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Soviet D-38 Tank (84517) 1:35


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Soviet D-38 Tank (84517)

1:35 Hobby Boss via Creative Models Ltd




The D-38 was a derivative of the BT-2 “convertible” tank that could have its tracks removed and could run on its road-wheels for an extra turn of speed on metalled/tarmacked roads, although Russia had very little in the way of this type of road, so it was a bit of a waste of effort.  The tank was pretty good for its time, and the D-38 was fitted with a faceted turret that was welded, and could carry a 76.2mm howitzer, with the M1927 being the choice as it allowed the tanks to offer fire support to advancing troops.  It was a powerful gun for the time, but it came a little too late and suffered from comparison to the newer T-34 that proved to be a much more capable machine in every way.  Production of the D-38 stopped in favour of the new golden girl, and the rest as they say, is history.



The Kit

This is a partial retooling of their earlier BT-2 kit, but with new parts to depict the turret and any other small differences between them.  It arrives in their usual top-opening box with a painting of the type on the kid, and inside are eight sprues and two hull halves in sand coloured styrene, two track sprues in grey, a small clear sprue, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE), and a decal sheet containing two rows of white digits 0-9.  The instruction booklet is slim, and there is also a sheet of painting instructions printed in colour on glossy paper slipped within it.  It’s a small kit of a simple tank, so should be a fairly fast build until you get to the painting part, but detail is good throughout the exterior.










Construction begins with the two hull halves, as this is an exterior kit and has nothing on the inside, not even a basic breech.  A few holes need opening up, and a few more should be closed over with some rod or putty, then the final drive housings are bulked out by adding parts to the inside of the bell-shaped areas.  Bump-stops are fitted to the side of the hull, followed by large perforated bars that separate the individual springs and suspension arms, with a different swing-arm for the front road wheels that have steering linkages poking through the armour for the road-going “travel mode”.  The sides of the hull are then applied to the outer faces, closing in the suspension and the chain-drive to the rearmost road wheel.  At the front the “steering” wheels are put in place with their central hub, then the paired road wheels are installed behind them, with the smaller idler wheel in front of the steerers, and a multi-part drive sprocket.


Tracks are in grey styrene, and there are 48 links per side.  Every other one has a guide horn, and the detail moulded into the links is very good.  Make a run up and wrap it around the wheels while the glue is still soft, and hold the links in place with tape or some other method to ensure that the correct sag is present when the glue sets.  The fenders are made from a front and rear part on each side, then at the rear a large exhaust muffler is made up and mounted on a pair of PE parts, just behind two engine louvers that might allow the viewer see the blank interior, so take the precaution of putting a coat of black inside before you close up, so that little will be seen.


All that is left now is the turret, which is a simple top and bottom section, to which the main gun barrel are carriage are added behind a two-part mantlet, with a machine gun in a ball-mount to the right of it, plus a vent on the roof and grab handle at the rear.  That’s it.  I told you it was a simple kit.



The decal sheet contains two rows of 0-9 digits, with a pair of additional zeroes thrown in.  There are no decals shown used in the side profiles, so do a little research and pick your numbers from the decal sheet.  From the box you can build this Russian Green vehicle.








It’s a total dead-end of the Soviet armour programme, but an interesting one.  If it weren’t for the T-34 it may have seen a lot more action, and could well have done a good job against everything but the Panthers and Tigers.  A strange mix of Christie suspension, unusual design choices and a big gun.  It’s quite a likeable tank.


Highly recommended.




Review sample courtesy of


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