UM 1/72 PL-43 Armored Car with T-34 Turret (1941)
The PL-43 Armored Car
The Army of the Soviet Union began use of the PL-43 armored car in 1942. It was based on a 2 axle 20 ton rail car, and it was part of the BP-43 armored train, The 2 axle cars were lighter and easier to use than the 4 axle cars in use earlier in the War. Its hull was composed of tempered armored sheets attached to the chassis. The front and side armor was 45 mm thick and 20 mm thick on the roof and running gear. A T-34 tank turret with 45-60 mm armor was mounted on the reinforced roof. More than one T-34 turret design was used but the 1941 turret with the F-34 76 mm gun was the most common. The rail car also had 3 DT (7.62 mm) machine guns, one in the turret and two on the hull in spherical mounts.
A typical BP-43 armored train consisted of an OK or OP locomotive and tender car, 4 PL-43 armored cars, 2 PVO antiaircraft cars and 4 security flat cars. These armored trains were in use until the War's end in 1945.The exact number of the armored trains produced is unknown. Joseph Stalin used at least 8 of them when he traveled to the Potsdam Conference in July of 1945.
The kit comes in a stout, end-opening cardboard box. It consists of 72 parts, 2 of which are black plastic, 36 green plastic on 2 sprues, and the rest are photo-etched and attached to a single fret. The plastic parts are well molded with minimal sink marks. The sprue attachment points are large and some are almost larger than the parts themselves, so use a razor saw to remove them from the sprues. The p/e parts are access hatches, doors, etc., and are well done.
The small decal sheet includes 2 red stars, 2 sets of short black and white lines and numbers. They are legible and well printed. The 2 black plastic parts are a pair of railroad tracks and they're the foundation for a cool display base. The instructions are legible, well printed and consist of 8 simple assembly steps. Color callouts are for Humbrol enamels. There's a black and white painting diagram in the instructions and a full color one on the box underside, which is a nice touch.
The Sword of the Fatherland Foundation website gives the following dimensions for the PL-43: a length of 42.8 feet (13.8 meters) , a width of 9.4 feet (3.03 meters) and a height of 9 feet, 11 inches (3.2 meters). I didn't check the kit dimensions but it certainly looks like the 1:1 examples on the website.
The Braille Builder website points out that the kit is scaled to Russian broad gauge track. HO scale track is quite a bit narrower, so HO gauge wheels and axle boxess would be needed to use the car on an HO layout.
This is an unusual subject and I like it. It's a well done kit with useful detail and it can be built as a stand alone model or as part of a diorama. I recommend this model and I would like to thank UM Models for providing the review sample.