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Bill Koppos
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Article # 100! For this occasion, a T-34 Twofer.

March 1, 2022 · in Armor · · 9 · 1.2K

Before I start, a disclaimer. This involves Russian subjects in a Russian made Movie. I have been working on these since last Year when I saw the Movie. It in no way relates to the present situation involving Russia and their actions of late. Just in case.

Many very good movies about the "Great Patriotic War" have been coming out of Russia in the last several years. One of them and to me the best of them is one called simply "". This may be one of the best "War" movies ever, actually. It has a whole lot of action/adventure in it, too. And the special effects-let's just say "Wow". The story line really grabbed me, the characters are completely enjoyable, the acting top notch. There is a bit at the end some may have different opinions on, but I'll leave that to you if you choose to watch the film. I highly recommend it. I will include a link at the end of the article, presently it is Free (with ads) on You Tube. This version has English subtitles.

Nikolay Ivushkin is our hero, stuck defending a village with one T-34 tank, and a half squad of infantry against a Panzer Grenadier platoon led by Klaus Jager. The first 30 minutes of this show rival "Saving Private Ryan" for adrenalized action. The anti-tank shells do fly, due to the afore-mentioned special effects wizardry. Eventually Our heroes are overwhelmed, and two fall into the loving care of the Nazis. The second half of the movie sees Jager, impressed by Ivushkin's skill, force Ivushkin into working for him, to train new Panther crews using a newly-captured T-34/85, repaired by Ivushkin and crew, as difficult bait.

More action, involving getting one over on the Germans, ensues until a very climactic end, where our two antagonists duke it out (using tanks of course). There is mutual respect at the end (controversy) and of course a Love story is worked in (It is done well and she is very cute). Overall this a an extremely entertaining film indeed.

I NEEDED to build the early T-34 that Ivushkin used, smoldering hay and all. While I was at it, what the hell, might as well go for the 85 too! Both presented challenges to represent the celluloid machines.

T-34/76 model 1941 "Relentless". The tank they had for the movie was a very early bird, featuring 1941 items like the square engine inspection hatch, early tow cable points, and bow MG mount. That they had one of these around amazes me. They are still dragging AFV's of all kinds out of Eastern Front swamps and bogs, where they are amazingly preserved. Most roll out on their own tracks! There are videos where there are outfits that specialize in these restorations. Anyway, there were some challenges. Here's where I watched this film over and over and over looking at details (Back to the days of the Mad Max car). Basic kit used was Dragon's 1/35th scale T-34 model 1941 cast turret. It's easier to describe the mods/detail/finish work in list form:

1) Applique armor plates around Bow MG mount added from sheet styrene and "welded" on.

2)Bullet splash strips added to hull front/top.

3)Only 1 headlight, on left side.

4)Original finish Model Master Russian Green (last of it's kind, no more Model Master) covered over with Tamiya White, and weathered using the hair spray method. The marking on the turret (translated for us as "Relentless") was brush painted with Vallejo red.

5) Hay remnants (from hiding in the Haystack) added using landscape straw.

6) Tools scrounged from spares box, added to hull as per film tank locations. Some of the tool and box locations are non-standard, so I copied those of the movie tank. Tow cables also.

7)Tracks were mudded up to try and match the film look, very dark earth using Vallejo pigments and Tamiya Mud, and various paints.

The T-34/85 took a bit of work too. The kits available to me did not suit so I had to bash 2 to make it. The movie 34 has a late chassis with squared fenders, standard dished wheels and earlier turret and cupola. So out came the wallet and the later hull and wheels came from an Academy kit, and a turret from a Zvezda (NICE) kit. Neither one was ridiculously expensive and I can make another T-34/85 Korean capture from the remaining parts. I tell you what, for a tank that was supposed to be a mass produced wonder (Do not touch the production line!) there are TONS of little differences between different models with many small variations. The detail list:

1) Make Zvezda turret fit Academy hull modifying the turret ring and mounting lugs.

2) Enhance (make sloppier) welds on the cupola and hull, enhance flame cuts on turret and mantlet, and texture the turret walls.

3)Again markings had to be hand painted. According to the close caption translations these are cities. Right side turret: Moscow. Left side turret: Perm, left side hull Keretsov, both industrial cities in the Urals. The one on the hull front, I don't know, but it looks like Jacob? The wings were the most fun.

4)I used Vallejo Air Russian 4BO on this one, varying the tones a bit. The Keretsov was not going to get much weathering, as this was cleaned and repainted before it's adventures, and stayed clean in appearance during the film.

So here they are. If I can find some appropriate figures, I will do a dual display in future. I am getting to like doing Cinema subjects, or reproducing subjects from photos. it is challenging to match them up.

If you are a War movie fan, or just want a good adventure film, I can't recommend this one enough. All my buds who have seen it all agree.

Article # 100...SAVE! This is NOT my first day at the front!

Reader reactions:
9  Awesome

19 additional images. Click to enlarge.

9 responses

  1. Both do look amazing, Bill @billkoppos
    Weathering effects are very nicely executed.
    Especially the mud effects on the winter variant is amazing.

  2. Excellent job on both of them, Bill!

  3. That weathering and mud are awesome, but that is some crazy good chipping, rope, rust, and grass added for very effective realism. Very impressive model, Bill.

  4. Nice work, Bill. FYI, White Tiger was another good Russian war movie. Goofy story but well done and illustrative of WW2 combat.

  5. Looks real sweet. I think the mud is your best yet. Nice additions to your From the Movies Collections.

  6. Great looking builds!

  7. Great job Bill! ?

  8. Great T-34's Bill! Big fan of your /76.
    I too was quite impressed with the movie T-34. The first time I saw it was english dubbed but I have to say I did enjoy it more when I found a version in Russian with english subtitles. I simply prefer watching movies in their original form. As an aside, if you haven't seen The Bombardment or the Forgotten Battle, they are worth a look!

  9. Bill, I watch war movies and this one kept popping up on my 'You might like' list. I never considered watching a Russian made WWII flick. What a surprise. Just the right amount of action, drama, romance, and really?!. And incredibly accurate in CGI detail. (How did they get the Storch so right?). The first movie I can recall, aside from Fury, that revealed what it was like to be in a tank battle from the inside. Because you recommended it, I finally bit. You were 100% right. Many Thanks.

    PS. BTW, spot on with the build.

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