It finally came... after 2 1/2 weeks, package was a little beat up due to "Homemade" shipping box, but every thing was there. Personally I'm glad I don't have to ship it back due to lost pieces... 5 week round trip, no thank you...
About this creation
The real "Rudy" featured on the Polish TV show "Four Tankmen and a Dog"
The Rudy as seen in my World of Tanks garage
Action shot revealing the 2 opening turret hatches, the opening rear engine hatch, the opening driver viewport, the elevating/depressing gun, and the four crew with their dog.
What is in the box?
- 500+ Pieces to build T-34/85 "Rudy"
- 4 Minifigures
- 1 Minidogure (1 Dog? 1 Minifigure Dog?)
- A pistol and binoculars
Now, about the tank:
This kit took about an hour longer than the Tiger 131 to build, about 3 hours, this was due to this kit involving much more "Skilled" techniques than the Tiger, which is just a box. The turret jumps between 4 studs wide base, and 5 wide. The hull is 8 wide, but the Drive and Idler wheel mounts are 9 wide. And various tiny, annoying, but needed pieces for the slope mountings. On top of this the buyer actually has to build the chains on the back of the turret as they are not like Lego and pre-made. And the tarp on the rear of the turret has to be wrapped a certain way, very tightly or the chains will not connect to the turret roof (In my case I just cut about an inch off of the tarp, same effect, easier to mount.) As such this was an enjoyable build, and an intriguing one as well.
Cobi has released more than 6 different "T-34" kits over the years, each one slightly better than the last, but only recently did they actually make one with 5 roadwheels, I almost jumped on it but the rear slope stopped at a vertical... everybody who knows anything about a T-34 knows the angled hull wraps the tank, no verticals. The other thing that kept me from buying was the drive wheel and idler were the same size, which just is not the case. Finally they're T-34/76 turrets were off looking, and their T-34/85 turrets were even worse... Until now. It took Cobi 6+ different tries, but they finally managed to capture the T-34/76 (They have a "Rudy" in T-34/76 Version as well) and the T-34/85 look pretty good enough to warrant my purchase.
Now I don't buy these kits just because they look the part, they are supposed to be tough for play as well, and once again Cobi delivers... And if someone is curious, yes that IS rubber on the Drive and Idler wheels, I thought maybe it was a plastic snap on that might come loose, but I was wrong, they are green tires that fit very snugly onto the wheels. The mounting of the Drive and Idler is extremely specific, and if mounted wrong your tracks probably wont roll as smoothly as they could... Be sure to really look at the booklet closely when you get to that point.
I made minimal modifications to the tank...
1 - I cut an inch off of the tarp as to be able to fit it within the chains...
2 - I swapped the places of the 2x2 Flat Plate with drivers hatch print with the 2x2 plate which was wrapped with "Rivets"... This puts the Machine Gun at the far right of the front plate, and the Drivers hatch at the far left instead of being in the middle, as per the real tank...
I like the kit... Of course I say this about all of them because hey, its a fairly cheap kit, but a quality kit as well. One thing I don't like is the front plate track mountings, there should be another track pad in between them as per T-34/85 spare track mountings, but there is not. Another thing I don't like is the track guards are free to flow, the other Cobi kits I have have so sort of built in 'Stop' to keep the track guards from falling into the track and stopping the track. This kit does not have them, but the mountings are fairly stiff. Last thing I don't like about it is it has insane gun depression, like 15+ degrees, the real tank had nowhere near that but as a playability feature it is nice.
(The Insane gun depression in question... good thing Cobi doesn't balance World of Tanks...)
Now things that I really enjoy about the kit, It has a flat bottom... The bottom of the hull, and Idler/Drive mounts are flush meaning no annoying jagged jump in brick height from the idler/drive to the roadwheel mounts. This hasn't caused a problem before, but it just looks bad in my opinion. I never brought it up because it doesn't cause a problem. I love that the front plate does have a viewport that you can open, I really expected the front plate to be one solid plate. Likewise If you remove the turret, and flip up the front plate there is enough room to place a figure in the hull as well as the two turret openings. Speaking of hatches, it has an engine hatch, with an engine in it... the Tiger 131 did not have that feature. Of course I already made mention about how I liked the shaping, and the gun depression is useful in times of play. But one more thing I have to appreciate is the fact that the Idler, Driver, and Roadwheels do NOT have a toothed gearwheel anywhere, the track is completely free to run around the wheels with no resistance from having to turn a geared drive sprocket wheel. This allows the tank to run very fast without worry.
All said, I give it a solid 8/10, its not as good as the Tiger 131 in terms of appearance, but the T-34/85 was never known for being pretty either. Rather it is a very good, their best, attempt at capturing the angles, and complex turret curves. The tank rolls very smoothly. And it incorporates more features than I thought. Once again, its worth the money... The kit was $32.00 and shipping from Poland was around $27.00... so being that this is originally a $32.00 kit, its a pretty good buy. Plus it's Limited Edition, who doesn't love Limited Edition stuff...
If you want an affordable T-34/85 that looks the part and you can play with, Buy it.
*Insert fancy ending featuring World of Tanks artwork and pun about "Not being rude" Here*