by: Darren Baker [ ]
T34 series of tanks saw a lot of service throughout World War II, and some are still in service today, or used in times of civil war. During World War II, due to the Russian doctrine of very little training for tank crews, troops went to war with very little training and understanding of their equipment. This resulted in a high attrition rate of both men and machines. Some of these vehicles suffered severe damage to the turret and were considered unpractical to repair and place back into service, so a high number of these vehicles had the turret ring opening closed up and were pushed in service as “TYAGACH” which was basically an armoured artillery tractor. ICM have now taken their T34 model and released it as a TYAGACH, and here in this review we now get a look at it.
This offering from ICM, is provided in the now normal flip top card board box, with an additional cardboard lid with all the art work on it. Inside there is a single re-sealable plastic bag that contains all of the plastic parts and two additional re-sealable plastic bags containing the vinyl rubber parts and the clear parts. Two of the sprues have been wrapped in polystyrene plastic sheeting to provide additional protection for two of the sprues. An examination of the parts reveals no obvious issues with the mouldings, there are a few ejector pins marks that will need some attention, and there are also some flow marks on the larger mouldings, which while I can see them do not look or feel to have caused any damage to the mouldings.
Due to being picked up on my reference as I do not have the latest information, I am going to stick with my general opinions of this model as I do not want to give anyone false data. The wheels and undercarriage have some nicely moulded detail, ICM having put a lot of effort into the wheel detail. The only thing I wish that ICM had done was to supply the ability to set the road wheels as if on uneven road surfaces. The upper and lower hull has been very well moulded with the fit between the two pieces being very good. There is a small raised bump on the underside of the lower hull where the moulding stub was and that will need to be sanded down or cleaned up, remembering that ICM has provided some moulded detail there as well.
The design of the upper hull is such that it will make the addition of photo etched upgrades to your model easy, the various vent detail has been supplied as separate parts and so can easily be replaced. The engine access panel has also been supplied as a separate moulding and so an engine could be added and displayed. Inside the hull ICM has supplied seats for the driver and machine gunner, there are also the tillers supplied for the driver. The machine gun for the bow has been supplied as full moulding rather than just a barrel, but the barrel could be improved by a little drilling out of the barrel. The only new part in this release is the turret ring closure, this has a raised area with an escape hatch and a vent, and is where I believe the location for the position for the tank Commander, I would have liked the hatch to have been a separate part as a figure in place would be a nice addition to the finished model.
The vinyl rubber tracks have some nice detail on both the road surface contact side and the wheel contact side. The hollow guide horns have been well replicated and do add a nice touch to these tracks. The points where the tracks connect to the gates on the sprue do have small and slight deformations, but if these are placed on the inside of the run it should not be easily seen or detected. I would have liked to see model manufacturers’ move away from vinyl rubber for tracks, but life is what it is. The hawser cables are vinyl rubber which is acceptable, but I am pleased see separate plastic eyes that can be used with wire cables if so chosen by the modeller.
I am pleased that ICM has provided clear lenses for the light and commanders periscope as these do improve the model. Some simple scratch built additions that the modeller could make that I feel would improve the finished model would be wire to replace the grab handles as they just look better. With these vehicles being reutilised damaged vehicles the modeller also has the option of adding some battle damage from minor to major as I suspect even penetrated hulls were reutilised depending on internal damage done. A single finish is included in the instructions with no decals provided and so the finish is really left to you.
I can’t recall anyone offering this vehicle previously and I suspect further releases of this model with figures and a field gun from ICM. The detail is acceptable from what I can see, and while I am not a fan of vinyl rubber tracks the modeller is not restricted in what changes they make in any way with the model design allowing alteration to be easily made. What I particularly like about this offering is the extent of damage that could be replicated on a vehicle that is still in use.