From 'Backyard Toy' to Soviet T34-85


I originally wanted to build the T34 and only settled on a Panther when it became obvious that it would be many, many months after the date promised that the T34 would appear! For continuity and as some readers may not have read the Panther build notes, some points are repeated from the Panther notes. These points are in italics.

Not now wishing to import through the UK agent, a very good friend in Southern Ireland obtained the T34 for me. On delivery I inspected the tank in detail and took photos straight away, something I regret I did not do with the Panther. I had specified unprimed and unpainted and the tank was received in its green fibre glass state. The tank was ordered without a gearbox as the now modified gearbox from the static Panther was available. This fitted perfectly and only required new final drive shaft that I made. Again my first impression of the tank was its overall crudeness. The construction is mainly in GRP. The overall quality of the mouldings is very strong but was in some areas very, very poorly laid up. The suspension units are of mild steel whose springs reminded me of the bedsprings in our old Army beds.

The tank is in three main parts, turret, deck and hull. The deck is fixed to the hull by two non scale bolts that engage vertically into nuts through the side mud guard. The fixing of the turret to the deck is the same as the Panther using a 3 pulley wheel system. The tank is however very to scale in its dimensions although most detailed items e.g. the driver’s hatch, the cupola etc. are basic and nothing like the original in detail. 

Unlike the Panther there is a real lack of books on the T34-85 giving the quality of detail that is needed. Fortunately I live two hours from both Bovington and The Imperial War Museums Annex at Duxford, Cambridgeshire. Both have a T-34-85. Both are of post war Polish origin, the Bovington tank being captured in Korea and the Duxford tank a gift from the Polish Army. I visited both and took over 200 ‘digi’ photos. I further purchased the few books that are available and in particular, the Osprey Publication of Modelling the T34 was very useful.

Project Photos

As supplied. Front view. 

Rear view. 


About the Author

About Peter Mealing (trackpins)


Wow! What a truly phenomenal build, and article to boot. Way to go Pete. It is really a one-of -a-kind! What more can I say?! I can't wait to see that Hetzer.
FEB 16, 2004 - 12:44 PM
All I can say is WOW Kicks the butt out of my 1/16th King tiger! What kit was this?
FEB 16, 2004 - 01:03 PM
Wow! That looks great! Now I'm really jealous... I wish someone manufactured and sold those.
FEB 16, 2004 - 01:10 PM
One of the Best jobs I have seen in a long Time! Great Build Great fellow Human! Nice Work Peter!!
FEB 16, 2004 - 11:03 PM
Excellent article, and an awesome build. Congrats on both!
FEB 17, 2004 - 05:51 AM
Thank you all for your most generous and kind comments. The tank now lives in Lulea, Sweden. About 100 miles south of the Arctic Circle. The new owner is my good friend Kent Wiik who aims to see if it runs as well in the snow as the 1:1 version did! He's in the right place for it, that's for sure! The Hetzer build has started but in between finishing the 1:8 T34-85 and starting the Hetzer I have built a 1:6 T34-85 to the same standard. A lot more detail and functions than the 1:8 through being 33% larger. I think this one could end up abroad as well for the right price! I was going to submit it as an article to Jim but I think Jim needs a break from my big tanks for a while! Tell me to the contrary JIm! Thank you all again. Peter (Trackpins)
FEB 17, 2004 - 09:27 AM
Hi all, Kent Wiik here - proud and happy owner of this truly amazing T34-85. Peter deserve every ovations for this fantastic model. The photos simply don´t do it justice, far more realistic seen live with all those details. Made fully R/C with smoke and sound and still not to fragile to be driven outside. Bare in mind it is made in high museum quality. And yes, he works excellent in snow - something we have a lot of here. Thanks again Peter, Kent
FEB 18, 2004 - 05:58 AM
wicked nice i wish i ahd a 1:8 scale tank (ohh the posiblities) you are a lucky person
MAR 24, 2004 - 11:29 AM