I n t r o d u c t i on
As an appropriate follow-on to the Trumpeter Jadgpanther (my first armour model) I tried this 1/72 Dragon T-34-85. What a nice kit. The details are crisp, the fit is good, and the wheels are provided as individual pieces with little-to-no flash to deal with: nice. This all looked pretty good to an airplane guy that’s still coming to grips with armour kits.
B a c k g r o u n d
The T-34 is a Soviet medium tank that had a profound and lasting effect on the field of tank design. At its introduction in 1940, the T-34 possessed an unprecedented combination of firepower, mobility, protection and ruggedness. Its 76.2 mm (3 in) high-velocity tank gun provided a substantial increase in firepower over any of its contemporaries; its well-sloped armour was difficult to penetrate by most contemporary anti-tank weapons. When it was first encountered in 1941, German general Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist called it "the finest tank in the world" and Heinz Guderian affirmed the T-34's "vast superiority" over existing German armour of the period. Although its armour and armament were surpassed later in the war, it has often been credited as the most effective, efficient and influential tank design of the Second World War.
The T-34 was the mainstay of Soviet armoured forces throughout the Second World War. Its design allowed it to be continuously refined to meet the constantly evolving needs of the Eastern Front: as the war went on it became more capable, but also quicker and cheaper to produce. Soviet industry would eventually produce over 80,000 T-34s of all variants, allowing steadily greater numbers to be fielded as the war progressed despite the loss of tens of thousands in combat against the German Wehrmacht. Replacing many light and medium tanks in Red Army service, it was the most-produced tank of the war, as well as the second most produced tank of all time (after its successor, the T-54/55 series). At 44,900 losses during the war, it also suffered the most tank losses of all time. Its development led directly to the T-54 and T-55 series of tanks, which in turn evolved into the later T-62, T-72, and T-90 that form the armoured core of many modern armies. T-34 variants were widely exported after World War II, and in 2010 the tank remained in limited front-line service with several developing countries.
(Edited from Wikipedia)
T h e B u i l d
All sprues were soaked in a 50:50 solution of Windex and Denatured Alcohol (DA) to remove oils and mold release prior to any parts removal. Note: The DA should be labeled for “Cleaning Glass,” and not be intended as a fuel (Wrong Type!). After a 2 hr soak, the sprues were rinsed with warm water and set aside to dry.
All parts were cut from the sprues with GodHand parts nippers (awesome tool) and cleaned up with a new #11 blade, micro-files, and both #600 and 1,000 grit Alpha Abrasives.
The fit of this kit is excellent. Tamiya Thin Cement was used for most of the build and thick CA glue (Bob Smith Industries) used for smaller parts. After just a few sessions of easy and enjoyable modeling, a nicely detailed "peanut scale" T-34 was ready for priming and paint: my favourite part.
C o l o u r a n d M a r k i n g s
Mission Model Primers and Paints were used throughout the build. Primers and clear coats were applied with an H-S Evolution fitted with a 0.20mm tip. Fine-Line work was done with an H-S Infinity.
Briefly, the model was primed with Mission White Primer, pre-shaded with Mission British Slate Grey, painted with Mission Dark Olive (faded) that was lightened ~5% with Mission White.
After the turret and hull stripes were shot Mission White, the model was given a coat of Semi Gloss in preparation for pigments and washes.
W e a t h e r i n g
Paint "chipping” was replicated with a fine brush and Mission Panzer Grey. This was followed with rendered artist's oils to simulate smears, and stains as described in the "Tank-Art" series of books by Michael Rinaldi.
When dry, the pigments were locked in place with a coat of Mission Semi-Gloss and additional weathering in the form of dirt and smudges were applied with pigments (AK and Vallejo). These were subsequently locked in place with AK Pigment Fixer diluted to ~25% with Mona Lisa Odorless Thinner.
T h e T r a c k s
The nicely molded vinyl tracks were first shot with Mission Black Primer followed with a custom “Track Mix” composed of: Mission Standard Rust (60%), Rotbraun (30%), and Worn Tire (10%). That equates to a ratio of 6:3:1, respectively. This was lightened with a few drops of Mission White for scale effect.
When dry, the tracks were “weathered” with multiple enamel washes (AK) and pigments (Vallejo) locked in place with AK Pigment Fixer. After an additional coat of Mission Semi-Gloss, the track ends were joined using CA glue (Bob Smith) and the completed tracks maneuvered in place on the model. This was made easier by softening the vinyl tracks with a hair dryer.
“Droop” in the tracks was replicated by warming the tracks (hair dryer again) and immobilizing them with toothpicks while they cooled. An additional round of weathering with pigments blended the completed tracks with the wheels and hull.
The final finish was achieved with a light coat of Mission Flat.
C o n c l u s i o n
That was a lot of fun. The Dragon 1/72 T-34 is a nice kit that comes together quickly with little fuss. I'm starting to like these armour kits. Now, where's that Dragon Sherman......
Kit eagerly purchased by the builder.For more on this build visit Modelpaintsolutions.com
Model, Images and Text
by Model Paint Solutions