Matchbox T34 model 1942 & Fujimi T34 model 1941
Both kits represent a 76 mm variant of the Soviet most famous tank and both of them are well worth getting. However, one has to be aware, that the Fujimi product beats the Matchbox one in overall detail and accuracy. Therefore, when you buy your first Matchbox T-34 dont forget to purchase the Fujimi kit, too as it is going to provide you with the details omitted or simplified by Matchbox especially the roadwheels which simply have to be replaced either with original Fujimi parts or their castings.
Both kits are accurate as far as the dimensions are concerned. The Fujimi product depicts Model 1941 of STZ production batch while Matchbox kit represents Model 1942 of Zavod No.112 Krasnoye Sormovo of Gorki. It is possible that the latter was influenced by an original Sormovo Model 1942 tank which founds itself in Warsaw Army museum. In such a case we are lucky enough to have an ACE publication on T-34 handy as there is comprehensive "pictorial" of the vehicle in question.
The Fujumi kit parts build into a neat representation of rolled-welded STZ turret commonly used on many T-34 tanks. The turret accuracy both scalewise and detailwise leaves nothing to be desired except perhaps some difficulties during assembly.
The Matchbox turret depicts a relatively rare example of Nitsenko-Buslov cast turret. The photos of cast turrets of Models 1940, 1941 & 1942 are generally harder to find than the regular rolled-welded examples.
However, both kit turrets are fully interchangeable and one can easily place Fujimi turret on the Matchbox hull to get a vehicle that was more frequently seen. Unfortunately, we will have to make some alterations and improvements to the Matchbox turret before we can utilise it somehow.
Due to the method of assembly, the contours of the turret where it meets the turret ring are not properly shown and the turret ring itself does not have the slight angling which it should. The details of the side vision ports are poor. These problems would be difficult though not impossible to correct using photographs of the actual vehicle as a guide.
The gun barrel is 3,5 mm too long and a bit chunky and the 12,7 mm DShK Model 1938 MG was never fitted to the 76mm armed T-34 tanks as an AA mount. It can easily be omitted and the location hole filled in.
Again, both hulls scale well into 1/76 and depict all the subtle differences between Model 1941 and Model 1942. The Matchbox hull has some parts missing and these are primarily separately moulded towing hooks and spare track attachment lugs. The fuel tanks provided by Matchbox characteristical for Zavod No.112 production batch are not well moulded or particularly accurate and the method shown for mounting them on the hull side is incorrect. However, they were not carried until very late 1942 so can easily be omitted. Matchbox also chose an incorrect method of spare track link stowage they should be stacked in little piles and bolted to the fenders.
Here is the area where the advantages of Fujimi moulds are the most clearly seen. The Matchbox roadwheels lack the proper concave shape and suffer from insufficient detail while the Fujimi roadwheels are better shaped, better detailed and moreover we are given the choice of two patterns (rubber-rimmed or steel-rimmed) of wheels. The Fujimi method of assembly is a total waste of decent parts. Fujimi wants us to choose one of the tow roadwheel patterns and then place the redundant pattern as the inner wheels while the chosen one as the outer wheels. It is much better to utilise the inaccurate Matchbox roadwheels here. Simply place the Matchbox parts as the inner wheels for the Fujimi kits and then you will have two full sets of good outer roadwheels to go with your Fujimi and Matchbox kits as well.
As for the Matchbox kit the decals are totally inaccurate for this version they were seen on Model 1943 tanks and in white, not yellow. Regarding the Fujimi kit, the vehicle itself is incidentally a neat representation of the Finnish T-34 Model 1941 STZ Sotka and luckily enough there is a set of decals available for this variant, manufactured by VVV of the Czech Republic.
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