Airfix 1/76 T34 Medium Tank

The T34 tank was first produced in 1940 where it was later used to counter the German invasion of Russia in June 1941. It inititally had a 76.2 mm gun, a crew of four, and a weight of 23.6 t. During the Battle of Stalingrad, tanks were being sent straight off the production line into battle. Its sloping armour, large gun, and rugged and simple design, made it a formidable weapon. The gun was later increased in size to 85 mm in 1943, increasing the crew size to five, and increasing the weight to 29.0 t. The tank later served with many other countries, being used in the Korean War, and by Egypt in 1956 in Suez and in 1967 in the Six-Day-War.

The Kit

This kit was first issued in 1968 with pattern number A16V. I first bought the kit in the early 1970's in a Type 3 bag. As I did with all my kits back then, I put it together unpainted. I don't have my original model anymore, but I still have the instructions. I bought a reissue of the kit in 2002 and put it together this year. Apparantly, the kit is not of a Russian made T34, but of a post WWII Czech-built vehicle captured during the Korean war (as displayed in the Bovington Tank Museum). This explains the many differences in the actual kit and the box-art, e.g., two large fuels tanks on the kit and four small fuel tanks on the box-art.

Original header above and new box below.

The kit parts are moulded in brown plastic, with the instructions recommending painting the kit with Humbrol H29 Dark Earth! Parts for both the 76.2 mm and 85 mm turrets are provided. The tank tracks are made from vinyl. There was very little flash. One of the tank wheels was a little thinner than the others. There were also a few sink marks on the fuel tanks, tool boxes and other parts.

Parts in brown plastic!

Assembly and Painting

The kit went together very well. The sink marks on the fuel tank ends and tool boxes were a little tricky to fill and sand, but they came out OK. Note that the new instructions show the exhausts, parts 45 and 46 upside down! They should be placed with the exhaust tips facing down. I built the kit straight out of the box, not attempting to make any corrections. I also built both turrets. The slots for the turret in the tank were a little deep, so I added a little plastic card, as shown below.

Assemblies prior to spraying.

I first undercoated the assemblies with H1, and then sprayed H117 US Light Green as the main colour. This is the colour recommended by Matador Models for fresh Green 4BO, as used on Russian tanks. For weathered 4BO, this colour becomes darker, with Matador recommending H116 US Dark Green. The tracks were painted with Testors Steel. The tracks are fairly thick which caused the tank to lift above the wheels. I fixed this by scraping paint off the tracks under the wheels, applying superglue to the tracks, and then pressing the tracks against the wheels while the glue dried. I also dry brushed H53 Gunmetal on the tracks to lessen their shine.

I used the kit decals, which unfortunately show a bit of white around the red star. For the 76.2 mm turret, I placed the white diamond as shown in the original Type 3 instructions. The new instructions show the diamond rotated 90 degrees.


I had a lot of fun putting this together. It was great to do a much better job than my first attempt all those years ago. The tracks are a bit of a problem, but the rest of the kit is OK.


The Airfix T34/85 with /76 turret By Nigel Robins
AFV Camouflage 1939-45