Cyber-Hobby 1/35 T-34/85 Mod.1944
Much has been written about the T-34 and it variants so there is really no need to go into too much detail. The T-34/85 came about as a result of the German Tiger I tank that entered service on the Eastern Front in late 1942. The Soviets were fortunate to acquire one rather quickly and deduced that the current tanks in Soviet service were no match for this new beast. Not only could the Tiger tank knock out the Soviet tanks at long range, but could withstand fire from them as well at all but extremely close ranges and then only to the sides and rear. So began a crash program to get a bigger gun into the field to handle these new enemy tanks as soon as possible with the result being the T-34/85 medium tank and the KV-85 heavy tank. The KV-85 was built in small numbers before production switched over to the all-new JS series of tanks but the T-34/85 was built in huge numbers at several factories.
Armed with an 85mm D5 and later ZiS-S-53 gun in an enlarged three man turret, the new T-34/85 was finally able to combat the new Tiger and Panther (which had entered service in the meantime) tanks frontally but still only at relatively close range. The Soviets were fine with this as the Tiger and Panther Tanks were only encountered in small numbers compared to the other German tanks which the T-34/85 was more than capable of handling. The enlarged turret also allowed the incorporation of a dedicated loader which relieved the commander of this duty and allowed him to concentrate on overall command of the tank which along with better overall visibility and a radio was a huge improvement over the earlier T-34 and led to better performance of the crew in the field. After the war, the T-34 was sold abroad in huge numbers and it continued to see military service long after its heavy weight brother disappeared into the history books.
Cyber-Hobby's latest Orange Box release has been released in one form or another about six times to date. It was first released in 1997 as Dragon kit #6066 T-34/85 Mod. 1944 and since then has added extra parts and/or P.E. to it to form the core of kits #6203 T-34/85 UTZ Mod. 1944, #6266 T-34/85 w/Bedspring Armor "Premium Edition," #6319 T-34/85 Mod. 1944 "Premium Edition", 3318 NVA T-34/85M and finally released by Shanghai Dragon as #6810 "Chinese Volunteers" T-34/85. This latest release is exactly the same kit as the #6066 kit but with the inclusion of a six-figure tank rider set which were previously released as Dragon kit #6197 Soviet Infantry Tank Riders.
The T-34/85 Mod. 1944 kit is well documented and I have actually built one in the past. The kit best represents a tank as built by the ZAVOD Factory 183 in late 1944 early 1945. It has the larger one piece commander hatch, ribbed lower turret and full spider web rubber rimmed wheels. The kit is molded in the standard grey plastic Dragon is known for and despite the age of the kit, the parts are cleanly molded and well defined. The parts are contained on 22 separate sprues and a spate lower hull.
Sprue Ax2,Hx2,Mx2,and Nx2: These sprues are all connected together and the suspension swing arms, idler arm, gear reduction housing (where the sprocket attaches), suspension shock springs, engine air intakes, hatches and various other fittings plus several unused parts.
Sprue B: This sprue contains the rear hull plate, transmission exhaust cover, turret cupola and hatches and several hull fittings and boxes. The biggest drawback in the kit is the transmission exhaust cover. Dragon molded this as one piece with the screens solid so you will have to open this up and source some screening material if you want to detail this very prominent part. Also remember to scratch some armored louvers on the inside if you do so.
Sprue C: The upper hull comprised the majority of this sprue but there are a few parts that go in other places as well as a few unused parts.
Sprue Dx2: The full spider web road wheels and hubs make up these sprues.
Sprue Ex2 and Fx2: Another set of combined sprues contain the external fuel drums, Sprocket and Idler wheels, turret grab handles and several other hull and turret fittings.
Sprue G: This sprue contains the turret shell, mantlet, ventilators and rear lower hull plate.
Sprue I: This is the one piece lower hull.
Sprue Lx3: These are the tracks. They are the standard 500mm "Waffle" pattern type. I thought Dragon would have inserted it's T-34 Magic Tracks but instead you get the tracks that came with the original release which while well detailed have to be cut away from the runners and cleaned up which is a rather time consuming task.
Tow Rope: This is just some nylon thread. Some actual wire cable would have been preferred but this is an orange box release after all.
Instructions: The kit build is broken down into 15 steps. The instructions contain a full color cover and profiles for five vehicles on the last page. There is also a full color guide for the assembly and painting of the figures.
Decals: There are markings for 4 vehicles and they are exactly the same as those that came in the #6066 kit.
Although an older kit, this is still a good choice for a T-34/85. My thanks to Dragon USA for the review sample.