Kit Preview : 1/76 Airfix T-34 76 or 85
About the manufacturer
Airfix started small scale military modeling in the sixties with a range of OO/HO soft plastic figures and styrene aimed at children. OO/HO scaled to 1/76, which was compatible with OO gauge railway sets, OO being 1/76 rolling stock on HO gauge track. OO is still the most popular guage in the UK and a ready source of diorama buildings and accessories.
Airfix rebranded some of their range as 1/72 in the last decade but the kits are still 1/76. The latest offerings such as the Jeep of the GMC Jimmy are true 1/72 however.
The original range of 1/76 kits is still available today (7/09) and is now complemented by the JB range, also in 1/76.
About the vehicle
About the kit
The kit is not as bad as I imagined. The dimensions are correct, or at least within an acceptable tolerance among all the other T-34s I have in 1/76 (Fujimi, MMS, Cromwell, Vacucast) . The wheels are a pleasant surprise, much better than the dreadful Matchbox ones. The turrets are a bit under size. The guns are write-offs, being much too thin as well as the oversimplified fuel tanks. The exhausts are too thin. Beware as the instructions show them upside down.
The 85mm turret is a late war model with the large single hatch cupola. It is too simplified to tell the exact variant as it has no weld seams at all and is not the flattened model either. The good thing is that you can model the variant you choose. The 76mm turret seems to be a very simplified 1941 cast version.
The hull is generic, with the angular front medguards of a late 85mm model. It is appropriate for a wargame model but requires considerable work to figure any particular version. For instance the engine grilles are smooth without any knind of mesh pattern. The tracks are OK, actually better than I expected, meaning quite usable, with a different tread than the Fujimi T34 ones. The best are from Dragon if you don't mind spending 15 USD to improve a 5 USD kit.
In conclusion, given the low cost of this kit, I would use it as a source of parts to model different variants of T-34s using Matchbox or Fujimi models as a base.
Review date: 7/24/09