Dragon 1/35 OT-34/76 Mod.1943 (No. 112 Factory)

KIT #:



$50.00 SRP


One Option


Blair Stewart


Smart kit with individual track links/photoetch parts



 The T-34 was a Soviet medium tank produced from 1940 to 1958. Although its armour and armament were surpassed by later tanks of the era, it has been often credited as the most effective, efficient and influential design of World War II.[5] First produced at the KhPZ factory in Kharkov (Kharkiv, Ukraine), it was the mainstay of Soviet armored forces throughout World War II, and widely exported afterward the war. It was the most-produced tank of the war, and the second most-produced tank of all time, after its successor, the T-54/55 series. In 1996, T-34 variants were still in service in at least 27 countries.

The T-34 was developed from the BT series of fast tanks. It was intended to replace both the BT-5 and BT-7 tanks and the T-26 infantry tank. At its introduction, it was the tank with the best balanced attributes of firepower, mobility, protection and ruggedness, although its battlefield effectiveness suffered from the poor layout of its crew compartment, scarcity of radios, and poor tactical employment. The two-man turret crew arrangement required the commander to aim and fire the gun, an arrangement common to most Soviet tanks of the day. This proved to be inferior to three-man (commander, gunner, and loader) turret crews of the German Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks. On the other hand, the T-34 apparently had superior optics over other tanks in its days.

The T-34 had several features that made it a respectable tank: sloping armor increased protection for the crew; the V-2 diesel engine used a less flammable fuel; its Christie suspension was fast on rough terrain; and its wide tracks gave low ground pressure for good mobility in mud and snow. These were the T-34’s positive attributes, in theory at least, although reliability and manufacturing issues dogged the wartime production models. The T-34 continued to give the Soviet Army a critical advantage in the war even after the Germans had equaled and surpassed its technological advantages.

The Soviets continuously refined the design and construction of the tank during the war to enhance its effectiveness and decrease its production costs, which allowed them to field steadily greater numbers of T-34s. In early 1944, the Soviets introduced the improved T-34-85 with a more powerful 85 mm gun and a three-man turret design. By the war's end in 1945, the versatile and relatively inexpensive T-34 had replaced many light and heavy tanks in Soviet service, and accounted for the majority of Soviet tank production. Its evolutionary development led directly to the T-54/55 series of tanks, built until 1981 and still operational as late as 2010. The T-54/55 tanks in turn led to the T-62, T-72 and T-90 tanks which, along with several Chinese tanks based on the T-55, form the backbone of many of the world's armies today.

The T-34 was the most important weapon fielded by the Red Army in World War II. When first produced in 1940, commentators considered it one of the finest tank designs in the world. The T-34 tank is not only one of the most recognizable tanks of World War II, it is arguably the most produced tank in WWII, and is rivaled only by the American M4 Sherman series. T-34 design and initial production took place in Kharkov until the fall of 1941, when the Soviets evacuated the factory. Of the 35,595 T-34s built, 12,604 were built at Factory 112 in Gorky. Out of all T-34s built, roughly 3,000 T-34/76s were built with the commander's cupola and 1,070 T-34/76 were converted to OT-34/76s. How many of both types were crossed (OT-34/Commander's Cupola) is not known. The OT-34/76 was fitted with an internal ATO-41 (later an ATO-42) flamethrower where the hull MG would be fitted. The flamethrower assembly had a 105 liter capacity, but it took up the radio’s space, which required relocating the radio to the turret. The flamethrower had a ten shot capacity and a range of up to 130 meters.  


 For a preview of what’s in the box, see Scott's earlier review of this DML kit.  As usual, you get a jillion extra parts (great stuff for the spare parts box), as Dragon’s standard practice is to build on earlier variants of a particular subject and just add sprues of parts that are particular to the latest variant. It also includes the dreaded individual link tracks, which, I must admit, for the first time, did not present nearly the problems for this old guy as they normally do. The only shortcoming in the kit I can see (and it is a minor one)  is there is only decal option, but Soviet World War II tank markings were about as plain and simple as they come, so this is really not a big deal.


 As usual, I started at the beginning (Steps 1 and 2) of the 10 panel instruction sheet, which encompasses the lower hull and the running gear/wheels. Unlike most German armor kits, Russian tank kits have a smaller number of road wheels (and, in the case of the T-34, no small idler wheels), so the assembly process is a little less tedious in terms of repetitive gluing. Once I had everything assembled, I pushed the road wheels onto their mounting posts, but did not glue them. I did glue the drive sprockets and the front idler wheels to the hull.

In Step 3, I mounted the front of the hull to the lower hull and super-glued the photoetched screens over the engine intakes on the hull’s rear deck. I then attached various other parts to the upper hull and set it aside to dry. I finished up the upper hull in Step 5.

Steps 6 and 7 involved assembly of the main gun and the commander’s cupola on the turret top. Here, I found a mislabeled part: Part C17 should be labeled in the instructions as “L15.” I then moved to Step 8, which included mounting the main gun inside of the turret and gluing the turret to the lower turret ring.

Step 9 was the assembly of the rather intricate external fuel tanks. These include PE parts to provide extra detail.

In Step 10, I assembled the individual link tracks. I used regular styrene cement in the process because it allows me to form the links around the drive sprockets and road wheels as I assemble them. After I formed the links around the front idler and the rear drive wheel, I then left this large section of track on the tank to dry. I then glued links together to form the top center section of the tracks (I would later glue this to the ends of the formed track sections after painting both. Once dry, the glued, formed track links are flexible enough to be pulled off the lower hull assembly for painting. The fact that I did not glue the road wheels to the hull aids in this process and allows you to carefully pull the wheels off with the tracks in the event of any “rigidity” you encounter when removing the tracks.  I subsequently airbrushed the track sections using Testors Steel enamel paint.


 I opted to paint the entire tank with Testors Model Master (MM) Russian Armor green, and then give it a winter camouflage scheme. It’s been about 35 years since I applied winter camouflage scheme to an armor model, so I went to the web to see what techniques today’s armor modelers are using. While a number of techniques are available, I opted for one known as the “hairspray” weathering technique. Basically, the technique uses hairspray as a medium to coat the base color and reduce the adherence of a second paint layer. To make this work, I sprayed the entire model with the hairspray and let it dry (overnight in a dry climate like mine).

For the next step, I airbrushed acrylic “white wash” craft paint on the entire model (except the tracks and road wheels). I didn’t make any effort to get an even coat on the entire model. I let this dry overnight in preparation for the next step in the weathering process.

What makes this technique work is the fact that Hairspray is a water-soluble fixative. The hairspray sticks to the model and the top paint layer sticks to the hairspray. When you dissolve the hairspray, the top paint layer comes off in an almost random and a natural-looking way. All one really needs to dissolve the hairspray is a soft brush and warm water. Using the wash brush and warm water, I soaked the whole model by slopping water all over it. Keeping the brush very wet, I then used using gentle strokes to brush the surface until the paint began to “erode.” The best approach is to work on one area until you are happy with it and then move onto another. For some of the more scratched areas, I lightly scrubbed using the stippling brush, and then came back with the wash brush. As you do the first area, you will begin to see how this approach can nicely resemble the often field-applied winter camouflage schemes – slopped on with mops, buckets, and other implements - for World War II armor. The brush will leave small marks in the white paint, which further adds to the realism.

Once I was satisfied with the winter camouflage look, I then began weathering the model. For weathering, I used the dry brush technique to apply acrylic rust colored paint and then dark brown. I used the brush to “spackle” on some wear spots, as well.

For the tracks and road wheels, I applied a heavy wash of burnt sienna acrylic paint to simulate mud, and let this dry. I then took a wide paint brush and dry brushed white acrylic over the road wheels to blend them into the winter camouflage scheme on the rest of the tank. 

For a final weathering step, I took a No. 2 pencil and rubbed it on numerous high spots to simulate fresh paint wear and to give the appearance of bare metal. This can also be simulated using a silver pencil such as Prismacolor Metallic Silver, which is available at local craft stores. 


 This is another winner from Dragon. It is a challenge due to the large number of small parts, the PE, and the individual link tracks, but it was a pleasure to assemble. The model subject gave me the opportunity to revisit the application of a winter camouflage scheme, and I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the build. I highly recommend this kit to somewhat experienced modelers who want to add to their collections of World War II armor.


1.      T-34, Wikipedia, 2012.
Du quette, Jacques, OT-34/76 No. 112 (1:35), Armorama, 2012.
Heavy Weathering Tutorial #1 - The Hairspray Technique, The Waaagh! Website and Forum, 2012

Blair Stewart

November 2012

Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com and your editor for the review kit. You should be able to find this at your local hobby shop. If not, have them order one for you.

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