Sunday, 6 April 2014

Four T-34 'quick build' models compared - Part 10


To complete the Plastic Soldier model I decided to go for the T-34/85 option. Although - as I mention in my earlier turret review of this kit - I thought that the T-34 Model 1943 turret option was the better of the two variations included in the box I decided I would give the '85 a go just to see if I could make it work. You'll see from my photos what you can do to produce a passable war gaming quality T-34/85...

The first thing you will notice, and perhaps most importantly, is that I replaced the hideously oversized PSC gun with a spare Armourfast 85mm I had. In my opinion this is absolutely essential if you want to make a '85 out of the PSC kit. Just don't bother if you are thinking of including the original gun, people will just laugh at you...Seriously!

Next I corrected the mantlet cover slightly. Again, PSC got it wrong. I added the turret grab rails, because it was easy to do but adds character, and finally I made the turret weld out of Milliput to disguise the ill-fitting turret halves. As you can imagine, you don't have to do these last modifications, but if you have the time or inclination they will raise a very sub-standard model into something that is at least on the same planet as far as resembling the T-34/85 goes.

It's clear this is a bad model, by anyones standard, although this isn't because of the use of poor materials or bad moulding techniques. In fact the plastic is quite nice and what detail there is is very sharply defined. The main problem is - aside from the extreme simplification - that everything is so chunky and oversized. Overall the model is too large for the scale.

My theory is that this is because - as someone pointed out to me - that this model is based on a computer generated prototype designed for the smaller 15mm scale. Simply scaling this design up to 1/72 has not worked because features that were exaggerated - in order to work in the smaller scale - are now blown all out of proportion in the larger scale.

So, is there anything that can commend the Plastic Soldier Company 1/72 T-34 box set?

I personally find it very hard to come up with anything. I cannot see how even the most technically disinterested war gamer - to whom the game is more important than the objects he or she plays their games with - can overlook the glaring deficiencies in this model. Certainly the tracks and the Model 1943 turret are not bad for quick builds, but I wouldn't buy this set just for these two items - I'd rather persevere with other similarly priced makes which have less blatant flaws.

Yes, I wish other quick build makers would take a good look at how PSC produces it's tracks as they offer - in my opinion - the best compromise between cost and accuracy for a quick build tracked vehicle, but I wouldn't buy a PSC kit just for this feature alone.

In the end, aside from the review model I picture here I will not be using any of the other PSC T-34 or T-34/85 hull or turret parts in any other model projects. Though I will recycle their tracks - after replacing the road wheels - and include them in future Armourfast T-34 projects.

Don't buy this model.

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