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Shar2

T-44 Soviet Medium Tank. 1:35

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T-44 Soviet Medium Tank
1:35 MiniArt


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The T-44 was a medium tank first produced near the end of the World War II by the Soviet Union. It was the successor to the T-34, offering improved ride and cross-country performance and much greater armour. Designed to be equipped with a powerful 85 mm main gun, by the time it was fully tested the T-34 had also moved to this weapon. Both tanks offered similar performance, so introducing the T-44 was not considered as important as increasing T-34 production. Fewer than 2,000 T-44s were built, compared to about 84,000 T-34s. Although the T-44 was available by the end of the war, they were not used in combat.

Attempts were made to improve the T-44's armament with a new 122 mm gun, but the turret proved very cramped and the rate of fire was poor, on the order of three rounds per minute. Another attempt with a 100 mm gun seemed more promising although a number of additional changes would be needed to make a truly effective design. Design work on a slightly enlarged version of the T-44 began during the war and a prototype was produced in 1945. This newer design entered production in 1947 as the T-54/55 series of medium tanks, the most-produced tank of all time.

The Model
The kit comes in the fairly standard top opening box MiniArt use, with an artists impression of the vehicle on the front. Inside there are no less than sixty one sprues of varying sizes, mostly small, in a medium to dark grey styrene, along with two sprues of clear styrene, a small sheet of etched brass and a smallish decal sheet.. As with most MiniArt kits there is a huge amount of detail contained on the sprues and in this one there are around 768 parts not including the etched brass. The styrene used appears to be quite brittle, something I’ve noticed with other MiniArt kits. The mouldings are superb with no imperfections and very few moulding pips. Some of the smaller parts, and there are a lot of them, do have a fair number of sprue gates, but fortunately they are relatively small and shouldn’t cause too many problems. The sheer number of parts is explained by the fact that this kit is equipped with a full, and I mean full interior.

The build starts with the comprehensively detailed engine is a model in itself and has more parts than some whole kits, around forty. The suspension is made up of pairs of torsion beams held with a two part case before being fitted with the two piece suspension arms and fitted to the lower hull. The engine assembly is also fitted to the lower hull, followed by the six piece intake ducks, fighting compartment floor and five piece ammunition box. The rear bulkhead of the fighting compartment is assembled and detailed before being glued into place, whilst compartment sides are fitted to the hull sides and more spare ammunition fitted. The two large machine gun drum racks are also built up and attached to the interior sides.

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The engine decking is then attached and fitted with the three hatches, each with the option of being posed open or closed, followed by the rear deck and the rear bulkhead, which has been fitted out with what look like intake filters, and the towing hitch. Each suspension arm is fitted with a pair of single piece wheels, and their respective hubs, as are the two pairs of sprocket wheels. The engine deck mounted cooling grilles are then attached, with the grilles made of PE. The front mounted idlers are made up form six parts before being fitted to the hull. To the rear, a pair of external fuel tanks are attached, one on either side of the engine deck, each made up from four parts. Each of the two track guards are fitted with front and rear fenders, before being detailed with the more external fuel tanks, tool/storage boxes and spare track links.

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Probably the most awkward section of the build will be the track assembly; with every other link fitted with a separate guide horn they are then attached to the plain links forming a pair, of which you need to assemble thirty five for each side. With the tracks in place the track guards and fenders can be attached. The fighting compartment roof is fitted with the drivers hatch and respective periscope. The two piece turret ring is fitted with three crew seats and put to one side, whilst the turret roof is fitted to the hull.

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The turret itself is as complete as the hull, with what seems like every bit of kit provide to fill its interior. A full gun is provided with the breech section being made up from twenty parts, and is then fitted with the seven peice sight, eleven piece gunners seat and elevation controls, three piece co-axial machine gun and four piece trunnion unit. The turret sides are fitted out with the many a various details, such as radios, traversing controls, spare ammunition for both the main and co-axial weapons, and a multitude of other fittings. The turret bustle is fitted with a rack for the sixteen main gun rounds, whilst the turret roof is fitted out with the commanders and gunners periscopes, ventilation unit, and a clip, which allows the turret roof to be removed allowing the detail to be shown off. The outside of the turret is also covered in parts, such as the aerial base, storage boxes, hatches, grab handles, the main gun is a single piece unit which slips into the breech section and finished off with the mantlet. The turret sections are then glued together, with the exception of the roof, as mentioned above. The completed turret is then fitted to the hull, thus completing the build.

Decals
The small decal sheet contains markings for ten different vehicles, three Soviet vehicles and two captured units re-used by the Wehrmacht. Four of the Soviet tanks are all from unidentified units in use between 1945 and 1955, The others being:-

T-44, No. 139 of the 8th Mechanised Army, Operation Whirlwind, Budapest, Hungary, 4-11 November 1956.
T-44, No. 385 of the 8th Mechanised Army, Operation Whirlwind, Budapest, Hungary, 4-11 November 1956.
T-44, No. 949 of the Belarusian Military District
T-44, From the 29th Armoured Division, 5th Guards Mechanical Army, Slonim, Belarus, 1946-1947.
T-44, 38th Panzer Corps, Kurland, 1946
T-44, 101st Jaeger Division, Austria, Spring – Summer 1946

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Conclusion
This is another super kit from MiniArt and brings yet another lesser known military vehicle to the mainstream modelling community. With the numerous parts count and the large number of very small parts, this kit is really aimed at the more experienced modeller, but looks like it should build up into a superb model, absolutely full of detail, so much so that there shouldn’t be any need for aftermarket parts. Very highly recommended.



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Review sample courtesy of

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