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DT-45 Armored Self-Propelled Railroad Car

Unimodel 1/72 DT-45 Armored Self-Propelled Railroad Car Build Review

By John Kelley

Date of Review June 2011 Manufacturer Unimodel
Subject DT-45 Armored Self-Propelled Railroad Car Scale 1/72
Kit Number 602 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Good detail; lots of photo etch brass; finely cast white metal machine guns Cons Brass detail is very thin and easily knocked off model during assembly and painting
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $11.30


The DT-45 was an experimental armored railroad car developed in 1933. It was self propelled with a diesel engine and was armed with a 45mm cannon in a T-26 turret. It also carried 3 machine guns, 2 in the hull and one in the turret. A radio was installed as well as a long range antenna mounted onto the hull. Due to a lack of manufacturing abilities it was not produced. This is the only history of the armored railroad car I could find and this was from the instructions.

The Kit

The UM kit is comprised of approximately 40 flash free molded plastic pieces and a extensive photo etch brass sheet. The plastic parts are well molded and are green in color. There is also a U shaped steel wire for the antenna which will require some bending for the final shape. The photo etch pieces are easily shaped but still sturdy enough to hold their shape and support the antenna.


This kit really can be divided into two different assemblies; the plastic and the photo etch accessories. After building this kit, I recommend assembling all the plastic components first then installing and assembling the photo etch pieces. This deviates from the instructions, but it is easier and will keep you from breaking off delicate parts. I know because this happened to me on several occasions requiring that I re-glue the pieces back onto the kit.

DT-45 DT-45

Starting with the lower hull, I assembled the wheels and attached them as per the instructions. The axles are a little thin so care needs to be taken when adding them to the hull. I test fitted the upper hull to the lower hull and found gaps between them on the front and back end plates. I added thick sheet plastic to the front and rear plates of the upper hull and sanded them flat until I eliminated any gaps. After this, I began assembly of the turret. Part 60d, the rear turret hatch, needed .010 plastic strip added to the turret sides to eliminate gaps and to give an overall better fit to the hatch. There was a slight gap between the mantlet and the turret top, but by sanding both surfaces, the gap was eliminated. Once the top was attached I sanded the seam around the turret to eliminate it. I did not install the main gun until I was ready to paint.

After the turret was completed, I added Part 2a, the adapter plate for the T-26 turret, to the upper hull. This adapter plate is used because this model is based on the DT-37 kit which has a larger turret ring for the D-38 turret instead of just a simple peg as in the DT-45 kit. The opening in the upper hull needed to be slightly enlarged in order that it would fit flush. In spite of that, I still needed to sand the surface a little. The bottom of the turret has a ring around the location peg which makes the turret fit slightly above the surface of the hull. This didn't look quite right so I removed the ring and sanded down the surface which eliminated the gap between the turret and the upper hull.

DT-45 DT-45

I re-scribed the side doors as the scribing was a little light in this area. Next came the headlights. These all had large sink holes in their centers. I used these as a starter hole and drilled out the opening of the headlamps. The tabs on the bottom of the headlamps were not very well defined, so I removed these, drilled a .030 hole in the light as well as a corresponding hole in the upper hull, and attached the headlights. Before securing the front headlights, I would recommend you add the frame antenna first.

I assembled the bumpers and added them, but found out later that these too should be added at the very last as I kept knocking them off while doing other assemblies and then painting. The horn was drilled out and attached prior to painting. After the hull and turret are assembled, I would recommend applying the photo etch. Starting with Parts 30b and 29b, I glued these together and attached them to the lower hull along with Parts 29b and 31b. What these are for I have no idea, but I believe they are for moving the car from one track to the other. I then added Parts 28b. These are u-shaped brackets that fit over the photo etch rails. The instructions have you bend them to a u-shape and then, on the sides , bend them again to make a foot. I was unable to do this , but it would have helped if I could have as it would have added more gluing surface to the part. I lost several of these pieces and wound up using the frames from scrap photo etch pieces to replace them.

DT-45 DT-45

The next pieces to attach were the hatches, Parts 27b, and the m.g. cover rings Parts 22b. The biggest challenge of the kit was adding the frame antenna. The antenna consists of six photo etch posts and a u-shaped steel wire. The instructions show that the frame must be bent straight for the first 6mm and rest of the wire is bent upward to allow the frame to clear the hull top. There is a diagram on the instructions to show the correct angle the wire should be bent and a line drawing to show the correct position and placement of the antenna on the model.

The photo etch posts, while delicate, are sturdy enough to hold the frame. I took each post and bent the top around the steel wire. The metal is flexible but if it is bent too many times it will break off. After all the posts were attached to the steel wire, I fixed the two rear posts, Parts 21b, to the top of the upper hull as per the directions. After this had dried, I then carefully glued the front post 23b to the front of the rail car making sure the straight section of the aerial was parallel to the hull. After this, I glued Part 26 and this completed the frame.


For the bumpers, Part 7a needs to be sanded around the outside of the part so that it will fit inside Part 20b. I bent Part 20b to match he angle of the front plates. Once these are completed, the rest of the smaller parts, such as the bumper, main gun and machine gun barrels can be added. While we are on the subject of the machine gun barrels, these are some of the finest white metal castings I have seen in a 1/72nd scale kit and they are very well detailed. Unfortunately, I lost the one for the turret so I made one up using two pieces of .020 rod glued one on top of the other with the lower one being shorter then the top one.

DT-45 DT-45

I then began improving the kit track. This is well done except that the cross ties have no wood grain detail. To simulate this, I took a razor saw and, holding the saw vertically, I scraped along the length of the cross ties to create a wood grain effect. I didn't sand it so it would have a more rough look to the ties. This completed assembly of the model.


The base is simply foam core board wrapped in .010x .250 strip styrene. The track was white glued to the base and everything was painted Model Master Flat Black. The cross ties and sides of the rails were painted XF-64 Tamiya Red Brown. The ties were then dry brushed XF-20 Medium Gray and a Prisma Color Silver pencil was used on the top of the rails to show wear. The ground cover was started with a layer of Cream Coat Tan acrylic paint and Woodland Scenics Fine Turf Yellow Grass was spread on this. Next a 1/3 Matt Medium and 2/3 water mixture was sprayed on the base and sand was used as the ballast for the rails. More Matt Medium was sprayed and Fine Turf Green Grass was scattered on the base and, finally, a few clumps of Course Turf Burnt Grass were added to finish the base.


Painting and Detailing

I primed the model with Tamiya Fine Surface Primer and then base coated the model with XF-65 Field Grey. I then used Model Master Gloss Coat and after this dried I washed the details with thinned black artist oil paint. The model was then dry brushed with the Field Grey and flat coated with Tamiya TS-80 Flat Coat. The inside of the headlamps were painted silver and white glue was put in the openings and left to dry to simulate the glass. The machine gun barrels were painted Model Master Gun Metal. I then coated the glue after it cured with Pledge Floor Wax with Future. Finally MIG European Dust was used to give the model a dusty look. Decals are included but are not used.

DT-45 DT-45


I enjoyed building this kit but the photo etch is comprehensive and does require some experience. If patience and care are used the kit can be made into a fine replica. The antennae post could be replaced with brass wire which would eliminate the flat look of the photo etch. I highly recommend this kit to anyone interested in Soviet armored railroading in W.W.II. It is well detailed and with the etched parts the price is very reasonable. UM has other armored railroad cars and rolling stock that I am interested in building and after making this kit I will be buying them. My thanks to Hobby Terra for the review sample.

DT-45 DT-45

My thanks for the kit to HobbyTerra.