Sunday, 6 April 2014

Four T-34 'quick build' models compared - Part 11


As mentioned in the Model 1943 turret part of this rolling review, I was quite impressed with Armourfast’s interpretation of the ’43 turret. It compared quite favorably with the far more expensive Zvezda turret of the same mark and even – ironically - had more component parts than it.

For this reason, and my slightly less favorable view of Armourfast’s T-34/85 turret, I have decided to a make the T-34 Model 1943 variant from Armourfast’s trio of T-34s.

Of course, ALL of Armourfast’s T-34 variants – including the SU-85 tank destroyer – share the exact same lower hull and one-piece track system. This is facilitated by Armourfast’s clever choice of the early ‘dish’ type solid road wheel, which is the one T-34 wheel you can see used on all variants of war-time T-34 types and sub-type.

The Armourfast model does suffer from an exact amount of simplification – I say ‘exact’ because unlike other manufacturers Armourfast’s simplification of the model consists of leaving out detail rather than including simplified ‘bumps’ and ‘bulges’. This is quite important, I think, as it does give the modeler a chance to improve these models with some judicious scratch building or add-ons without the faff of having to trim off badly moulded representations of the tanks’ fiddly bits. (Proof of the pudding was shown quite usefully in my PSC T-34/85 review model where I had to trim back quite a few of these indistinct bumps in order to add my ‘improved’ versions of these details – like, for example, the grab rails, or the head lamp, or the mantlet cover.)

So, I guess part of the attraction of the Armourfast quick builds is that you can easily go either way with them – keep ‘em simple if you just want ‘armour fast’ or employ a bit of creativity if you fancy something a bit more individual. Quite a nice design philosophy really.

Still, philosophy aside, what is the Armourfast T-34 Model 1943 like?

Luckily, with the most visible characteristic being that very distinctive ‘hexagonal’ Model 1943 turret, and having already noted that AF made a good job of that, this quick build model fairs quite well and I think you can produce a very attractive model with it.

Of course, you are still lumbered with Armourfast’s infamous one-piece tracks, but these are only one part of the three major parts that go up to make this model – the turret, hull and running gear. So how do I rate them overall?

Turret – Very good
Hull – Average
Running gear & lower hull – Bad

Still, this model is the sum of its parts so you could round out these scores with a favorable ‘Good (but could do better)’.

As a war game table model I think it would be unfair to be too critical, but on the other hand we have seen – with the PSC model – that passable tracks can be made. Had the Armourfast been endowed with the PSC tracks I would have said that it was ‘very good’ overall, given the ability to improve the detail easily.

NEXT: The Pegasus Hobbies T-34/85 complete.

No comments:

Post a Comment