A soviet tank platoon consisting of three T-34/76 medium tanks, two of which are antique ROCO models led by a more recent KoMo/ROCO T-34/76.B. These old ROCO T-34 models have received a lot of attention, repairing the most blatent construction errors, in order to upgrade them to a reasonable wargame standard. Discerning collectors and diorama builders may find this ROCO 1:87 scale model of the T-34/76.C less than satisfactory.
- Carro Armato Medio T-34 M.1942 STZ
Constructed like a snap-together toy, this model has only 11 parts and it is sold fully assembled, ready to play. Upper and lower hull are held together by large lugs which remain clearly visible from front and rear. Serious modellers will want to glue the parts together, cut the lugs off and fill the holes. Decals are not included, they need to be purchased separately.
The old ROCO model of the T-34/76.C is based on a T-34 M.1942 produced at the Stalingrad Tractor Works «Stalingradski Traktorny Zavod» (STZ), identifiable by the angled front of the gun mount, the angled turret rear armour plate, and the round transmission access hatch between the exhaust pipes. Unfortunately, the unique front turret undercut has been omitted. Moreover, this T-34 still has rubber rims on its wheels, when the 1942/1943 models were built without them, due to rubber shortages. The external fuel tanks are more appropriate for the T-34/85 (ROCO 161), which uses the same model hull as the ROCO T34/76C; if the external fuel tanks are left off the M.1942, six locating holes in the hull sides need to be closed with putty or filler wax.
When the turret of the ROCO T-34/76.C is rotated, the rear turret plate scrapes across the handles of the engine access doors audibly. Apparently, the hull of the vehicle has been designed for the T-34/85 and the T-34/76.C turret was not mated correctly. There is no easy fix for this mistake, because the turret ring is moulded onto the upper hull. However, some repair work has to be undertaken, if the ROCO T-34/76.C is to be painted. Wargamers may opt for a workaround, simply moving the turret forward by placing a second turret locating hole 5 mm in front of the existing one. This solution, seen on several other ROCO tanks with multiple turret options, places the turret off center of the turret ring, but it works fine as long as the tank gun is pointing forward.
The large one-piece turret hatch of the T-34 M.1942 has been modelled as two separate hatches by mistake; there is a tiny commander’s hatch next to a very large loader’s hatch. The periscope in front of the tank commander’s position is missing, but there is a kind of antenna mast behind the commander’s hatch. To fix these problems, the turret roof needs to be completely remodelled. Begin by removing all superstructures, and filling the loaders hatch with an 8 mm disc of sheet styrene. Using a 14 mm hollow punch, cut a disc of 0.25 mm styrene taken from a yoghurt cup, and remove a 3.5 mm strip from the rear and 2.5 mm from the front of it. File or sand the resulting bun-shaped hatch to match the contour of the turret. The raised, wedge-shaped center section of the turret hatch is made from a 4 × 8 mm rectangle of 0.25 mm styrene, the front of which is filed down to the 0.25 mm height of the hatch. A periscope made of 1 mm styrene rod is glued into a hole in front of the turret hatch. The conical ventilation hatch cover, made of 2 mm styrene rod, is centered in front of the hatch. The missing vision devices on either side of the turret are made of sheet styrene.
The grab rails on the hull sides are only modelled in relief, as was common on many early ROCO models. Experienced modellers will want to sand or scrape these off and replace them with realistic rails made of brass wire. The handles on engine and transmission covers are treated the same way.
Noticeable mould lines on the gun barrel need to be removed, and the barrel drilled open with an 0.8 mm micro spiral drill bit. When assembling, make sure that the angled front of the gun mount begins on top of the barrel and extends forward and downward.
The lower hull has mounting brackets for plastic rollers which allow the vehicle to be driven over carpet. On hard surfaces, however, the T-34 seems to be floating in air, because its tracks are off the ground. Wheels and mounting brackets will have to be removed to give the model a realistic appearance when viewed from front or rear. The resulting holes in the hull may be closed with small rectangles of 0.25 sheet styrene.
Cast-on detail detail, like shovels, picks, and tow ropes appear realistic enough after painting. However, the T-34/76 looks even better when it is loaded with the usual ditching log and some of the crew’s personal equipment.
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Despite its many flaws, and having been replaced by a more accurate T-34/76.B (KoMo/ROCO 1222, or miniTanks 1237), ROCO’s antique T-34/76 is still a useful wargame vehicle. Used ROCO models of the T-34/76 are found in online auctions and at flea markets for very little money. If several T-34s are repaired and upgraded at the same time, the workload per tank becomes reasonably justifiable.
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