spare fuel cells without destroying the attachment
straps, so I scratch-built replacement barrels. There
were no handles on the end of the kit barrels, so I added
them to my homemade barrels.
infantry handholds are extremely delicate, and I broke a
couple while trying to remove them from the sprue, so I
replaced them all with brass wire.
tracks were not long enough to fit around the length of
the bogie wheels. Photos show that the T-34 series of
tanks had a small amount of track sag, though not as
extreme as on the IS or KV series of tanks. Even so, the
tracks were about one link too short to make a perfectly
straight and tight track-run. But the track links come in
pairs: one with a guide tooth, one without. So to add two
new track links, I used the spare tracks which were
intended to be glued onto the hull. With the extra links,
it was possible to introduce a little sag to the tracks.
It was also very
tedious cleaning up the individual links where they
connect to each other.
highlights of the kit:
- It is
extremely well detailed and accurate. The hull dimensions
scale out very well compared to information from the
T-34/76 book from Wyawnictwo
Militaria. The hull may be a
millimeter or two short, but I think that is an
hard plastic tracks, although difficult to work with, are
wonderful to look at on the final product. Even though
they take a long time to attach, I'll take them over
vinyl tracks any day.
considering the few hassles mentioned above, it was a
very simple model to construct.
comes with the decal sheet intended for the SU-85 kit by the same
company. Although they have abundant carrier film, they look very
thin and well printed. The sheet contains a mix of slogans and
numerals, but I'm not sure which, if any, are appropriate for
this vehicle. I chose to model an unmarked vehicle from the
battle of Kursk, and painted it with Acryl Soviet Green, which
was very dark. Next time I use this color, I will try to lighten
it up a bit first.
the beautiful model that results from the little bit of extra
work, as well as the fact that this is the only plastic SU-122
available in 1/72nd (Al.By makes a nice resin kit), I highly
recommend this kit.
refer to the Modeling the T-34 article for
additional information about this kit. A Preview of the unbuilt kit
is also available for viewing.