Friday, 29 April 2016

Intermission: Review - Building a PSC T34

 In order to give you the chance to go to the loo, get a kia-ora and a miniscule tube of ice cream, by way of an intermission, I thought I'd show how impressed I have been with the Plastic Soldier Company gear, namely their T34.
It's not exactly classic Airfix box art (two tankies playing a rubbish game of hide-and-seek) but we're more interested with the contents... Three models
 This is my basic You'll have your own, no doubt, but if you're a painter say, rather than a builder, then this might get you on that first rung. Contacta precision glue (not too runny) liquid poly with brush (very runny) Superglue, for when you want it to stick or someone's gonna die!...funnily enough not needed on this vice, tweezers open, tweezers closed, probe (in case of alien abduction) small nail scissors, straight scalpel blade and handle, cutting/assembly board and mug of hot tea.
PSC, Armourfast and other 'quick build' kit manufacturers are ideal. Get it built, get it painted, get it into action. The reverse of the box shows pretty well the whole procedure at a glance. Emphasis on 'quick' but you don't lose out on quality even with the extraordinary ease of construction.
 You get three identical sprues each with the capacity to make either the T34-76 (1943) or the T34-85 versions of this classic Russian tank.
 Good detail so pay attention to it. It will tell you which way up or what bit connects at which end IF you observe and dry assemble (i.e. put two bits together without glue first to make sure they do)
 Knife, supported cut...
 scissors, unsupported cut...Why emphasise this? I've broken key parts by stressing the sprue!
 You always get tags, flash or mould bumps (fewer with PSC and modern moulds) so, inspect each part as you cut it off and tidy as you pays you later, remember the seven 'P's

 Tip: as you go along bore out the end of the gun barrel. Put the point of the blade in the centre of the barrel and twist the knife as if you were putting in a screw. Alternatively you can use the pin vice for this if you have a small enough drill bit. NB. Keep bandages and a blood transfusion to hand and 999 on speed dial...thumbless of Belfast please note
 You can fit the tracks over the wheel assembly just as easily but I prefered to make them up separately and push them on when dry. It's easier to sort if you've cocked up the track ends...observe, dry fit!
 Every piece has it's obvious place...
 ...just refer to the instructions/artwork for the road/drive wheel position. Dry fit won't help you this time because they fit running in each direction. Instead dry fit the top half of the body to the bottom half and then check for the direction of the road/drive wheel assembly with the instructions/artwork or reference material..the slightly bigger wheel is to the rear

 When you're confident glue it all together and, when dry, push the tracks on (dry first)

 I think the attention to detail is great. Look how these track links contour the wheels. This is nearly impossible with the old style rubber band type tracks...nearly, you need super glue and a lot of packing out to get this effect!
 Altogether now...
 Turret assembly is very straight forward. Refer to the artwork because Russian tank turret hatches hinge to the front which was good for the crew and, on the 1943 version produced the 'mickey mouse' effect when open.
 Build the '85 turret too. It's dead easy to have both options open for your scenarios.
 Keep the bits! There are often extra or alternative parts so hang on to them. Many an interesting effect has be secured by a visit to the 'bits box'.

Don't get me wrong, I love the old Airfix, Matchbox, et al kits but if I was at the beginning of my wargaming life I'd go for the quick builds. There's no contest; quick, quality and quantity.

Hope this is a help.


  1. Nice review. I have very fond memories of building Airfix and other kits, but nowadays give me quick-build or die-cast ready-made stuff.



  2. Got to the same stage in life as well, quick builds wherever possible. But I still like a bit of scratch building/modification occasionally

    1. Yes, I like your stuff, Will. When I need a tank regiment I chase down the quick builds and the old four part resin jobs too.

  3. Great post! I think the guys like PSC, and others fortunately, can never have enough compliments for their work. And it's nice to see this is the way as even the big companies, afraid of getting smaller, started to do the same. I still remember how frustating was in the past to buy models without crew members or stowage, it seemed as if that bit of extra plastic could be their ruin!

    1. Yes, I agree Joao. Giving a bit more is paying dividends to them in sales and solving the age old problems for us in 'crewing' and 'commanding' vehicles. Thanks for your comment.