has combined their offering of the T-34/76 early 1943 production WW2 Soviet Medium Tank with their 7.62cm Pak 36r and an artillery crew. When this release was announced some said it was little better than a toy and so when I received this for review it seemed that all was not going to be coming up roses, but I decided to go in with an open mind and share my thoughts.
The model is provided in the now usual cardboard tray with a flip top lid that provides a good level of protection to the contents and is topped off with an additional card lid. Inside are two re-sealable bags, one for the tank and the other for the artillery gun and crew. There are three sets of instructions as each element of the contents has been released previously. A look at the mouldings reveals little of concern beyond some flow lines in the mouldings that do not look or feel to have caused issues.
T-34/76 early 1943 production WW2 Soviet Medium Tank
This model was released five years ago now and I tried to hit it with reference that I had available with mixed results. Mark Rethoret jumped to my aid and pointed out a number of things that I had missed and identified some issues with my reference material; the result of this is that I am going to supply a link to that review and the comments as it will help.
T-34/76 early 1943 production WW2 Soviet Medium Tank
7.62cm Pak 36r
This part of the offering is quite an age now I believe (2010), but then again so am I. I looked the model over and all of the major structures would seem to be present, but I cannot guarantee the scale accuracy of the model. The parts count is lower than expected and this I believe has caused a reduction in the level of detail replicated, and so the model is accurate as far as I can see it just needs some effort on the part of the modeller to lift it to current standards. It is my understanding that the Germans captured huge numbers of these guns from the Russians and thought highly of them.
The model looks an easy enough build for any modeller regardless of skill level and its finish will be reliant on the abilities of the modeller to lift it where needed. I do not like that the barrel is in two halves due to the joint seam that will need to be dealt with, but again that is not exactly rocket science. So this portion of the offering is really a case of you will get out of the model what you are willing to put in and rather than correct detail it is really a case of adding it to a higher level.
German Artillery Crew
There are four figures in this portion of the offering and they all look very suitably poised for the use they have in this offering. Two of the figures are fetching and preparing the rounds to be fired with third making it clear he wants them to get a wiggle on. The final figure is looking through field glasses for his next target. The figures are very cleanly moulded despite their age now and that should please most. There are of course some seam lines that will need cleaned up using your method of choice; I have recently started hitting them with Tamiya extra thin and then when softened putting the tool kit to work.
The uniform is the early war type with the fancy cut to the pockets well defined. The crease detail look natural and so should look good when painted and shaded. The boots are appropriate but no sole detail is provided where it would be exposed to view. The helmets are good as regards shape but are attached to the sprue at the rear lip of the helmet and so will require care during removal to avoid damage. The straps for the gas mask containers on the torso are all present and well defined, possibly a little over defined.
Equipment is plentiful with these troops having entrenching tools, water canteen, bread bag and gasmask case. Also present on three of the figures are ammunition pouches for the Kar 98 rifles, which I am very pleased to say are also present. The officer type is provided with all of the above except the ammunition pouches and has a luger holster and a document case hanging from the belt. One issue with the set is a case of what they have and not what they donít have. Artillery crews did not as a rule have lots of kit hanging about them as it stood a good chance of getting caught in the artillery gun during use. The gas mask container is commonly seen worn when in action, but I would put the bread bag, canteen and entrenchment tools to one side or use elsewhere. I did find a few examples of crews having ammunition pouches and so that is up to the individual when it comes to use or not.
The facial features are good with all the main elements of the head well replicated, I was especially pleased to see the ears well defined as they can often seem like an afterthought. The hands have a nice level of detail to them and with care will more than meet the needs and expectations of the modeller. The shell containers used with two of the figures are on the 7.62cm Pak 36r sprue. The Kar 98 rifles will need the muzzle drilled and slings added.
So is this a toy? Yes it is a toy in so much as every model is a toy. Some elements are showing their age as regards what level of detail is replicated; most noticeable on the 7.62cm Pak 36r. The T-34/76 early 1943 production has its issues as regards the elements picked up in the other review, but I promise 99% of people will not have a clue what should and should not be present. The figures are an element I really like as they meet my expectations and surpass them when age is concerned, yes they can be improved but all figure sets can be improved upon to some degree.