Soviet T-34/76.C Medium Tank
Matchbox/Revell 1:76 Scale Vehicle Review
The Soviet T-34 is considered the most successful tank of its time, it combined high speed, manœuvrability and fuel economy, low silhouette, good armour protection and firepower. The vehicle had 60 mm of sloped frontal armour, as much as the modern Leopard II, making it immune to 3.7 cm PaK 35/36 anti-tank guns. Even the powerful 8.8 cm L.71 gun of the Jagdpanther tank destroyer had only a calculated 11 % probability of penetrating the T-34’s sloped frontal armour at 500 m range. By comparison, the German Tiger I tank was twice as heavy, but it lacked the sloped armour which would have reduced the probability of an effective hit against it by as much as 34 %.
- T-34/76.C Medium Tank
- Nitsenko-Buslov Cast Turret, Zavod № 112, Gorky
- 12.7 mm DShK M.1938 Machine-Gun
- Decal Sheet
- Diorama base, and one Soviet Infantryman
- Soviet Infantry in 1:72 Scale Soft Plastic
Scale model with superb cast-on detail. Rivets, hinges, and engine gratings lend themselves well to drybrushing. The entire tank has the robust look one would expect of a mass-produced vehicle.
Excellent choice of subject, the T-34 is a key vehicle of World War Two.
Intermediate level of difficulty, only 76 parts. The running gear and chassis consist of 45 parts. The upper hull and turret show a lot of cast-on detail, and they account for only 26 parts. One infantry figure, the diorama base, and three sections of a wooden fence complete the model. Track assembly requires a little patience, there are 10 tiny wheel hubs which need careful handling while the sprue is trimmed away. Other than that, the kit is a delight to build. Wargamers will find that this T-34 is perfect for mass-production, just like the real thing.
The Degtiarev-Chpaguine DChK 12.7 mm machine gun on the turret roof is a nicely detailed model. We drilled the mounting bracket open and inserted a short metal post, cut from 0.6 mm pianowire, instead of the plastic part supplied with the kit. This part will receive some rough handling in simulation games, and the plastic post is likely to snap off eventually. DChK 12.7 mm HMG were in short supply at the time, and most T-34 tanks operated without one. It’s a good idea to leave this weapon off the T-34, and mount it on lend-lease vehicles like the US M3 White Scout Car or British Universal/Scout Carrier instead. The barrel of the DChK 12.7 mm M.1938 may also be used to convert the wheeled Maxim HMG supplied in ESCI and Revell Soviet infantry figure sets, it looks good in the infantry support role.
Good quality kit. Parts fit very well and there is minimal flash.
Compatible with Airfix, Fujimi, Nitto and VAC-U-CAST.
This T-34 is a Matchbox 1:76 scale model, the 1:72 scale designation on the box cover is incorrect. Revell re-released the popular Matchbox 1:76 scale T-34/76.C medium tank under its own label, the vehicle is now part of a boxed set with Revell’s Soviet infantry in 1:72 scale soft plastic. The combination of two different model scales in the same kit is not a sound practise, and customers should not be mislead about what is inside the box.
The tracks are cast in a very soft rubber, reminiscent of Airfix tank tracks. It is probably a good idea to paint and varnish these tracks, preventing the softener from leaching out. One advantage of the rubber tracks is that they can easily be glued down on the road wheels to suggest the weight of the track.
The peg holding the turret in place does not provide enough friction for a good fit. The turret turns and wobbles when the tank is picked up. Not a problem for diorama builders who glue the turret in place permanently.
The spare track sections are glued against the right-hand side armour plate, but the retaining bars are missing. As can be seen in the picture, this arrangement does not look realistic, the track sections would fall off. The missing holders may be cut out of paper or plastic card.
The road wheels do not show the characteristic tread, an unfortunate ommission.
Part 1 – one half of the lower gun mantlet – seems to have been marred in the casting process. The side panel shows several mould lines which should not be there. This damage will be difficult to repair without removing the rivets in the process. Better to convert the blemish into some kind of battle damage. The part itself is not symmetrical anymore, it needs to be carved and filed to match the other parts of the mantlet.
The painting example on the side panel of the box shows the T-34 in a very nice shade of olive green. This is not the same colour as Revell 48 »Sea Green« recommended in the painting instructions. Soviet tanks were painted in a variety of colours, olive green, slate grey or khaki, and they were whitewashed in winter. The whitewash would have patches of colour showing through, and it would be very muddy. Some tanks rolled directly into battle from the production line, and they would be in an armour grey colour overall.
The kit includes turret numbers of only two vehicles, one from the 41st Guard Tank Division and the other from the 25th Tank Division. Such frugality is very bad marketing. Clearly, if more turret numbers had been included, modellers and wargamers would be encouraged to build entire tank platoons and companies from one or the other division.
The decal of the aerial recognition panel on the turret roof does not apply very well, because the turret hatches are too prominent. It’s better to paint the white band across the turret.
Decals of popular slogans like "For the Motherland" or "A friend in battle" are not included. The slogans first appeared during the Battle for Moscow, and they add a lot of character to a vehicle.
The Matchbox/Revell model of the T-34/76.C offers good value for money, even if the infantry and the tank in this set are not strictly compatible.