T-34/76 Mod./1940 w/Soviet GEN 2 Weapons - First Look
Dragon's latest 'Orange Box' release is the T-34 Model 1940. This kit also includes a sprue of GEN 2 infantry weapons. The Orange series are inexpensive kits that typically feature older moldings re-released with some 'extra' in the box, such as figure or weapons sets, or some update such as magic tracks.
Dragon first released the previous version of this kit in 2003. Kit 6092 was the T-34 Model 1940, and was the first modern kit of the 76mm-armed T-34. It was a terrific kit in its day. It was followed in 2004 with the T-34 Model 41 and, since then, with many different T-34s.
Most modelers will be very familiar with the T-34, so there is no need to recap a lot of history here. The Model 40 was the first production model, entering service in 1940. It was an incredibly advanced design for 1940. It was armed with the L-11 76.2mm gun, which could fire HE and APHE ammunition. Only a few hundred were built before production shifted to the Model 41, which featured the more familiar "long" 76.2mm F-34 gun.
A Little Research
The AMPS system encourages research on every model, and, heck, it's a lot of fun anyway even if the rules didn't encourage it.
Most of these Model 1940s ended up like the wrecks shown below, knocked out or scuttled in the ferocious frontier battles of June/July 1941. As far as I know, no Model 40 exists today. The last known photo I've ever seen of one in action is dated in early 1942. Other than the gun, though, the Model 1940 is the same as a Model 41 (also available from Dragon).
Note the high-tech German transportation in the background. This is the welded-turret version, which is what you get in the Dragon kit. Since the hull MG is still mounted, I would guess this one was knocked out rather than scuttled.
The tank below shows the cast turret version in front, which is available as a conversion from Armo. This is the only T-34 Model 40 photo I have found with any markings evident. The air recognition markings are clearly visible on the turrets of these tanks. The second tank has the welded turret. Note that all three of these tanks are missing the box-shaped fuel cells normally mounted on the hull sides. In researching this build, I noticed almost all the Model 40s I saw were missing these fuel cells.
What's new with the Box?
Some of the newer Orange Box releases feature a new box design with openings at the end and no inner tray. Although I imagine this cuts the cost of the kit, it is inconvenient. I almost always use that inner tray to hold sprues for easy access while I work on a kit. With these boxes, that is much more difficult.
On the other hand, the back of the box has some very nice, large full-color illustrations of the markings options for this kit.
What's in the Box
As with most Orange Box releases, most of the sprues are the same as the original kit. The key word here is 'most' - there are some small differences.
The lower hull pan is the same. This hull allows the suspension to be easily posed with some road wheels deflected.
The sprue with the wheels is also unchanged. This was always a pretty nice sprue, with good wheel detail and fuel 'boxes' for the hull sides.
The sprues containing the suspension spring towers is a little different; it includes cylindrical fuel cells that are not appropriate for this model, but which make a good addition to your T-34 spares bin. I believe this particular version of the sprue was introduced with the 'Premium' kits of the T-34-85 and SU-100.
The parts actually used in this build are the same as always, so the difference is simply the extra parts.
The turret sprue has a new piece that was not in the original Model 1940 kit, but was added with the Model 41 kits in 2004 - the extra engine-deck fan cover with the solid plastic mesh cut out already. This facilitates using a PE screen. The rest of the sprue is unchanged since 2003, but it was very nicely done back then. With all these older sprues, there was no flash evident.
The smaller detail parts on this sprue are the same as in 2003. Note the two-piece 76.2mm gun tube. Fit on this gun tube is pretty good, so it isn't hard to clean up for a good appearance.
Tracks are the same as all Dragon Model 40 / 41 kits. They are on sprues and must be cut off and cleaned up. No 'magic tracks' were ever made for these particular track links. Once cleaned up, they assemble really easily. Detail is excellent.
Upper hull is unchanged from the original kit.
Note that on the upper hull, the vertical strakes are used as locating tabs for the fuel cells. They will be hidden if you use the fuel cells, but, if you leave the fuel cells off, they must be removed. Nothing like this appears on any real T-34. I am just mentioning this because I seee a lot of T-34 models with these strakes visible.
Two additions for the Orange Box version of this kit are a piece of string for use as a tow rope and new decals. I thought the rope was far too thin. The old kit had tactical numbers, whereas the new kit has a slogan "For Stalin!". I have never seen numbers or slogans on a Model 1940, so, either way, there is an addition to your spares bin.
The additional sprue of GEN2 infantry weapons is a nice addition for your spares box. This includes one DP-28 light machinegun, one PPSh-41 submachinegun, 2 PPS submachineguns, and two Mosin-Nagant rifles. There are also four steel helmets and a dozen five-round clips of 7.62mm ammo for the rifles. Please note that none of these weapons would have been issued to tank crews, and indeed the SMGs were not yet in production at the time most Model 1940s were in action. Still, it's always nice to have more diorama fodder. These are really nice, up-to-date moldings with separate bolts for the rifles, and hollow-molded muzzles.
Back in 2003, this was a very highly-detailed, accurate T-34. The modular design of the lower and upper hulls meant that almost any 76mm-armed T-34 could be built, so, we all knew more T-34s would be coming.
This new boxing maintains that level of quality, with some minor additions. I was disappointed, but not surprised, with the lack of PE for this kit, but, that is typical of the Orange Box range. For an inexpensive T-34, this is a very nice kit.
Pros: Still a very sound kit. Easy assembly; some goodies for the spares bin; "daddy" of the T-34.
Cons: No PE, two-piece gun tube,
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to Dragon USA for this review kit.
Reviewed by Danny Egan
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