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Dienstag, 4. August 2015

Review: Die Waffenkammer 28mm T-34/76



Yet another review of a 28mm Soviet World War Two vehicle! Today I'm taking a look at my first model by esteemed company Die Waffenkammer - a T-34/76.



In the past I have written numerous reviews of T-34/85 kits of different scales. This is the first time I'm doing a T-34/76. For a very quick and abbreviated historical overview of the T-34, please refer to my review of Warlord's T-34/85 kit.

The model I got here is a T-34/76 with UZTM turret. By the summer of 1942 the German army was likely to take Stalingrad. At the time Stalingrad Tractor Plant was the main producer of T-34 tanks in the Soviet Union. The impending loss of this manufacturing site, along with production of tanks, especially turrets, not quite taking up pace at the more Eastern plants led State Defense Committee (who during the war were in charge of pretty much everything), ordered Ural Heavy Machinery Plant (UZTM, or "Uralmash") to produce twice the number of T-34 turrets.



Luckily for the engineers at Uralmash they had a 10,000 ton metal sheet press (affectionally called "Shleman") at their disposal. Thus the slightly rounder 'stamp cast' UZTM turret was developed. It basically was a sheet of 60mm hardened steel pressed into shape by old Shleman and then welded onto the lower turret ring and ended up being slightly larger than the regular hexagonal turret, with a rounder top and according to some sources the armour protection was improved over the regular cast iron turret. Within less than 16 months 2,670 turrets were built this way and not only used on the 700 T-34 produced at Uralmash, but were also delivered to several other tank factories. This led to UZTM turrets showing on all kinds of T-34/76 hulls and versions (there were slight differences between tanks produced at different factories. Stuff like make of wheels and tracks, number and shape of handrails, number and position of external fuel tanks and so on).



In 1944 the whole production of T-34/76 was changed to T-34/85. By the way, these designations based on main gun calibre are more of a Western idea, probably based on the way German intelligence called the tanks. It wasn't after the end of the Soviet Union that Western literature too started referring to the 76mm variants more correctly as T-34 Model 1941, 1942 or 1943.


The Model

The model itself consists of just a few parts. Hull, turret, gun, tracks left and right, turret hatches. I have no idea how they cast these hulls or tracks and wheels in one piece each.


One thing I found very thoughtful (probably learned through bitter experience) is that the barrel of the gun is kept from snapping during transport by a very sturdy piece of cardboard being taped to it.


Other than the GAZ-AA truck, this model naturally requires a bit more cleaning. For example I strongly recommend filing down these bit of flash on the inner sides of the track bits. (wear gloves and a dust mask!) Making the track bits fit right on the sides of the hull is a little tricky, but with a bit of filing and fitting it's done rather quickly.

On the other hand there were no air bubbles to be seen on the model and - even more to my enjoyment: the set contains a crew figure and several stowage items. A huge plus in my book.


Apart from that there is the mandatory tow cables and such cast onto the hull. The cast and detail are excellent. There are no decals included in the set.

After having built the tank proper I added some more stowage made from a mix of the items included in the set, some wooden skewers, wire, backpacks and pouches from Warlord's plastic Soviet Infantry set and some green stuff.


Painting the Model

As on the GAZ-AA truck, I strongly recommend using a proper priming spray from an artist's store, Tamiya and such.


Some basecoats, highlighting, freehanding slogans and numbers (I nicknamed this one Lana) weathering, dirt, mud and detailling later it was done. Die Waffenkammer only do very little in the way of infantry models, but I really like this tanker figure. Good job on the sculpting there.


Now let's talk size. This is a true 1/56th scale model. The measurements are spot on. So it will go well with Warlord's, Blitzkrieg's, Black Tree Design's and so on models. Have yet to check out my first Rubicon model (soon! I've had it lying around here since Christmas, just needs a lick of paint).


I think that Die Waffenkammer/JTFM Enterprises will become my standard go-to source for 28mm WW2 vehicles from now. I paid GBP 22.00 at Great Escape Games for this model. Sure, there are two recently released plastic kits for the T-34/76 around now by Warlord (GBP 18.00) and Rubicon (GBP 20.00). Those, other than this model by Die Waffenkammer, come with decals. On the other hand, they come with less to no stowage items and surface details are much poorer in my opinion (and no commander figure in the case of Rubicon as far as I know. Because humans take longer than 5 minutes to design on a bloody computer. ;-) ). So it comes down to the question whether this is worth the extra two quid to you. Or of course which you prefer. Warlord's T-34, despite seeming to be the model 1943, seem to come with the box shaped external fuel tanks, which is interesting.

So in the end it's up to what you prefer. I believe that Die Waffenkammer's T-34/76 very much is worth the extra bits of change. Good model, great casting, wholeheartedly  recommended.



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