T-34/122 with Mine Roller

 

The T-34/122 is a what-if model based on factory proposal drawings from 1942. One of the proposals was putting a U-11 122mm howitzer in a new turret for the T-34. The concept never went beyond the drawing phase and was cancelled.

There were two different turret options drawn up at the time, D-11 and U-11. The D-11 looked similar to the KV-2 turret with tall slab sides. Adam Wilder released a resin conversion of this design several years ago. The other design option had tapered sides and looked more like a taller T-34/85 turret . Since Adam had done such an amazing job with his conversion and there were a couple of really nice builds already, I decided to try my hand at the U-11 version.

 

When I started the project, I didn't have a T-34/76 but a T-34/85 that was gifted by Alex Zarester. I decided to use this kit as my base and design the turret with later 1944 styling.  A heavy cast texture with prominent seam, welded lifting rings, pistol parts, grab handles and a commander's copula. The copula has a mixture of styles and is part T-34 and part JS-2. This turret is purely fictional, by this time in the war, mounting a 12mm howitzer was a useless pursuit but I liked the look and it was something different.

I designed all the unique parts in 3D CAD and had them printed by Billie Jean at Panzer Concepts. For the barrel I used an Aber 122mm barrel designed for the Miniart SU-122 kit.

The T-34/85 kit was partially started by Alex and fortunately he has done most of the tedious clean up and assembly work on the road wheel s and lower hull. He did a really nice job so moving forward was pretty straightforward.

I used a Royal Model PE and Resin set to detail the base kit. The tracks are Fruil. A Eureka tow cable was added on the sides.

To make things even more interesting, I wanted to add a mine roller to the front. You just don't see many of these built as kits. I was discussing kit options for the mine roller (there aren't many) with Stephen Reid and found out about the long OOP MB Models resin and white metal conversion kit. While I was searching eBay and forum sale listings,  Stephen contacted his friend Chuck Willis who had built one in the past to ask pointers about the build. Chuck not only had pointers to offer, but he also graciously gifted me another copy of the MB kit he had in his stash! I could not believe it!

The MB kit was a bit rough. It's an early 90's garage kit and we've come a long way. Giant casting lugs on the resin parts and flash on every white metal part. There isn't a lot a reference available on these early mine rollers, so accuracy is questionable. But hey, it was a good foundation to start with and I'm thankful to have this long OOP kit. Cleanup was exhausting. Each cleat had a mold seam on all faces so I had to use small needle files to clean each one up. You think cleaning up plastic indy links are bad. Pfft! I rebuilt the "Y" frame from styrene as the resin one was way out of whack. I also added some missing details like bolts, chains, and torch cut marks.

After the model had been assembled and primered, I lost all interest so it sat for almost two years on the shelf. Finally, I dusted it off, finished up the last of the details and shot some paint onto the kit.

The model is painted with Tamiya acrylics. I used the modulation technique to add some shadows and highlights to the large panels for some interest. The markings are from Eduard masks.  The model was weathered with oils, enamels and pigments. I made extensive use of the speckle technique to add the various effects. The most challenging thing was weathering the mine rollers. There are only a few grainy B/W period  photos of these mine rollers so I had to use photos of modern mine rollers as inspiration on how to treat these disks.

And again a big thank you to Billie, Alex, Stephen and Chuck!

 

Here are some reference and progress images. Note height and mantle difference with standard T-34/85.

 

Model with primer and ready to go... sit on a shelf for two years.