|Battered and filthy T34 with PZ. III schürzen - Spring 1944.|
The T34 - a truly legendary vehicle! It didn't have the best gun, armour or top-speed but in terms of balancing the three (and units produced) it is in my opinion the greatest tank of World War II.
So, it's clear - I like the tank. However, I do not have a Red Army collection and have no wish to start. A problem? Not at all - as these vehicles were frequently pressed into service by German units. Some tomes such as the hallowed "Encyclopedia of German Tanks" will have you believe that T34s were used by Germany on a very limited basis. Photographic evidence shows that this is nonsense! For some examples visit the excellent "Beutepanzer" site and have a look for yourself.
|T34/76C with improvised skirts.|
Now, the decision becomes a little harder. Do you want to model a vehicle simply over-painted, a "Germanised" vehicle with new cupola etc or perhaps a conversion?
I have opted for something a bit esoteric, namely a T34/76 C with field-fitted Schürzen. Before you cry "he's mad!" I ask you to consider these photographs. One appears to sport modified Panzer III skirts and the other has items that look to be built from scrap metal. The vehicles are still obviously T34s but are very different to the norm.
|Armourfast: Cheap and cheerful.|
For once, I have the parts to build these in more than one scale. In 20mm / 1:72 I have an old Armourfast T34 1943. It is not a great model but is cheap. I have also a wealth of thin metal and plastic sheet that can be easily fitted as improvised skirting. Fortunately, schürzen will disguise some of the less than perfect detail (or lack of said) sported by this kit.
If I was starting the project afresh, I would opt for the Panzer IV and T34 from PSC - the spare skirts on the former could be used to great effect. Indeed the 15mm collector could use PSC's offerings to the same end.
|Potential skirt donor.|
In 28mm / 1:48 (quiet!) I have a complete set of skirts from a Tamiya Panzer III N and an unbuilt Hobby Boss T34/76. A simple tweak and readjustment and you can make yourself a skirted beast with minimal effort.
Sadly, the 1:48 version is going to be far too large to accompany my BA 3/6 "Stummel" but then you cannot have everything.
|A great model for the 1:48 adherent.|
I think I will go for the smaller option first as it is less work - I have a tendency to start too many projects simultaneously and get demoralised.
Talking of the "Stummel", it is time to don the dustmask and get all the parts sanded...