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JS Models #JS04 T-34 Laminate Model 1943 turret

Tony Leung

JS Models "T-34 Laminate Model 1943" resin turret (item #JS04) Price FIM70.20 plus postage.

During the Continuation War (1941-1944), the Finnish Army captured and used a number of Soviet T-34/76s. One of these captured tanks in particular is quite unusual and is the subject of a resin turret conversion produced by JS Models of Finland.

What is so unusual about this tank to merit a resin conversion? This is a T-34/76 with a Laminate casting of the hexagonal style turret produced at Zavod 183 in Nizhni Tagil. JS Models labels this tank as a Model 1943, but Esa Muikku, one of the Finnish authors behind "Suomalaiset Panssarivaunut 1918-1997" told me that it should be called a Model 1942 instead. This tank was captured by the Finns near the Syvari (Svir) powerplant on 20 April 1942 and then repaired at the Finnish army's Central Repair Shop in Varkaus where it received four additional periscopes arranged just like those on the top of a KV-1 turret. As this tank was produced in 1942, it did not have the commander's cupola seen on later production hexagonal turrets. Furthermore, this tank had two PTK-5 turret periscopes rather than one periscope more commonly seen on Soviet tanks. While at Varkaus, this tank also received a set of Finnish style zip tool boxes, a pair of armoured head lights ( similar to those found on the T-26/T-28/T-35) and cut down front mud guards. Furthermore, this tank had the early style radiator grill covers like those found on Model 1940 and 1941s. The hull machine gun blister lacked the armoured mantlet and the turret top ventilator has 6 "arms" radiating outwards instead of the usual 4 found on hexagonal turrets. This is an unusual feature which I am still awaiting an answer. This particular tank also had early Model 1940 plate tracks.

The men behind JS Models, Jarmo Lindgren and Sampo Mikkola have produced a very good product. This is a solid moulded resin turret with a separate pair of "mickey mouse ear" hatches and came packaged in a zip lock plastic bag. The hatches were packed inside a small clear plastic case to protect them. A diagram is included to illustrate where the parts go. The Tamiya kit #35059 of the T-34/76 Model 1943 is recommended as the base kit. I only found a very small amount of excess resin on the bottom of the turret which was easily scraped off with a hobby knife. There are no resin pour plugs to saw off, even from the turret hatches! I found the details to be well reproduced, especially the weld lines! As for the dimensional accuracy of this kit, I cannot be a 100% certain as I don't happen to have a T-34 near my home to compare to. I did the next best thing by comparing the JS Models resin turret against the stock Tamiya T-34/76 Model 1943 turret and the Zvesda T-34/76 Model 1943 turret. All three turrets are of the same height. Personally, and I think many fellow modellers will agree, the Zvesda turret is better shaped dimensionally than the Tamiya one. The Tamiya turret is is too wide at the back. But the Zvesda turret does have one minor annoyance. As it was pointed out to me by Karl Brandel, the back corners of the Zvesda turret is much too sharp. After this was pointed out to me, I went over all the photos in my reference books to compare and found that to be true. The JS Models turret is shaped closely to the Zvesda turret overall and it has avoided the sharp edges of the back corners. It should be pointed out that this JS Models turret was made with measurements taken from the real vehicle rather than using the Zvesda kit as a base and then modifying it to make the master mould. Actually, there is a nice photograph in Squadron / Signal's T-34 in Action of a Laminate Turret T-34 with two German soldiers standing from inside the turret on page 24 which one can refer to and compare. The JS Models turret fitseasily into the Tamiya hull and into the Zvesda hull as well. If the modeller decides to purchase this turret, then perhaps he should also consider buying a set of Finnish T-34 vehicle tools and fittings made by JS Models as well. This is a well made product and easy to build as far as resin conversions go. I would recommend to T-34 fanatics who want to add a little colour to their T-34 collection to buy the JS Models turret and build themselves a Finnish tank. This product can be obtained in Finland through the following webstore http://www.kolumbus.fi/martti.kuivalainen/engindex0.html The prices listed there includes Finland's 22% VAT. If one wants to see what the completed model should look like, pictures canbe found in IPMS Finland's homepage http://www.crosswinds.net/~ipmsfinland/fin_malligalleria.html

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