In-Box Review
T-34/76 Model 42 Special Kit
Special Edition T34/76 Model 42 Factory No. 183
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by: Gino P. Quintiliani [ HEAVYARTY ]


During the Russian participation in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), the most numerous Soviet tank models were the T-26 light tank, and the BT series of fast tanks. The T-26 was a slow-moving infantry tank, designed to keep pace with soldiers on the ground. The BT tanks were cavalry tanks, very fast-moving light tanks, designed to fight other tanks but not infantry. Both were thinly armored, proof against small arms but not anti-tank rifles and anti-tank guns, and their gasoline-fueled engines were prone to catch fire easily. From the lessons learned in Spain, it was determined that a new tank design was needed.

In 1940, an A-32 prototype, named after its 32 millimeters (1.3 in) of frontal armor was modified to a heavier version with 45 millimeters (1.8 in) of front armor and wider tracks and was approved for production as the T-34. It had the proven Christie suspension, well-sloped thick armor, a rear-drive system, a 76.2mm (3 in) gun, and the new model V-2 diesel engine. With its speed, survivability, and relatively large gun, it could easily defeat the German Panzer III and IV tanks it would face.

In 1942 a new hexagonal turret design known as a Model 1942 or “Gayka” (Hexnut) turret, was produced at Factory 183 in Stalingrad. The new design improved the cramped turret conditions. Limited rubber supplies also led to the adoption of steel-rimmed road wheels, and a new clutch was added to the improved five-speed transmission and V-2 engine.

The Kit

AFV Club has released the third kit in their T-34 series – a T-34/76 Model 42 from Factory No. 183. This kit is a special issue limited to 5000 which includes a clear upper hull and turret to show off the nicely rendered, pretty complete interior. This kit shares most of its parts from the previous two kits (the T-34 Model 1941 Factory No. 112, kit #35143; and T-34/85 Factory No. 183, kit #35145). It does include a few new sprues with parts for the older road wheel set-up which has three steel wheels in the middle and rubber-tired road wheels at the front and rear. Also included are new sprues for the updated turret and two sprues with black plastic for the rubber part of the road wheels, not vinyl as in some of their other kits.

The sturdy cardboard box contains:
• 11 main sprues in light gray plastic
• a decal sheet of markings for 5 vehicles
• 1 small PE fret
• 1 bag w/a sprue of clear parts for vision ports and a headlight
• the clear upper hull
• a lower hull shell
• one-piece vinyl tracks
• and a metal barrel.

All the above items are individually bagged to keep them from being damaged during shipping. The kit also includes eight steel springs for the Christie suspension; which looks convincing, and if installed properly, will function just like the real thing. The multi-fold, 29 step instructions manual rounds out the box.

The instructions are clearly written and have good illustrations for parts placement location. The assembly steps follow a logical sequence of the suspension and lower hull; engine, transmission, road wheels, then on to the turret and exterior details. There are paint colors called out throughout the assembly sequence. The decals look to be in perfect register with very thin film.

The kit comes with marking options for five vehicles; two tanks in green and three in winter whitewash:
• Winter of 1942 (a two tone white upper hull and green lower hull with red Cyrillic on the turret)
• Winter of 1943 (whitewashed with a green area around the turret numbers)
• Kursk, February 1943 (green hull with white Cyrillic lettering)
• Winter 1943 (whitewashed)
• Panzergrenadier Division, Brandenburg, East Prussia, January1945 (whitewashed with turret numbers and black Balkenkreuz), a captured tank used by Germany.

a closer look

The individual parts on the sprues look to be sharply molded and free of any flash. The three larger sprues consist of parts mainly for the interior. There are also five smaller sprues which hold the suspension parts, road wheels, and black plastic for the rubber on the road wheels. There is also a clear sprue that has the turret and rear plate cover. The PE fret is small, but very nice. It includes a screen for the air intake.

The lower hull and running gear detail looks very good. The lower hull tub has detail on both inner and outer surfaces. The outer surface includes access plates and the opening for the separate driver’s escape hatch. On the inside, control linkage cables and locator pins for the engine and transmission are molded in place.

The clear upper hull and turret pieces are also molded well. The turret race is complete with bolt head detail on the interior and exterior, as is the opening for the engine access plates on the upper hull rear.

Interior Details:
The fully-detailed interior in this kit is a big plus. It includes pretty much everything you could want, and see, inside the hull. The driver and bow gunner’s area are nicely outfitted with separate control rods for the foot pedals, nicely detailed driver’s hatch, seats, air tanks, and ample side wall details. Ammo boxes are provided for the floor of the fighting compartment as well as nice sidewall details for the spring covers and fuel tanks. There are parts for the circular ammo drums and well-detailed MG’s for the hull and turret. There is also 76mm ammo for the sidewalls and the shell-shaped ammo racks. The ammo for these racks is only molded as half-shells, but this isn’t an issue and it makes painting them easier as opposed to them being molded with the rack on the shell.

The turret is nicely cast in an upper and lower shell, both in clear plastic. The level of detail continues here with interior fittings molded into the turret parts and extra details such as sight mechanism and vision ports added on. There is also a very nice 76mm gun breech and gunners station, including a well cast coax MG and more stacks of circular ammo drums for the MG. With all the little bits added to the interior and the clear styrene, there could be issues with using the clear plastic here. Care must be taken to keep glue to a minimum and there are some ejector pin marks that will need to be removed if you desire to use the clear parts.

The next area with lots of detail is the engine compartment. The V-2 engine is nicely molded and full of details. It looks very good in the equally well detailed engine compartment. There is an issue with the instructions for the engine though. AFV Club carried over the same parts for the older version V-2 intake set-up here. The large circular air cleaner (parts A31 & A32) as shown in the instructions is not correct for a Model 1942 T-34. It is an easy fix to correct this though, and all the correct parts are in the kit. The correct air cleaners are the turbine (or turbo-charger) looking ones on the transmission firewall (parts A2, A4, A19, & A58). These should be used and the circular air cleaner and plenum (A14) should be left off. The intake manifolds, parts A54, are the incorrect type for the later engine as well. The correct ones, without the connection points for part A14, are on the sprues as parts A52. Put them in place of parts A54. There should be pipes that come from the air cleaners to the intake manifolds (A54) as well that can be added if desired.

The transmission area is also nicely molded with the well detailed drum brakes molded onto the final drives that also look very good. All transmission linkages are nicely molded as well. There are also lots of smaller parts to add such as the generator, filler caps, exhaust pipes, etc., that fill this area nicely. Also included is a very nicely molded circular fan that is a real gem. The radiators and batteries round out the engine/transmission compartments and fill the areas well.

The upper plate that covers the engine/transmission area is molded in grey styrene, so if you wish to view this area well, you will have to leave it off or settle for the meager view through the cooling louvers, which can be positioned at any angle you desire. The only PE part in the kit is used on the cover over the cooling louvers here as well.

On a final note, I personally don’t like the idea of the clear hull and turret. As I mentioned above, if you desire to leave them clear, much care must be taken when gluing and detail painting. Also, to me, the clear hull and turret just seem like a gimmick. I would much more prefer these as solid parts and to build the tank opened up as if it is in a maintenance scenario or with hull sections blown apart to show off the interior. Another option would be a cut-away as seen in training films and museums. It is a neat feature if that is what you are looking for though.


Overall the kit looks very nice and I highly recommend it. The interior and exterior parts look to be very nicely detailed, finely molded, and free of flash. Assembly looks straight-forward and with no noted problem areas. The complete interior is a big plus in this kit, and the clear parts, while somewhat of a gimmick, do allow all the details to be seen. I see no major flaws in the kit, its dimensions, or details. With a bit of work and creative painting, it looks like it will build into an accurate and eye appealing replica of a T34-76 Model 42. Another winner for AFV Club!

Highs: Nicely detailed lower interior, engine compartment, and turret. Good addition of black, hard plastic tires for the road wheels.
Lows: None really of note. There is a small correction needed on the engine.
Verdict: I highly recommend this kit. Overall the kit looks very nice. With a bit of work and creative painting, it looks like it will build into an accurate and eye appealing replica of a T34-76 Model 42. Another winner for AFV Club!
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 35S57
  Suggested Retail: 58.95
  PUBLISHED: Jan 30, 2010

Our Thanks to AFV Club!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Gino P. Quintiliani (HeavyArty)

Retired US Army Artillery Officer, currently a contractor at MacDill AFB in the Tampa, FL area. I have been modelling for the past 40+ years, really seriously on armor and large scale helos (1/32, 1/35) for the last 35 or so.

Copyright ©2021 text by Gino P. Quintiliani [ HEAVYARTY ]. All rights reserved.


Now let's be fair, Jim, and accurate. No one from this site has ever approached me to do a review. Never. I will accept what you say at face value. There may not be an explicit policy, but to be told that details are not important falls flat. They do matter, or whatever was under discusson would not be under discussion. It matters to me, and while I may live on the fringe, I am a modeller. I have money, I buy models, and I want to spend my money wisely. I read a review, "this is a great kit" and I go out and buy it. I open it, and am extremely annoyed when I see that I have been lied to. My standards are NOT high. I am a manuffacturer. I have produced many parts, and know very well that every manufacturing process has implicit compromises. I can live within these constraints. My modelling skills are modest, but enough to overcome these. When I see a reviewer flogging a fraudulent model, I will speak out. My fellow modellers deserve that much. When a manufacturer screws up, from poor research, poor engineering, poor manufacturing standards, or just plain poor execution, as in this case, consumers have the right to know. My interest is Soviet armour. I will stipulate that there is not good information available, and that I have language skills that give me access to information not available to "average" modellers in the English-speaking world. So? There are other people with the same abilities and resources, including some who visit here. Likewise, there are others who have gotten the same message as I, that "elite" modellers are not welcome, and we should not bother. We cast pearls before swine, as the saying goes.. I have no problem with mentoring, as you know. I teach, as well as do research. Knowledge not shared is knowledge wasted. I have a website devoted to the T-34 tank, an extensive library and at this point, some familiarity with the vehicle. I also have every T-34 model ever produced in polystyrene since 1960, and far too many mostly useless bits of resin and metal. Where it comes to T-34s, and T-34 models, I do have some knowledge. Gino posts his review, and no disrespect to Gino, he's doing his best with the information he has, but he misses something. I post, and get attitude. "I don't see the difference." I post again, with further information, and then... then what? "Bugger off, elitist scum..." I got the message. Me and the other "elitists" who don't post here any more will hang out at Missing Lynx. Now, I think THAT is a little unfair. If the Site was to be pitched at the level of those who use ML (for example) many less-experienced modelers would find little to attract them. As it is, there is a LOT of 'mentoring' going on in this site, a lot of New Modelers a year or two ago have found real help and assistance on this site (not least from people such as Gino or Jacques). Frequently, i've felt that we DON'T do enough for the 'Novice' modeler, I also feel we don't do enough for the Experienced modeler either. I'm a great advocate of creating new areas such as a 'Research Forum' or even a 'no-holds barred' Constructive Criticism Board where those who are really into the area can feel free to post. [/quote] My comments above are pretty clear. I think the mistake is in trying to "pitch" the site, but that's just an opinion. You pick an audience, deal to them, and the rest of us go away because we never get cards. I don't have a hand to play, so I'm going to another table. I might suggest you focus on the information rather than the audience. If you put it all out there, it is more work, but the newbies can learn what they need to learn, the "elitists" can discover whether the wheels are right, and the Great Unwashed can pick and choose what's important to them. In the meantime, my conclusion is that this site is happy pandering to mediocrity, and there is not a lot here for "elitists" like me. Scott Fraser
FEB 07, 2010 - 11:57 PM
Hi Scott. I also ask you to rethink this. I consider myself an average modeller. I recently built my first T34 and went against your better advise and built the Zvezda/Italeri T34. Did I get the best kit .... maybe not. Did I learn more about the T34 ... definatly yes. I had a lot of personal communication with you via e-mail, and I got more information regarding a subject I knew very little about. This has been built upon with comments from Mark and others afterwards, plus discussions like these on top of that. Im still not an expert, but I know several 100% more than I did 6 months ago. Many modellers will buy kits like the AFVC model based on not only the reviews, but discussions on the review. This has been a perfect example of that. To say the site doesn´t care is somewhat wrong, as the site is more than a internet based page you are reading. Its also the members who read these posts. More than 1100 views already. We are all learning and the group that are demanding higher quality is growing. Thats why your insight is so needed right now. Its not a losing battle or falling on deaf ears. With all the kits that are now available, and the current interest in anything T34 related, why not stay and influence more people? The Russo-Soviet forum is starting to get more popular also .... and now that better info is starting to become available ... more passionate modellers will also step up and join the call for better models.
FEB 08, 2010 - 12:06 AM
Precisely WHY we need the input of people such as yourself. OK, consider yourself 'officially' invited
FEB 08, 2010 - 12:34 AM
Precisely WHY we need the input of people such as yourself. OK, consider yourself 'officially' invited [/quote] Duly noted. I read Frank's post, and he got under my skin.
FEB 08, 2010 - 12:39 AM
I don't think we have ever really 'pitched' the site in that manner. Rather, what has happened, is that sometimes it seems to take on a life of its own. When I first joined, almost 7 years ago, it was much smaller, perhaps more 'intimate' than it is now. We can't turn the clock back but rather we need input to help us cater more widely - that includes areas where more experienced modelrs CAN feel comfortable. As it is, with the demands the Staff group have, there's (inevitably) more time spent on housekeeping rather than development - as you seem to be advocating. I hold my hand up to that - unfortunately there are only so many hours in a day. That's why we do need to bring in people like yourself. Mainly to keep us focussed on what the future site should look like. Unfortunately, or perhaps understandably, the sheer complexity of just what goes on 'behind the scenes' is lost on most people. At the moment, there are something like 20 Reviews 'pending' - now 2-3 staff have to go through these, Edit them, make decisions on when (and if) they should appear. Others are looking for Features - same process. Then, in the News, it's trawling, talking to manufacturers, editing photos they are ALL long-winded processes. I'll repeat it again, i'd be delighted if you could share your thoughts with me off-board
FEB 08, 2010 - 12:49 AM
I gotta jump in quick here: Scott - I am not patting myself on the back...sheesh. I thought you really did a good job when you were commenting ont he model and not on Gino's review. The kind of focus you have to offer is a help to this site, not a hinderance, unless it is disruptive. However, "pandering to mediocrity" is a loaded statement and tends to slap people in the face for not being as detail oriented as you. This strikes me as if someone called you a detail-nazi (which I did not call YOU, I brought it up as a illustration.). I don't look at this as a contest between the accurate building crowd and the average modeler...they both have their place. Now my last post was intentially short as my boss blew out his ACL and needed surgery , so work is now a interesting study in short-notice high-demand projects. I am probably going to get my A%^ chewed out for writing this and not doing what I should but too bad for them...this is important to me too. I think this site has two very good aspects about it: 1. the reviews are aimed at the average modeller. So while DML's kit 6388 STZ m'42 would rightfully get low marks (since the darn thing is unbuildable), AFV Club's 35S57 would be how Gino described it. I look at Armorama's reviews for GENERAL info, like if there are major screwups that would not allow a kit to be built. Yes, in all honesty, something like Lindberg old Snap-together Tiger I would get good marks CONSIDERING what the kit is, in my opinion. 2. BLOG's. This is where I think detail issues are appropriate and will shine. Using my SU-100 BLOG as a example, all the things I note in there could NOT have been in a usefull review. A BLOG allows for thoughtfull discussion, links to resources, and even consideration of new material in discussion as it comes up. It is a "living" document while a review is a snap-shot of someones opinion. This would also be the best place to take out our frustrations with short cuts that the manufacturer's have made for the kits, AND offer fixes for the problems. I would say that you are being a bit over sensitive Scott. I think that the Reviews section here is not for you, but that the BLOGs probably are. I would have expected a BLOG to catch all the details that this kit has problems with as there would have been many voices involved, hopefully even yours. and my review of DML's T-34/76 m43 with C. Coupola will probably not meet with your approval. I have already noted a few problems, but a review is not the place to deal with them. I will need to BLOG the issues and solutions. That is how I feel about addressing the kits shortcomings, which it has. And I enthusiastically invite you to write reviews OR better yet...BLOG's. Jim - any way we can make a listing of BLOG's on this site similar to the reviews section?
FEB 08, 2010 - 02:44 AM
Hi Frank Frank, of all people... Guys like you are what makes it worthwhile, and I'm sure Jim would say the same. We have exchanged emails, and I have watched you suffer with that model. You ask, you listen, you learn, you use that knowledge in your modelling. That's what it's about. You will have read the thread, and understand the issues. I believe that "average" modellers are no different from me. I don't build fast or much, and there have been hundreds of thousands of pages written describing explicitly what I don't know about Sherman tanks or German tanks. (Funny, maybe ironic how that rhymes...) So Frank, I want to build a Sherman, one of the diesel-engined Shermans sent to the USSR. I think they were called 'M4A2'. What kit do I buy? Who do I believe? Where can I go for help? Who has reviews I can believe? I've been burned before, you know. It used to hurt, but now there's so much scar tissue... I am very critical of reviews. I make no apology, because of the scarring, and despite those scars it still hurts to open a box and see a [removed] model someone said was good. EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM can be glued together, even as an abstract art form, and is called "a good model". Yeah, right. So, where is the line? Jim and Jacques and all the other powers-that-be may resent me for suggesting they consider doing anthing differently, but I do believe the line is a lot farther than they place it, or at least as I perceive where they place it. I don't believe in "average" modellers. I want the line way out there, something to aspire to, not something easily crossed. I want excellence, not "good enough"... The AFV Club T-34 kits are "good enough". Are they worthy of a green check mark? I don't think so, and said as much. I think now everyone accepts that the wheels are wrong with the T-34 kit, which is what it was all about in the first place. It should not have been a battle. Therein lies the crux of the problem. I made a similar post on M/L, although not in regards to a review. No big deal. There was a most constructive discussion there recently, several in fact, about Thumper's T-62 (which sucks bigtime, BTW). Half a dozen guys were brainstorming online, trying to get to the issues, which are complex, and which were eventually nailed down. I don't know if you've heard about the model. Briefly, keep the roadwheels and the gun barrel (okay, not quite that bad). In any case, we figured it out, some guys went off to torture themselves making a new hull, other built it with the whistles and bells abailable to dress it up and had a nice model that "looked like" a T-62 from across the room, and people like me put their $50 back in their pocket. I want a review that gives me those options, ALL of those options. BUT it's about what you guys want, Frank. You and Jose and Steve and Bob and Doug and... the other "average" modellers out there. I'm sure Jim and Jaccques and company will do their best to provide that. We have a difference of opinion about where the line should fall, that's all, so it's up to you guys to make it known what kind of reviews meet your needs. We cannot both be right, but we CAN both be wrong, so perhaps this is the opportunity for everyone to speak out, and maybe help them redefine the parameters now used to determine content. I'm going to go build a model while you do that. Scott Fraser
FEB 08, 2010 - 10:10 AM
Just so long as I am being helping rather than just a "power that be". Scott has a point. Armorama may want to do reviews that are more in depth similar to what Terry did/does at PMMS. Those are the reviews that almost all agree are top-notch...but I am not sure that ANYONE could do what Terry does...he really is a blessing to the model world with the work he does. IF we want to change focus to that level, I am willing to help but it probably means more time before reviews are ready and a lot more work on the part of the reviewer. I honestly do not know how Terry does all that he does in such a short time frame. I would still prefer a two tier system...1. reviews to give a breif overview of the kit and any MAJOR flaws that prevent it being built OOB and 2. BLOGS to do in depth review, pointing out less-obvious/necessary weakness' and advice on what to do and where to find references. As Scott points out, this is about what the normal/average/recreational model builder who frequents this site (now ain't that a mouthfull) what does everyone think? Woudl it be better for Russio/Soviet model builders to have a higher caliber review system or a two tier review/BLOG system?
FEB 08, 2010 - 05:00 PM
the road wheels is good, i seen the same in severals pictures of T34. You must buy the T34/76 book of MBI and seen the wheels is correct.
AUG 25, 2012 - 08:54 AM

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