ARM: Review - AFV Club T-34-85 Factory No. 174 Full Interior Kit



Kit Review: AFV Club 1/35 Scale Kit No. 35S56 T-34/85 Model 1944. 1945
Factory No. 174 Full Interior Kit; 504 parts (447 in grey styrene, 24
clear styrene, 20 in black styrene, 10 steel springs, 2 black vinyl
tracks, 1 black nylon string, 1 turned brass barrel, 1 etched brass);
estimated retail price US$50

Advantages: complete interior with clear styrene parts to show it off;
neatly done details with very nicely broken down parts

Disadvantages: minor glitches in design and features (see text)

Rating: Highly Recommended

Recommendation: for all Soviet and ‘34 fans

AFV Club has now followed their interesting T-34 Factory No. 112
“Krasnoye Sormovo” kit with both a regular (AF35143) and clear hull
(AF35S-51) option with a new kit of a Factory No. 174 (Omsk) T-34-85
with the same options - AF35145 as the “solid” kit and AF35-56 as the
“see through” version. It says it is a “Model 1944, 1945" kit but only
provides the Model 1944 version with the “split hatch” cupola and not
the later “big hatch” cupola as modelers term them.

This kit builds on the previous effort by replacing a number of parts
with those needed to create an accurate 85mm T-34. In this kit, it
amounts to 185 new parts; note that AFV Club does not make it simple
to sort them out as do DML and Trumpeter by using “mix and match”
sprues but replaces them item for item, so anyone reviewing one of
their kits has to look close at the sprues to spot the changes!

This kit has more clear parts provided as it needs some for the
commander’s cupola as well as more for the turret and upper hull
components.

As with the previous ‘34 kit, AFV Club has used smart choices for
some of the parts. As before it comes with 20 separate black tires for
the road wheels but these are styrene so there is no problem in
cleaning them up, fitting them to the model or painting them. It still
comes with steel springs which are not as difficult to install as
those on the Churchill kits.

Detailing starts with the floor and moves forward. Separate details
abound in the control (drivers’) compartment and include rodding for
the foot pedals. This time the larger 85mm rounds are complete, and
include late-war “arrow” shells as well as regular HE and AP rounds.
Seats are neatly done with separate thigh pads and even machine gun
racks look the part.

The V-2 engine is complete, but here AFV Club fixed its earlier
mistake and only shows the later war “cyclone” air cleaners. But they
do not connect to the engine, and the exhausts still use them as a
mount for their passthrough to the exhaust pipes. (Note in one view
the older “pancake” air cleaner is still shown on top of the engine -
so much for cut and paste!)

The transmission comes with the odd “ribbon brakes” in place on each
final drive/lateral clutch assembly (A43-A46) and the fan is a four-
piece marvel of the moldmaker’s craft. Note that the main clutch is in
the center of the fan. The radiators each consist of three parts and
fit as required next to the engine.

As before the kit comes with pressed disk steel wheel but now with
“segmented” solid tires and not the earlier “notched” tires. The same
three different options for the idlers and drivers (1940, 1941, 1942
and beyond) are present, but for this kit the recommended ones are B33/
B37 for the idler and B9/B13 for the driver.

The tracks are a bit thin and floppy, so most modelers may want to
use an after-market set for this kit. AFV Club has come to the rescue
with their set AF35173 which is a “Snap Together” set of single link A
and B tracks (one is the flat plate, one the toothed variant), but
these are an after-market purchase and not included in the kit.

The upper hull, stern plate, turret halves, roof and turret
ventilator are all molded in clear styrene. This is slightly marred by
ejection pin marks on the inside of the rear fenders, the stern plate
and the turret roof; removing them will take careful sanding, buffing
and a touch-up with Future or Johnson’s Klear.

All radiator louvers - intake and exhaust – are positionable, but the
rear deck is solid so if you wish to display it you will have to leave
the covers (D53, D54, D5) loose. There is a single etched grille for
D5 which is a good choice.

This kit also comes with three 95 liter external cylindrical tanks
and two smoke pots for the rear of the hull. The cylindrical tanks are
one piece with a separate end cap, one nice way to get around the seam
problem.

The turret is again nicely done and comes with a very complete Zis-
S-53 gun breech and coaxial DT machine gun back end. There are details
everywhere you look, but the clear plastic turret will cause some
problems when completed due to attaching the parts to the inside. In
this case there are so many bits in there such as 16 rounds of
ammunition, seats, intercoms, viewers, etc. it will be very hard to
see much of anything when completed, and the photos on the box top
confirm this.

Three finishing options come with the kit, all in 4BO green: 164th
Tank Brigade, 16th Tank Corps, Poland 1944 (white T-36); unknown,
white 215; and unknown, Germany 1945, white 121.

Design of this kit is credited to “Team Niitakayama”.

Overall this is a better effort that the T-34 76mm one as it solves
the air cleaner problem. As it notes a set of 550mm smooth plate
track, it is likely an early T-34 will follow (e.g Model 1940 or early
Model 1941).

Thanks to Miin Herng Tsueng for the review sample.

Cookie Sewell
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