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T-34/85 Mod. 1944 Late Production

DML 1/72 T-34/85 Mod. 1944 Late Production Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review June 2006 Manufacturer DML
Subject T-34/85 Mod. 1944 Late Production Scale 1/72
Kit Number 7270 Primary Media 165 parts (93 in grey styrene, 69 etched brass, 2 track runs in tan DS plastic, 2 twisted steel wire)
Pros Nice new sheet of etched brass adds to this kit; optional "Bedspring" armor package will be appreciated Cons Late model T-34-85 hatch proportions off
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $13.95

First Look

DML has cornered the market on 1/35 scale T-34 tank kits, and is now working its way through all of them in 1/72 scale as well. This is their latest offering.

The main differences in "early" and "late" production T-34-85 tanks has usually been the turret and the commander's hatch. The early models, as with many other Soviet tanks, had a rotating ring mount with a two-panel "split" hatch opening. The later models went for a fixed forward panel and a larger, one piece flap; one of the reasons was that Soviet tank commanders often liked to fight "heads up" and the larger one-piece armored covers gave them more protection than the smaller split flaps did.

Given that this is the raison d'etre for this kit, I was surprised to see that DML blew the proportions of the hatch sections, (parts B7/8) making them about 50/50. The actual proportions are closer to 38/62 with the hatch being larger than the fixed section on the ring. This is quite noticeable and means if you use figures you can't get one into an open hatch.

That is a shame, for the rest of the kit is excellent. It is basically the same overall as kit number 7269 with the rounded fender tips not as common with most later production Model 1944 tanks. The wheels are again molded together with the "six web" cast wheels with lightening holes; again, they have the less common holes molded in the rims which were usually dropped from later production tanks as the supply of synthetic rubber met Soviet production needs.

The large etched brass sheet covers the well-known "Bedspring" standoff protection added to a few tanks to protect against the new threat of the Panzerfaust launchers, and provides very nicely done arrays for the kits with separate shields and standoff brackets. Since the "drop tanks" cannot be used if the arrays are fitted, the directions now show that the holes should be filled in. Brass upgrade/replacement parts also include the engine radiator exhaust screen (vice the etched nickel provided in previous kits), the radiator air exhaust louvers directly below them, and many of the guards and brackets normally used on the T-34-85.

Again, as is now nearly "boiler plate" with DML kits, the model comes with "slide molded" gun barrel muzzle and hollow molded tow cable heads with twisted steel wire cables. Tracks are once again DML's DS tan plastic which can be attached with model cements.

Six finishing options are provided: the "Bedspring" armor on an unknown unit, Eastern Front 1944; a two-tone brown over green tank, also unknown, Eastern Front 1944; 2nd Guards Tank Corps, East Prussia 1944; unknown, Poland 1945; 3rd Belorussian Front, East Prussia 1945 (totally whitewashed); and 3rd Belorussian Front, East Prussia 1945 (partially whitewashed.) I suddenly stopped to think that these are GERMAN terms of reference, as to the Soviets it was always the WESTERN front! Oh well.

Overall this is a nice little kit but it does appear somebody cut a few corners on research, which is unfortunate. It would have been nicer to see it with the more common solid-tired wheels, squared off fenders, and correct size hatch.

Thanks to DML for the review sample.