Captured T-34/76 (1940)
|Kit # 251||Review
by Stephen "T-34
whisperer" Brezinski - sbrez(at)suscom-maine(dot)net
Edited by Rob Haelterman
This in-the-box review is complimentary to my review of the 1/72 scale UM kit 336, the model 1940 T-34 with short 76 mm L-11 main gun which shares most of the same kit sprues and etched brass parts. Take a look at the review of kit 336 to read about the other sprues. Many of the comments on kit 336 will also count for this kit.
Though labeled by UM as a model 1940 T-34/76, by all my references this is referred to as a model year 1941 (m1941) based on the longer F-34 tank gun and the bolted mantlet. I understand that both this model and the m1940 T-34 were built in the same time period with eventual preference for the longer gun causing the production of the shorter L-11 gun to cease in late 1941. German references would call this a T-34 B.
Based on the number of photos I have seen, perhaps hundreds of T-34 tanks were captured and taken into service by the Germans and other Axis forces on the Eastern Front. They were even found within Axis units in France, Italy and the Balkans. Some got major modifications like this UM kit, others were just painted with oversize German crosses and used till destroyed or till they broke down.
UM’s very nice box art shows the vehicle the model is based upon, a captured (Beute) T-34 m1941 with modifications made by German repair shops. We see a welded turret, which is different from the cast turret included in UM’s kit 336. The gun and mantlet are common to the model 1941 through model 1943, while the driver’s hatch, towing points, bolts across the point of the bow, DT machine gun mount and flat tracks are shared with the model 1940.
The German modifications that are evident here and in the scan below are two storage boxes on the rear of the port and starboard sides, the Notek light on the port side and a Pz III/IV commander’s cupola on the turret roof.
The UM model consists of about 100 crisply molded, dark green styrene parts, three etched brass parts, 20 soft plastic tires for the roadwheels, and six cast-resin parts particular to this model kit. Forty four of the styrene parts are the hard link & length track parts.
Here is a former German Beute T-34 m1941 captured by Allied forces in France and now residing at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland, USA and basically the same vehicle as within this UM kit. From this view we can see the welded turret and m1941 F-34 gun and mantlet but without cupola. We see the German storage box on the rear quarter of the upper hull just like in UM’s kit and the opening in the hull for the radio antenna over the forward roadwheel. At the rear of the hull, far left, we see the spare-track storage. Lower down is the rubber-tired idler wheel at the front (right), and the five dish-shaped rubber-tired roadwheels. Above the 2nd and 3rd roadwheels on the hull side are German tool clasps. The track is the early stamped track with little tread pattern, while UM gives us a track common to 1942 and 1943.
The back of UM’s box shows us the recommended painting and marking for a rather interesting T-34 used by a German unit in 1942-43 that UM does not identify (though identified on page 95 of Panzer Tracts 19-2 as belonging to the 4.(Pz.)Kp./s/Ski.Btl.1 [4th Panzer Company of the Heavy Ski Battalion] ).
The sheet of UM’s water-slide decals has markings for two different T-34s; I surmise that the other set of markings, for vehicle 125, is for a different UM kit. Notice the five crosses for the one vehicle: captured vehicles had to be marked well to inhibit friendly-fire issues.
This Sprue-C is very similar to UM’s Sprue C from kit 336 except for the welded turret, a few hull details and gun mantlet parts. Some weld seams scribed onto the hull would be an easy improvement. The welded turret is competently done but like UM’s T-34 m1940, the turret has no rear bolted-on hatch for removing and servicing the main gun. I have seen, and have been told by a fellow online modeler, that some model 1940 and model 1942 cast turrets had no rear hatch so UM’s turret rear may be correct but does not represent the majority of T-34/76 turrets made. Seeing this is a model 1941 vehicle I understand that it should have the rear bolted-on turret hatch.
A close-up of the real welded turret from the Aberdeen T-34 m1941 shows the prominent weld seams around the side periscope and front plate. Here we see the correct position of the side viewport that UM appears to have molded in an erroneous location. The German tool clasps on the hull side are for handtools not present on this particular Beute T-34 and not included within the UM kit. Dragon’s kits #7268 and #7316 do include the German hand tools that can be borrowed for the UM model.
This photo shows the assembly instructions of UM’s captured T-34 turret and the resin parts, and with the six amber-colored cast resin parts just right of center. The resin parts consist of the two hull storage boxes, three turret hatch & cupola parts and a Notek light. The Panzer III cupola is adequate but not as accurately portrayed as that offered by Dragon in their Beute T-34 kits.