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ICM 1/35 scale Soviet T-35

Kit: No. 35041
Scale: 1/35
Manufacturer: ICM, available from Squadron Mail Order, 1115 Crowley Dr., Carrollton, TX 75011-5010, phone 972-242-8663
Price: $44.98
Comments: Injection molded, decals.

Beware the mighty behemoth! No it's not some sci-fi monster, but the star of 1930s-era Soviet May Day parades. The T-35 heavy tank was a monster, well over 35' long. Designed like a battleship (complete with five turrets), it would be right at home in an H.G. Wells novel.

The T-35's impressive appearance camouflaged many weaknesses - thin armor, mechanical unreliability, and clumsy design. Thrown into combat during the 1941 German blitzkrieg, it would only serve as an impressive prop for Wehrmacht victory photos.

ICM is an ambitious newcomer to the 1/35 scale model arena. Its T-35 is physically as impressive as its real-life counterpart, with more than 790 parts molded in green and gray plastic.

The overall level of molding is acceptable. Some parts, such as the machine guns, are delicately molded, while the larger hull parts are more hefty and are somewhat out of scale. The side skirts, for example, are too thick. The kit includes a complete drive train (engine and transmission), a driver's compartment, and main-turret interior seats, ammo stowage, and breech. The crew and engine-access hatches can be positioned open to display this detail. Individual-link tracks are also included.

I washed the parts, which were covered with mold-release oil, before assembly. Construction starts with the three-piece lower hull. The transmission parts have gaps, but little of the drive train is visible after the hull top is installed. My kit's hull top had a definite warp, but gluing it to the lower hull with quick-setting glue corrected the problem.

Much of the construction time involved building the five turrets. The 45mm gun turrets required dry-fitting and sanding before they fit into the gun housings (E17). I had to enlarge the bottom openings and trim the rotation tabs on all five turrets before they would settle in.

Assembling the 75mm turret can be tricky since there aren't any alignment pins. Also, the main gun mantlet (B19) had a nasty sink mark that required careful filling. Alternate parts for a longer 75mm gun are included but not used; perhaps another T-35 variant will be offered.

The parts for the driver's hatch were only partially formed in my kit. I measured the opening and made replacements from sheet plastic.

Building the tracks and suspension was time-consuming. The eight bogie trucks are well detailed; they have four springs and four wheels per unit. Some of the parts had minor flash, and the bogie units had a few sink marks, but since they would be hidden by the side skirts, I didn't fill them. The tracks are nicely detailed and assembled easily, but some of the track-guide horns had shallow sink marks. Unless you have time to correct more than 350 links, I'd forget about it!

The kit scales out nicely compared to my references, and captures the look of the mid-production model T-35. The slates on the kit's armored engine cover are even with the cover's top edge, although most photos show them rising above the edge.

Referring to Soviet Tanks and Combat Vehicles of World War II by Steven Zaloga and James Grandsen, I painted my model with various shades of green Polly Scale paint. The decals were missing from my kit, so I hand painted the tactical markings and stars with Polly Scale.

The model required 46 hours to build, and because of the number of parts, I'll recommend the kit to experienced modelers. I'm impressed with the finished model - it dwarfs everything else in my World War II collection!

- Jim Zeske

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