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HobbyBoss T-34/76

Kit: 84808
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: HobbyBoss, from Squadron Mail Order, 972-242-8663, Squadron Mail Order
Price: $19.99
Comments: Injection-molded, 372 parts (1 combined plastic and photoetched-metal part), decals
Pros: Full interior; affordable
Cons: Some flash; ejector-pin marks; poor fit of hull back armor plate and tracks; poor color references.

The most-produced tank of World War II, the T-34 also was an advanced design for 1940 with its sloping armor, diesel engine, wide tracks, and powerful main gun. It outmatched German armor until targeted by long-barreled 50mm and 75mm cannons.

HobbyBoss' new release of the T-34/76 Model 1943 is a kit with a lot of wow, featuring a full interior, link-and-length track, posable hatches, and plastic/photoetched-metal screen. A single set of markings is supplied.

The interior begins with building the side walls with suspension springs and interior detail. I painted the interior Model Master German interior ivory. You could use white, but I'd suggest an off white to make it less stark. The shells for the main armament are molded to the holders, making them two-dimensional and harder to paint. I had no problem fitting the various small pieces and subassemblies in the fighting compartment.

The engine is well-detailed but has no spark-plug wires. I painted it and the radiators and transmission Testors aluminum, and the clutches Testors Metalizer gun metal. The squirrel-cage fan had that wow factor, with all the blades molded in place. I applied a sludge wash of dark brown and black to the engine and interior.

I didn't find the HobbyBoss guides for building the link-and-length tracks helpful: The tracks would stick to the guides as the glue seeped through. Avoid gluing the front idler axles in place until the tracks are assembled; the locating notch is off by one track. The fit between the links was poor due to small pins on the links with a feed horn that had no corresponding holes on the mating link. I painted the tracks with Testors Metalizer gun metal. To model the Soviet drive through the steppes, I used white glue to load the tracks with Woodlands Turf.

I glued the upper and lower hull pieces together - but you don't have to if you'd rather show off the interior detail. Installing the back armor plate leaves a gap of about .030" along the bottom; I filled this with strip styrene.

Building the turret brought new challenges. I had to fill in double ejector-pin marks on the turret hatches and the inside of the turret top as well. I painted the main armament Gunze dark green, and finished the coaxial machine gun with Tamiya gun metal. I had to sand the sides of the gun mount to get the shield to slip over it. The air-identification stripe is Tamiya flat white.

I painted the rest of the model Gunze Sangyo dark green, added a thin coat of Floquil grime for the ever-present dust, and weathered with Tamiya pastels. The decals went down over a gloss undercoat without trouble.

My reference was T34/76 Medium Tank 1941-1945, by Steve Zaloga and Peter Sarson (Osprey Publishing).

I spent about 30 hours on this kit. With the fit issues, I can only recommend it to advanced modelers - but, even with its vices, it sure looks good sitting on my workbench.

- Tom Foti


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