Kit Preview : 1/76 Cromwell Combat Ready T-34/76 1940 with cast turret
About the manufacturer
Cromwell's Combat Ready range combines simplicity and an excellent level of detail. Unfortunately the individual models are a bit of hit and miss. If they are accurate they are near perfect, otherwise they are cast-offs as one piece hulls don't lend themselves well to modifications. The bad kits are not really bad just not to scale.
About the vehicle
The T-34 tank series define Soviet armor in WW2. 57,000 were built during the war. Only the M4 Sherman has comparable production figures (about 50,000). On the opposing side a mere 6000 Panthers and 8500 Panzer IV's (all models) were built during the war.
The Wikipedia entry on the T-34 is a good place to start if you want to learn more.
This model represents the first version of the T-34, with the shorter L-11 76mm gun. The chassis can be identified as an early build by the rectangular engine access hatch, rounded hull front, and rubber-rimmed front idler. Cromwell also do a model with a welded turret.
The kit is a very simple one: complete hull with running gear and turret. The turret has a metal insert in the gun, which is already drilled out. The casting is beautiful and everything looked perfect until I put it alongside my other T-34s. The hull is about 4mm short, mostly due to the engine deck being too short. The width is spot on. The turret might be a bit small at the base but it doesn't jump at you. The front idler is also on the small side, as for the Fujimi T-34s.
Here are some pictures of the model after clean-up and ready for paint. 3 lifting eyes made from 8thou brass wire have been added to the turret roof. Their location was already marked! An antenna holder has been added from plastic rod and fixed to the hull with 25thou steel wire. The antenna can rotate to rest horizontally against the hull so the position of the antenna mount can vary within a 90 degree range. I have roughed up the cast turret's surface with diluted Mr Surfacer 500. In case you are wondering, the solvent is acetone. As a piece of information acetone will also dissolve dried Mr Surfacer, which can come in handy for clean-ups or salvage jobs.
The inner side of the tracks is flat. Yuk! I scored link separations using a hobby knife. Hardly ideal but better than nothing.
Early T-34s did not have the many handles seen on later models so we are good there.
Here is a link to pictures of the completed model: