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T-34/85 Kit

Academy 1/35 T-34/85 No.183 Factory 'Berlin 1945' Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2015 Manufacturer Academy
Subject T-34/85 No.183 Factory 'Berlin 1945' Scale 1/35
Kit Number 13295 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Nice details and options Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $61.00

First Look

T-34/85 Kit
T-34/85 Kit
T-34/85 Kit
T-34/85 Kit
T-34/85 Kit

The T-34/85 entered production in 1944 as an improvement over the main battle tank of the day, the T-34/76. This new tank featured heavier armor to withstand the increased firepower of the latest German tanks, a larger turret to house the new 85mm S-53 main gun, and internal stowage for 56 rounds of ammunition. In addition, the tank was also equipped with two 7.62mm machine guns. Powered by a 12 cylinder diesel engine, the T-34/85 could move its 32.2 tons up to 55 kph. It would be the principal weapon to drive the Germans back into Germany and to ultimately seize the streets of Berlin. The combination of firepower, mobility, and simplicity made the T-34 arguably the greatest tank of World War II.

Here is a completely new-tool kit of the famous T-34/85 main battle tank from Academy in 1/35 scale. The kit features details that were unique to the Factory 183 (UTZ) facility at Nizhniy Tagil, which was the largest producer of T-34 tanks. This kit has some nice details without being over-engineered or relying on tiny parts for assembly. The kit is molded in gray styrene and provided on 16 parts trees, plus two trees molded in black styrene, and one fret of photo-etched parts. The detail is finely molded and there does not appear to be any flash on any of the parts or trees. Ejector pin marks are mostly limited to areas that will not be visible when the kit is assembled.

Among the features and options:

  • Detailed spring suspension in hull
  • Link and length track for ease of assembly/painting
  • Nice details on hull including spare track links, fuel cells, stowage
  • Improvised bedspring armor provided as photo-etched parts
  • Nice casting detail captured on turret surface
  • Positionable crew hatches

Markings are provided for two examples:

  • T-34/85, K235, 11 Tank Corps, Berlin, Germany, May 1945
  • T-34/85, K238, 11 Tank Corps, Berlin, Germany, May 1945

This is a limited edition kit that depicts the bedsprings and frames that were welded to key positions on the hull and turret to pre-detonate rocket-propelled grenades and deflect other explosives. This seemingly odd approach was repeated during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom as slat armor. Where Academy's first T-34/85 release covered the details applied to Factory 112 tanks, this one reflects the state of the T-34/85 as built by Factory 183 near the end of the war.

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!