Monthly Archives: December 2014

Rubicon T-34/76 Initial Review

This arrived at the FLHS yesterday and I grabbed one.  I assembled it and wanted to give my first impressions before painting it up.  Mostly I’m very pleased with the model.  I have one criticism of something that is fairly disappointing, and a few nits to pick, but at the end of it all, I’m still very pleased and will probably get a couple more of these.

Here it is as assembled.  It probably took me two hours to put it together.  A lot of that time was look at pictures and drawings and making decisions about what options to put onto the model.

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I have a great book on T-34s by Mikhail Baryatinskiy.  I very much recommend this book.  I’d really love it if someone would do a real encyclopedia in English on T-34s as it seems there is a lot to know.  Anyway, I looked through the book and tried to pick a picture to build like.  I wanted to do an STZ factory with the distinctive gun mantlet as that is an option with this kit.  There weren’t many pictures of that but one line drawing, so I followed the line drawing but substituted the rubber road wheels instead of the steel wheels.

There’s a lot you can do with this kit: you can do a version with steel road wheels or rubber road wheels.  There are two turret options, two gun mantlets options, two hatch options on the turret, and two on the hull, and a few other things.  You can assemble a number of different looks to your T-34.  Just find a good pic and start following it and you probably have the parts to do any T-34 mostly correct before the introduction of the improved turret with the dual hatches for the commander and loader.

My only major criticism of this kit is the tracks which I find fairly disappointing.  Here’s a closeup from the end:

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Those don’t look like the tread pattern on the T-34 too much to me.  I’m sure I’ll mud them up and it will be pretty obscure anyway but even pictures of muddy treads show the kind of interlocking pattern on the T-34 track joins.  That shouldn’t be that hard given the detail they are getting on other parts of the model.  And the inside of the tracks don’t show any track joins at all.  You can see that from this photo:

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Those two tracks on the fender are cast on.  I was a little disappointed by that.  It seems like that should be optional stowage that you can add or not.

The build went together really well.  There are only two places on the model where there might still be seams visible and I imagine I’ll fix those in prepping for painting.  At the bottom of the turret on one side one of the seams might show.  I “painted” over it with plastruct and I think it wouldn’t appear but I’ll put some Tamiya modeling paste on it to give it the rough casting look to the metal anyway so it shouldn’t show up.  There is another seam on the rear of the model between the hull and drive assembly which will get the same treatment but I may have to fill it a little bit beforehand.  And I didn’t have to hack on anything to make it fit.  Nicely done!

I only did one modification before putting it together.  I couldn’t find any pictures of a T-34 with towing spots on the lower hull in front.  Both options Rubicon provides have something for that, either a hook or a kind of handle thing.  I just cut that off with an x-acto and filed it smooth.  When you look at the tank from the front I can point out a nit here.  That headlight seems awfully small compared to the headlights in pics I have.  They do a nice job in allowing you to put zero, one, or two on the model, and then they have an assembly for the headlight that was fitted to the side of the hull too if you want that.  I wish they were all slightly larger.

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I chose to put a radio antenna on this model.  You can leave it off completely.

One other nit which you can see if you click on the top photo – the end of the gun is larger, like the end of a muzzle brake or something.  I can see that in one line drawing of a T-34 but I don’t see that in a single picture I have.  I guess you could sand it down, but that seems like a disaster waiting to happen if you’re not really careful.

It comes with a very nice set of decals that will allow you to number some tanks that will look like they belong in the same unit.

I’d love to see a single sprue option addition that you could purchase for this.  Here’s what I would put on it:

– a third set of tracks with a mix of steel and rubber road wheels.  You see a lot of pictures of T-34s like that where the front and rear are rubber and the ones in the middle are steel.

– a flamethrower attachment for the MG slot (I see from one of their online posts that will go in the T-34/85 kit – not sure the T-34/85 was ever configured with a flamethrower, but hey….)

– larger headlights, and perhaps a headlight that has been knocked out

– an empty antenna slot

– some stowage (empty boxes to sit along the side of the hull for example), or fascines of one sort or another.

But it’s a nice kit and I think I’ll need another one or two.

I thought I’d put a couple of pics up next to my Warlord model for a size comparison.  The Rubicon model is slightly larger.  It’s only a little longer but noticeably wider.

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US Sherman Tanks

Models by JTFM/Die Waffenkammer.  These are beautiful models.  JTFM is my favorite maker of resin 1/56 vehicles.  High quality models professionally delivered.

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I put together three of them.  That’s a nice group though I’m really tempted to do 2 more to have a 5 tank section.  Not that I know what I’d actually do with 5 tanks on the game table but it would be nice to have them!

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I don’t think having all these vehicles will turn my favorite game,  Chain of Command, into a tank game but we might get these all on the table tomorrow!

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And here are a few close-ups of one of the tanks.  I’m basically using Steven Zaloga’s techniques from his book on painting American armor.  It’s pretty straightforward really.  He has a nice OD formula with some suggestions on lightening it to get some effects on the model and then using washes for the dust effects.  It seems to be a fairly believable dusty Sherman technique.

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The decals are from a couple of sheets of decals from Warlord Games.  Those decals are extremely easy to use!  I love them.