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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Battlefront Plastic T-34 Review (SBX30)

by Dirty Jon

I got my hands on some of the T-34s from the new all-plastic T-34 Tankovy Company from Battlefront today.  Since I don't play Russians, I figured I would do something different and make some captured tanks....that everyone seems to be doing these days.  Let's take a look!

This box has everything you need to make 5 complete tanks with BOTH the T-34 and the T-34/85 turrets.
There is even an option to make the flame tank!  Included are 15 magnets to make sure that your turrets stay on tight.  There are even decals for making Soviet tanks, but of course, we are going captured today.

The box art -- neat!
Back of the box.
The graphic on the back of the box tells you every bit you need to make your particular tank.  These instructions look very familiar to experienced plastic tank hobbyists.  A close look at the sprue on the left shows us that this will be a multi-model piece.  There are quite a few leftover barrels and mantlets, methinks. Can anyone say Cat-Killers?

Above, you can see the contents of the box.  The first thing I notice are the one-piece tracks!  Yay!  Like the Panther tracks, the detail is only shown on the parts that will be visible from the tabletop -- if you plan on turning your tanks over for a modeling project, this may be a concern.

I also notice that the sprues for the turrets and body are REALLY thick.  When cutting, I was careful to leave a large bit of sprue so as not to damage the turret.  I recommend using some snips and a new hobby knife blade when dealing with these parts.  I did not trim too much prior to gluing and saved the careful trimming until after I got the turret together.  This prevented me from gouging the plastic and leaving a gap between the top and bottom of the turret.

Battlefront has done a pretty good job of hiding the connection points -- especially on the T-35/85 mantlet -- but there are still some parts that have to be trimmed carefully.  The turret and the side fenders are the most obvious.

5 command guys and 15 magnets

Yay!  No track assembly!

Turrets and body assembled.
As most of you know, I am not a fan of assembly.  For these guys, the first model took about 20 minutes to cut, trim and put together.  There are some small bits (exhaust, MG, etc.), but I would say that the assembly is pretty darn easy.  After getting the first one done, I did the second in about 15 minutes.

No more chipping fenders!  Note the flash around the turret gap - this is easiest to clean when the turret is assembled.
The fenders are very thick and will not chip on these models.  If you have seen Soviet tank hordes, you have certainly seen the brittle fenders of the T-34 chipped to all hell on the resin model.  Well, this is no more!  The new one is plastic and very thick.  Problem solved.  You will have to be careful trimming this area, as the sprue has three very thick connection points.  Again, a very sharp knife and patience is key.

The detail on the hull is very good, while still retaining the "chunky" Battlefront style.  Some other plastic models can either have almost no detail, or have detail so fine it gets kind of lost at 15mm.  For this model, I think Battlefront has done a good job of retaining their style, while taking advantage of the plastic medium.

Base coat done!
For this build, I painted the tracks black, then filled in the base color with the wheels.  I had to paint the mud guards as well, then assemble them on the base-coated model.  This is a little annoying, but there really is no option for my style of track painting.  There are two styles of guards for the T-34, so they could not just mold them onto the tracks.  No problem, as I like to have options!

For the paint scheme, I got inspired by Steven's recent post, but also looked back to one of my favorite articles of all time -- Casey's T-34 Panzerkompanie.  I was able to scrounge around and find some skirts left over from my old Panther build.  I really love the look Casey got, so I go for it!

If you want to see these in plain ol' Uncle Joe Green, check out James' excellent article.

And, here is the finished product.  I think that these models look great!  I did rush through these pretty quick, so I did the camo in a fairly sloppy pattern.  I still think it looks cool, and any painting faults are mine, not the model.  I can't wait to take the other two and crank out some captured tanks for my Finns!

Conclusion:  9.5 out of 10 Collective Farms

Clocking in a $45 USD retail, these really are a good deal.  Everything is right here in the box with no fooling around.  Including both turrets is a great idea, and you get enough decals and magnets to make it all work.  The one-piece tracks are great in their simplicity.  These painted up very nicely and the plastic material is a clear upgrade over some of the earlier efforts.

The only thing to improve is the really thick sprue connections to some of the parts. This does not impact the end result, but if thinner, would cut some time off the model assembly.  It would also be nice to have some stowage, but I am not sure where that would even fit in the box - it is very tight.

So, I am pleased with this box set and I highly recommend it.    

Models provided by Battlefront Miniatures

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