ICM 1/35 T-35 WWII Soviet Medium Tank Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||June 2008||Manufacturer||ICM|
|Subject||T-35 WWII Soviet Medium Tank||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||35041||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Highly detailed 1930’s heavy Soviet tank||Cons||No crew figures or clear lenses for headlight. Some fit problems|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$37.95 (under Alanger brand label)|
The T-35 was a Soviet multi-turreted heavy tank of the inter-war period and early WWII that saw limited production and service with the Red Army. It was the only five-turreted heavy tank in the world to reach production, but proved to be slow and mechanically unreliable. Most of the T-35 tanks still operational at the time of Operation Barbarossa were lost due to mechanical failure rather than enemy action.
Outwardly, it was large, but internally the spaces were cramped with the fighting compartments separated from each other. Some of the turrets obscured the entrance hatches too.
The T-35 was developed by the OKMO design bureau of the Bolshevik Factory, which began work on a heavy tank in 1930. Two teams developed separate designs. The team headed by German engineer Grotte worked on the 100 ton, four-turreted TG-5 tank, armed with a 107mm naval gun, using pneumatic servo-controls and pneumatic suspension. This project was later cancelled.
The concept of large, multi-turreted breakthrough tanks was favored by several European armies in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Designs existed in Britain, France, and Germany for such vehicles. The second OKMO team, headed by N. Tsiets, worked on a tank inspired by the British Vickers A1E1 Independent.
The T-35 served with the 5th Separate Heavy Tank Brigade in Moscow, primarily for parade duties, from 1935 until 1940. In June 1940, the question was raised whether to withdraw the T-35’s from frontline service, with the option to either convert them to heavy self-propelled artillery, or to assign them to the various military academies. The choice was made to use them up in combat instead and the surviving vehicles were collected into the 67th and 68th Tank Regiments of the 34th Tank Division, which with the 8th Mechanized Corps in the Kiev Special Military District.
During Operation Barbarossa, 90% of the T-35’s lost by the 67th and 68th Tank Regiments were lost not to enemy action but through either mechanical failure or because they were abandoned and destroyed by their crews. The most common causes of breakdown were transmission related. The last recorded action of the T-35 took place during the early stages of the Battle of Moscow. Four machines were used in training facilities in the Soviet rear. One of them is now available for spectators in Kubinka Tank Museum in Moscow.
ICM is a model company based in the Ukraine. They were a newcomer to the model making industry in the late 1990’s. This kit came out about 1998 from them, along with their kit of the T-28, which is also a multi-turreted tank (reviewed elsewhere here).
The kit comes in a large tray and lid type box. The boxart shows 2 T-35’s going down a dirt road past a large tree. The lead tank is in overall dark green with a large red star in the middle of the side skirts and dotted red lines around the tops of the sides of the turrets. The red stars are provided in the kit, but the dotted red lines are not. The dotted line markings were pretty much discontinued by the beginning of WWII anyways.
A side panel has color boxarts from 4 other AFV kits that ICM markets: the T-28 (reviewed elsewhere on this site), the IT-28 bridgelayer, the British Cromwell IV and the British Comet. Kit numbers for these is not given. Next to these illustrations is ICM’s address in the Ukraine and mention that the kit is for modelers over 10 years of age. On the other side panel is the history of the T-35 in Ukrainian, Russian, English and German, labeled with the flags of the Ukraine, Russia, Britain and Germany.
Inside the box are no less than 16 trees of olive drab parts, 4 individual olive drab parts, 5 white trees of parts, the decal sheet and the instructions.
The instructions consist of a 12 page staple bound booklet of 12 ¼” x 8” format.
Page 1 begins with a black and white repeat of the boxart. This is followed by the history of the T-35 in Ukrainian, Russian, English and German.
Pages 2 & 3 have the parts trees illustrations. Across the bottoms of these two pages are international assembly symbol explanations. The parts trees illustrations are alphabetized but no part numbers on on these illustrations. However, the parts trees are alphabetized and numbered both. Only the individual parts have no part numbers or alphabet designations.
Pages 4 through 10 give a grand total of 16 assembly steps.
Page 11 has 3 side profiles for marking and painting schemes:
- A T-35 of the 34th Tank Division, 8th Mechanized Corps, June 1941. It is in matt forest green with a red star on the middle of the side skirts and two short horizontal white stripes, over each other, at the top of the sides of the main turret. There is a mistake in the numbers shown for the markings vs how the markings are numbered on the decal sheet. They are illustrated as REVERSED from what they are numbered on the decal sheet
- A T-35 which is the first tnk of the 2nd Platoon, 3rd Company, 1st Tank Battalion, 5th Heavy Tank Brigade, 1936. It is in overall matt forest green with a red star in the middle of the side skirts (this mark miss-numbered vs the decal sheet too), and white horizontal lines under solid red ones around the tops of the sides of all the turrets. There is a white square with a black number “1” in it, on the side of the fighting compartment
- A T-35 of the 34th Tank Regiment of the Red Army Military Academy of Mechanization and Motorization, winter 1941. It is in overall white-wash with no markings
The decal sheet also has some triangular logos, Ukrainian slogans and the Ukrainian shield in white. Also, a black and a red square and black numbers 1, 2, and 3. The slogans say ‘Thanks to the Ukraine’ and ‘Thanks to Stepanov Vander.’
Page 12 of the instructions begins with cautions in the same 4 languages as before, followed by a paint listing of Testors and Humbrol brand paints suggested to used to finish the model. Next are decal application instructions in the same 4 languages and ICM’s address and phone number in the Ukraine.
Olive drab letter A parts tree is identical to the one in ICM’s T-28 kit. It holds the main turret cupola and hatches, the flexible anti-aircraft machine-gun that mounts on the main turret’s roof, the main turret’s interior floor, ammo racks as carousels that go under crew seats in the main turret and ammo rounds for the main gun, the main turret side walls, it’s crew seats and the machine-gun and it’s mount that goes in the rear of the main turret (not used for the T-35). Also, a coaxial machine-gun that goes in this turret’s front (31 parts).
Olive drab letter B parts tree is also identical to the one in ICM’s T-28 kit. It holds: the parts for the two alternate barrel lengths for the main gun (including breech parts), banister aerial parts, pole type aerial parts, the main turret’s roof and periscope housing part (37 parts) Five of the parts on this tree are shaded out as being obsolete and not needed to build the T-35 on the parts illustrations. These parts appear to be the ones for the long barreled main gun.
Olive drab letter C parts tree too is identical to the one in ICM’s T-28 kit. It holds: shift levers, the driver’s and crew seats, small turret parts and their machine-guns, tools, headlight, horn, engine cooling fan and its compartment housing part (37 parts)
I have done some assembly already and used the driver’s seat and control levers from C parts tree.
Olive drab letter D parts tree is the last tree that is identical to the one in ICM’s T-28 kit. It holds: engine parts, transmission parts etc. (I have started the kit and assembled the engine and transmission)
There are 2 identical letter E olive drab parts trees. These holds some suspension parts and parts for the smaller turrets. (38 parts per tree)
There is no letter F parts tree.
There are 2 identical letter G olive drab parts trees. They hold bogie shields, drive sprockets, idler wheels, and return rollers (25 parts per tree)
Olive drab letter H parts tree just holds the 2 side skirt parts.
There are no letter I or J parts trees.
Olive drab letter K parts tree holds: the cooling fan ring support, transmission parts and fender parts etc. (11 parts) I have assembled the transmission parts.
There are 4 identical olive drab letter L parts trees. They hold: bogies and road wheels (28 parts per tree) This tank is a real centipede!!
There are no letter M , N or O parts trees.
Olive drab letter P parts tree holds: tow cables, driver’s compartment floor, rear deck roof and hatches etc. (10 parts) I have assembled the driver’s compartment floor already.
There are no letter Q or R parts trees.
There are 5 identical white letter S parts trees that hold the individual track links.(72 links per tree).
Olive drab letter T parts tree holds: inner bulkheads, fender bins, rear deck panels etc. (21 parts). I have assembled the inner bulkheads already.
Final parts are the individual 2 hull side parts, the hull bottom and roof parts. I have assembled all but the hull roof part.
The decal sheet (already described above) and the instructions complete the kit’s contents.
It was a good marketing move on the part of ICM to follow up their T-28 kit with this T-35, since several of the parts trees are common to both kits and that saves mold making money as we all know.
I recommend this kit to modelers that have a few other AFV kits that are complex under their belts already. This thing is a “land battleship” to say the LEAST, with mucho parts. It definitely is not a weekend project. The kit is out of production for ICM.