Kit Preview : 1/76 MMS OT-34/76 Model 1943 with softedge turret and cupola
About the manufacturer
MMS is the leading 1/76 white metal model brand. The quality of casting and level of detail are comparable to traditional plastic kits, albeit without etched metal detailing. Smaller details such as mirrors are often omitted , and the running gear of tracked vehicles is usually a simplified one piece casting where the guide teeth are backed by a solid metal strengthening strip.
Due to the tight packaging in unprotected plastic bags, parts often come bent or one might say, with pre-built battle damage. Care must be taken to straighten things out lest parts be broken. Most MMS models I have seen are accurate. I have only seen their Shermans to have shape issues (short hull).
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.
About the kit
This model represents the flame thrower version of the T-34/76 model 1943. It is a small coversion of their T-34/76 model 1943 kit. Since the hull MG is provided you can convert the kit back to a standard gun tank by moving the antenna mount back to the right hull side. The turret is a late softedge 1943 type turret with a commander's cupola. The hull is the same as for the T-34/85 kit but the one-piece track assemblies are different. They have the rubber and steel wheel combinations seen in mid war tanks. The track pieces are identical, with both sides molded as outer sides. This means precaution will have to be taken to bind them to the hull sides. I would drill out the axles, insert metal piano wire, drill the hull sides and drown the assembled track in epoxy. I have found CA to be too brittle.
Size-wise, the MMS T-34's are too wide. They need to be sanded by 1 mm on each side. The tie-down loops will disappear and will have to be rebuilt using thin wire. The turret is a bit oversize but not enough to warrant corrective action. 11 grab handles need to be added (4+3 on the hull sides, 2 on the turret sides, 2 on the engine deck, a small one for the engine access hatch). There may be an additional one at the rear of the turret. I use 8 thou brass wire shaped with the Grab Handler tool. If you don't mind the square section, you can probably find staples of the right size.