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T-34/76 Mod.43 w/Commander Cupola Factory No.183

DML 1/35 T-34/76 Mod.43 w/Commander Cupola Factory No.183 - Smart Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review October 2009 Manufacturer DML
Subject T-34/76 Mod.43 w/Commander Cupola Factory No.183 - Smart Kit Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6564 Primary Media 707 parts (415 in grey stryene, 168 “Magic Track” links, 118 etched brass, 4 clear styrene, 2 twisted steel wire)
Pros Most accurate kit of this version of the T-34 now in production; fairly generic version of the tank Cons May not meet some modelers’ expectations of “their” version of the tank
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $49.95

First Look

DML continues to “complete the record” on T-34s and now is offering this kit of the Model 1943 with commander’s cupola. While the tank still only had a four man crew, the addition of the cupola provided the commander with much needed capability to observe the battlefield.

This kit combines parts from the T-34 Model 1942 “Soft Edge” turret kit (No. 6462) and their T-34-85 kits along with a few new bits such as the cupola to create a kit of the Model 1943. As a result, it uses a full set of the “six spoke” or “twelve hole” (modelers’ terms) cast wheels with perforated rubber tires.

The turret is the generic T-34 Model 1942 but with the molds modified to provide a mounting for the commander’s cupola. While the profile of the cast turret appears closest to that from Uralmashzavod, this time DML has designated a “Factory No. 183" tank., As I noted previously I’ve never really been able to find out how many of the six-sided “hex nut” or “Gayka” turreted tanks were built, but a good estimate would be about 16,000 and another 3,000 with the commander’s cupola.

The kit adds several new sprues to the latest set of the molds and provides the cast wheels, cast wheels with rubber tires, new stern plate, new radiator exhaust grilles, and the turret and detail components. The shapes and angles match the Russian plans of the tank I have on hand. A new set of 500mm “waffle” tracks are provided in the form of a new set of “Magic Link” single link tracks, but for reasons best known to themselves this time DML has added four more sets of links. Each link does come with two ejection pin marks on the inner face, but these stand proud and while tedious are easily removed.

As noted many older but well-done parts are used in this kit. The late-model double bump stops on the lower hull molding are still present, as previously noted they can’t really be seen when the model is assembled and is a“so what” correction.

The kit comes with three different stern plates but only the one on the “Gayka” turret sprue is probably best for this version.

The turret sprue (L) includes a one-piece shell (thanks to “slide molding”) with even the holes for the mantlet bolts and mounting guides in place. The cast-in reinforcements under the turret are present as are some casting marks on the turret. When joining the turret top and bottom do not be too fastidious as the race section and top section were welded together after casting, and the weld bead could be pretty rough; also the cleanup of mold edging was done for speed and not finesse.

The model comes with a standard PT periscopic sight/viewer with the “acorn” shaped cover found on most T-34s. The modeler has a choice of but one barrel for the F-34 gun: a one-piece item with hollow bore from “slide” molding and muzzle cap molded in place. A gun breech and partial interior to the turret are provided as with all of the DML T-34 kits. Note that this kit also comes with the ATO-42 flamethrower head (sprue U) as an option for the bow DT machine gun.

This project is listed as supervised by Hirohisa Takada, with drawings from Minoru Igarashi and the Dragon design team; technical assistance was provided by Nick Cortese.

Four different finishing options are provided: 109th Tank Brigade, 16th Tank Corps, Ukraine 1943 (partial whitewash over 4BO green, red diamond K 4 and K-5 on rear of turret); 8th Estonian Rifle Corps, 3rd Baltic Front, Tallin Operation 1944 (“Za Sovetskuyu Estoniyu”); Unidentified Unit, Poland 1945 (faded whitewash on turret, 4BO green, white 241); 1st Czechoslovakian Armored Brigade, USSR, Prague 1945 (4BO green with Czech roundel and white 421). A targeted set of Cartograf decals are provided.

Overall, this is a great improvement over the Tamiya kit with a correct size cupola and once more should be quite popular.

Thanks to Freddie Leung of Dragon Models USA for the review sample.

Sprue Breakout:

  • A 12x2 T-34 driver mounts, road wheel arms
  • B 26 T-34-85 rear plate and hatch details
  • B 21 T-34 40/41 turret roof and hull details
  • C 21 T-34 40/41 upper hull and details
  • C 19 T-34-85 details and gun barrel
  • D 15x2 T-34-85 “six spoke” wheels
  • D 15 T-34 76mm Mod 43 cupola, fuel tank ends
  • E 16 T-34 tie-downs and brackets
  • F 20 T-34 42 hull detail components
  • G 1 Final drive housing
  • H 6 T-34 engine intake vents, driver’s hatch
  • H 14 T-34 41 turret front and details
  • J 4 Clear styrene
  • K 13 T-34 41 F-34 gun assembly
  • L 33 T-34 42 “Gayka” turret assembly
  • L 84 “Magic Track” - “plate” track links
  • L 84 “Magic Track” - “toothed” track links
  • M 18x2 T-34 95 liter round auxiliary fuel tanks
  • N 4x2 T-34 spring towers
  • P 27x2 Drivers, suspension components
  • P 46 T-34 rear grilles, front plate, stern plate, hand rails
  • S 2 Twisted steel wire
  • U 3 T-34 details
  • W 8x2 T-34 Post-April 1942 rubber tired cast wheels
  • X 1 T-34 standard hull pan
  • MA 118 Etched brass