Dragon T-34 Model 1940 in 1/72
by Frank De Sisto
Injection-molded styrene plastic. Contains 87 styrene plastic parts,
one photo-etched brass part, two DS100 soft styrene track lengths, one
length of brass wire, a waterslide decal sheet and four pages of instructions
in seven steps. Price: $10.95 USD.
Aside from producing drawing-board panzers, DML continues to add historically
significant AFVs to their line of 1/72-scale armor. A sterling example
is this latest rendering of the revolutionary T-34, in its premiere production
version armed with the short L-11 76.2mm main gun.
This kit has a few nice touches, which will either aid the modeler by
easing some of the assembly steps, or provide some of the finer details
usually associated with after-market additions. For instance, using slide
mold technology, DML presents the modeler with each road wheel, idler
and drive sprocket pair molded together. But, unlike some older small-scale
kits from other manufacturers, the grooves that separate the wheels are
not only present, they are properly rendered. Slide mold technology has
also been used to render a single-piece gun tube with the bore already
hollowed out. For detail’s sake, DML also provides a single photo-etched
part to represent the prominent engine deck screen, along with an open
plastic part to which the screen is attached. For the squeamish, there
is also a plastic rendering of the part with the screen molded in. The
final touch is a length of brass wire for tow cables.
All stowage except for the two tow clevises are separate parts. This
includes tow cable ends, shovel, spare tracks, groups of ice cleats with
straps, fuel boxes with straps, head and tail lamps, shovel and jacks.
There is also a pair of tool boxes and what I think are jack blocks stowed
on the rear mud flaps. The driver’s hatch is molded in situ on the
glacis plate/fender assembly, while the suspension arms and axles are
all part of the lower hull tub. The separate machine gun blister also
has a separate plug and gun barrel. The turret has a separate hatch (with
no knock-out pin marks anywhere to be seen) with panoramic periscope in
the extended position. To this is attached the base and cover plate. This
can also be removed and the cover plate attached to show the periscope
in the retracted position. There is a basic gun breech as well as a pair
of seats for the turret interior. The gun can be elevated or depressed
Overall, molding is excellent with loads of fine detail for this scale.
Fit of the main components was excellent after clean-up, with one exception.
The front end of the turret (part A39) will require care in clean-up (much
like the bigger 1/35th-scale kit from this manufacturer) in order to fit
properly. But, it is no great problem. When cutting part A71 (the engine
deck air intake section) from the sprue, be very careful since it is very
delicate and may break as mine did. It was a single clean break, which
was easily glued back without any fuss whatsoever. The fit of the driver’s
hatch/glacis plate (part A72), to the hull front, will need a bit of tweaking,
otherwise there will be a gap between the front fenders and the side fenders
on the hull. One curious and rather serious omission was noted, however.
On the upper rear hull plate (part A58), the hinges and the bolt pattern
for the rectangular transmission access hatch is delicately represented,
but there is a bit of a problem; the lines to represent the outline of
the hatch itself are nowhere to be seen! This should not be too big a
problem to add, but someone at DML was definitely asleep at the switch!
The track lengths, in DS100 soft styrene are well detailed and come pre-finished
in black. They can be glued with normal styrene cement. The detail on
the road wheels, idler wheels and drive sprockets is quite subtle and
will reward careful painting. Note that because of the way the wheels
are molded (see above) the holes that go completely through the idlers
and sprockets are there, but they’re plugged. The modeler can use
paint to add depth, or better yet, carefully drill them out, which will
not be too big a chore.
The instructions are well-done, but be careful at step 2, since the addition
of the periscope cover (part A49) to the driver’s hatch/glacis plate
(part A72) is not very clearly shown. The paint scheme given is plain
dark green, 4BO. The markings from Cartograf of Italy are beautifully
printed and will mark about two dozen tanks. But, I have never seen a
photograph depicting this version of the T-34 with markings of any kind.
The sheet has 16 sets of tac numbers, 18 sets of slogans, four styles
of Soviet stars and two pairs of Guards insignia. This will keep any small
scale modeler of Soviet AFVs going for quite a while.
Altogether, this is an excellent little model as it features fine details,
ease of assembly and almost no problems with accuracy or fit. DML is coming
out with more variants on this chassis including a Model 1941, 1942 and
1943 with hex-shaped turret. It’s gonna be a busy time for Braille
DML kits are available from retail and mail order shops. For details
see their web site at: www.dragonmodelsltd.com.