Chesapeake Model Designs T-34/76
Model 1941 STZ (CMD 43)
by Frank De Sisto
Conversion in 1/35-scale resin and turned-aluminum. Contains: 38 resin
parts, one turned-aluminum gun tube and six pages of instructions. Price:
$30.00, plus shipping. (Note: the price listed here was confirmed by CMD
on June 17, 2005. The price given reflects an addition that is being made
to the set, as mentioned in the review that follows. Prices in various
other reviews reflect either an error or a special introductory “show
price” for AMPS 2005. In either case, those reviews do not account
for the additional parts, which are described below.)
When DML released their early T-34 kits, they opened up many more possibilities
both for modelers, and for after-market manufacturers who were partial
to this ubiquitous Soviet tank. Those interested may wish to check this
site for reviews of the DML kits. Chesapeake Model Designs has already
released two cast turrets for these kits, both of which have also been
previously reviewed on this site.
This is CMD’s third and most ambitious release for the DML kits
to date. It consists of a welded turret and hull components with details
peculiar to those produced at the STZ tank factory. For instance, STZ
used the “interlocking” method of welding the hull and turret,
as well as a simplified means of production for some of the vehicle’s
components such as the gun mantle, the turret sides, rear-end and hatch.
In addition, the forward edges of the turret’s sides were “scalloped”,
being constructed of separate plates. Items commonly seen on vehicles
produced in 1942 were also introduced such as “hammer-head”
tow shackles (front and rear), horizontal engine deck grill-work and a
re-designed driver’s hatch. Some vehicles also had appliqué
armor panels welded to the upper and lower glacis plates. Also at this
time, road wheels and idler wheels without rubber rims were introduced
to save raw materials. Only these last items are not included in this
conversion, but CMD has them in the pipeline for future release.
Although a deceptively simple conversion set, there are also some options.
For instance, two upper glacis plates are provided, one with, and one
without appliqué armor panels. There is also an appliqué
plate for the lower glacis plate. There are two different turret hatch
configurations as well as periscope options. As one would expect from
CMD, the casting of the parts is absolutely without flaw. There are some
very tiny pips to be removed, which are akin to what one would find on
parts from an injection-molded styrene kit. Details such as weld beads,
plate interlocks and armor texture are delicate and restrained.
Overall, the fit of all parts was excellent, with the turned aluminum
gun tube requiring no glue to keep it attached to the mantle, which itself
will remain movable with careful construction. The modeler must be careful
when fitting the new front and rear upper hull plates to the DML kit.
Remove a small amount of material from the DML hull, per the CMD instructions.
Test fit the panels, and remove more if necessary. I found that very little
needed to be removed (as per CMDs instructions), so proceed slowly. The
fenders will require care in fitting, the new driver’s hatch will
need careful clean-up in order to fit properly in the closed position
(as will the new transmission access hatch for the rear plate), and the
lower section of the turret will need some trimming around its edge to
fit within the details that surround the turret ring opening.
In addition, when CMD sent me the initial sample, I noted that there
should also be “hammerhead” tow shackles on the lower rear
hull plate. I then held off on the review while CMD fixed the problem.
This fix includes a new lower rear hull plate, a pair of early “hammerhead”
tow shackles, and the small “keepers” that held the cables
from dropping away if no tension was present. In addition, CMD has added
a new upper engine deck access hatch, to replace the ill-fitting part
in the DML kit. Well done, CMD!
The instructions consist of six pages, evenly split between written construction
notes and illustrations. There is a photo of the parts as well as a parts
list, so that the modeler can easily check the contents. The parts come
packaged in separate bags inside a small, tough cardboard box. Some skill
will be required to properly blend the plate interlocks between the DML
hull and the CMD front and rear hull plates. Likewise, the upper hull
edges, on either side of the turret ring will also need to have interlock
detail added by the modeler. A simple means of doing so is explained in
the instructions using text and a drawing.
This conversion is, as one would expect from CMD, very well produced
and sure to please fans of the T-34. It should be noted that CMD is also
serious when it comes to modeler’s feedback, thus the additions
that were made.
Chesapeake Model Designs (CMD) products are available for worldwide shipment
direct from the manufacturer. For more information see their web site
Phone/fax number is: 410-357-5496. Product images courtesy of CMD.