The T-35 was deemed obsolete by the time Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. A handful participated in the first few weeks of combat but most broke down before ever reaching the front. There are number of excellent T-35 builds out there but I wanted to do something different. I chose to depict a veteran tank that went thru some upgrades to armor and main gun.
The base kit is the Zvezda (Star) T-35 from 2016. It’s the most dimensionally accurate T-35 with pretty decent detail and logical parts breakdown. However the quality just isn’t up there for 2016 kit. Very few alignment features, loose fit, flash, and a plastic that just felt cheep. The one piece upper hull was severely warped too. It was like building an armor kit from the early 90s in some ways. Not a great impression for my first Zvezda kit though I hear their more recent models (from 2018 on up) are superior kits for the price.
I followed the kit instructions for the most part. The only major change was cutting off the kit fenders and scratch building new ones. I used the Zvezda kit specific PE set to add brackets, tool clamps, intake screens and a few other minor items. I also had the Magic Models turned barrel set for the T-35 but it must have been for another kit as none of the barrels fit the kit parts even with minor surgery so I was forced to use the kit barrels. I replaced the kit tracks with a Fruil metal track set. I used straight pins to connect the links.
The 85mm F39 barrel was designed in 3D CAD and printed by Shapeways. They really need to step up their game because the print quality was not as good as some home printers. The appliqué armor applied to the turrets was created with sheet styrene and modeled after designs for the T-28 and T-26. Appliqué armor plates were also added to the fighting compartment where possible. Welds were created with epoxy putty.
The model was given a good coat of primer and any defects were cleaned up. Next it was airbrushed with a mottled custom mix 4BO. Markings were hand cut masks and airbrushed over a layer of HS to add some light wear. A wash and filters were applied to accents details and break up those large side panels.
The model was chipped over the course of several nights. The huge model was a challenge to handle trying to do such delicate work. I then started the oil paint work to add additional grime and effects. The dust work started with pigments applied dry and set first with thinner then pigment fixer. Additional oil paints were used for more specific dust and grime effects. I was trying to replicate the dust seen in two views of a T-35 captured by the Germans.
The figure is from Alpine. It was painted with Vallejo acrylics.
Overall I’m pretty happy with how this turned out. I could have gone heavier with the scrapes on the side panels but I was just ready to move on.