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Dragon T-34 Model 1941, Item 6205

by Frank De Sisto

Contains 409 parts in injection-molded styrene plastic, two lengths of twisted brass wire, 41 parts in photo-etched brass, 14 markings options and eight pages of instructions in 19 steps. Price: unavailable

This is the most recent iteration of a long series of T-34 kits from DML. This family includes three different T-34/85s, an SU-85M and -100, as well as the earlier T-34 Model 1940.This Model 1941 represents a significant upgrade of the entire series as it is the first of all of these kits to provide for a separate engine air intake cover, which has been re-worked to accommodate the included photo-etch screening and framework. There is also an attempt to give some detail to the area under the screening via the use of a printed card that has a photo of the slats and fan normally seen in this area. Weather or not that will be adequate for the more finicky modeler remains to be seen. Other etched bits are also provided for such things as belts and buckles for the external fuel cells. For those modelers uncomfortable with the use of photo-etched parts, the original solid plastic intake cover is included. Another first for a plastic kit is the inclusion of wound copper wire, instead of the more traditional nylon string, to represent the tow cable commonly seen on most tanks.The main visual difference between this kit and the Model 1940 is in some turret details and, of course, the longer 76mm F-34 gun tube with its new mantlet, and all new parts for the gun’s breech. There is also a choice of turret rear plates, either the type with four bolts or the type with six bolts.The other difference is in the markings schemes this kit will allow. There are two specific sets, one of which allows for the peculiar part whitewash, part cross-hatch camouflage pattern as seen on some T-34s. The other is also rather colorful as it depicts a two-tone brown and green vehicle. In addition, there is a separate decal sheet and accompanying leaflet, which gives various slogans and tactical markings for another 12 vehicles. I found confirmation in my references for all of the markings, which proves that the kit’s designers did their homework.Since the vast majority of the parts come from the Model 1940 kit, some modelers will be familiar with them. For those who are not, some details are in order. The individual link tracks are of the so-called “plate” style and are accompanied by separate ice cleats. The suspension consists of early pattern dished road wheels with perforated rubber tires, early drive sprocket and early rubber-rimmed idler wheel. The hull features the round-nosed rear plate, rectangular transmission access hatch, and early side and top grillwork. The small access plates and fittings around the turret race are also different from the T-35/85 kits. The hull sides feature the full assortment of tools usually seen on early vehicles, the rectangular fuel canisters, (they are NOT tool boxes as some reviewers have stated) as well as a new tool box. The glacis plate includes the early driver’s hatch, early bow machine gun, twin headlamps with separate clear lenses, early tow couplings, rounded nose fillet, rounded and extended mud guards and early lower bow plate. Overall, the detail can be considered to be quite excellent. Fit nearly everywhere is outstanding, with the front turret plate needing attention, where it meets the lower turret sides, at the turret race. The small access hatch on top of the engine deck does not quite fit the opening provided. This may due to this part being from the original kits, and the upper hull in this kit being entirely new. There are no visible ejector pin marks anywhere on the vehicle, except for the interior of the turret’s main hatch. This is a non-starter if left closed; otherwise it should not prove too much of a problem to clean up. Elsewhere, there are two pin marks on the inner face of each track link. These can be laboriously cleaned, or ignored. Or, the modeler can avail himself of the various after-market sets for this type of track, notably Friulmodel’s set, ATL-38. Likewise, there are no sink marks visible anywhere on the finished kit.The instructions are in the newer photographic style and are quite clear and easy to follow. Painting notes are keyed to Gunze and Testors colors.For several reasons then, this kit ought to be well received. For one, DML have finally, after years of producing T-34-based kits, acceded to modeler’s wishes by opening up the engine intake part and adding photo-etched screens. For another, the turret/gun combination as seen on this version saw more service than the L-11-armed Model 1940. And finally … it’s another T-34, and there can never be too many of them. Bring ‘em on, DML!

Highly recommended.

DML kits are available from retail and mail order shops. For details see their web site at: www.dragonmodelsltd.com.