T-34/76 m/1941 Sotka

Kit:Dragon, 1/72 (m/1942 model); bought for $11.95 in 2010. Model finished on 2021-01-18.
Aircraft:"Ps.231-1", Finnish Army, April-May 1944 tank trials.
T-34/76 m/1941 Sotka in 1/72

T-34/76 m/1941 Sotka in 1/72

T-34/76 m/1941 Sotka in 1/72

T-34/76 m/1941 Sotka in 1/72

T-34/76 m/1941 Sotka in 1/72

T-34/76 m/1941 Sotka

Ps.231-1 in Lappeenranta in April 1944 (sa-kuva.fi)

The T-34 is arguably the most famous Russian tank ever built. The Finnish Army captured several of these (various versions) during the 1941-1944 so-called "Continuation War". This model represents one such vehicle, serialled "Ps.231-1", during the tank trials that took place in Lappeenranta in April 1944 and in Äänislinna in May 1944. It was captured in 1943. The vehicle is now preserved at the Finnish Armor Museum.

What is a "sotka"?

The Finnish troops used the nickname "sotka" for their T-34s. What is that? The term is the traditional (historical) name for the common goldeneye. In modern Finnish this bird is called "telkkä", but in the epic Finnish poetry collection "Kalevala", this bird plays a pivotal role in the creation of the world: it lays six golden eggs and one iron egg, and when they break the world is created from the pieces.

T-34/76 m/1941 Sotka in 1/72

Cutting out the mudguards

T-34/76 m/1941 Sotka in 1/72

Drilling out the wheels

Construction Notes

I chose this one for the 2020-2021 Barracuda Studios' "Speed Build Challenge" and (foolishly) thought I would simply "back-date" the Dragon m/1942 model into the m/1941 configuration. This turned out to be not so simple. I had the replacement turret in my spares box, but the modifications involved a lot of scratch-building and modifications, including:

  • New hatches (driver's hatch and engine inspection hatch in the rear)
  • New stowage boxes on both sides
  • Some new wheels (also from spares box); existing wheels also needed a lot of holes to be drilled out
  • Radiator grille
  • Gun barrel and muzzle
  • Headlight covers, exhaust pipes, antenna base (the specific vehicle did not have the actual antenna installed), various handles, etc.
  • Finnish T-34s did not have curved mudguards, so those had to be cut out

Most of these were built from Evergreen styrene stock. New exhaust pipes came from Albion Alloys' brass tube, and turret handles (on top) were made from thin brass wire.

I painted the tank with Hataka lacquers and Tamiya acrylics. Masking was done using masking tape, some of which had to be specifically cut using my Cricut computer-controlled cutter because of the intricate camouflage patterns. The model was finished with Future floor wax and Testors' Dullcote. The decals came from the Star Decals' sheet of various Finnish T-34s.

Luckily I had lots of photographs of this specific vehicle, both original 1944 pictures from the wonderful Finnish Defense Forces' photo site sa-kuva.fi as well as pictures I took at the Finnish Armor Museum a few years back.

T-34/76 m/1941 Sotka in 1/72

Scratch-built parts are all white in this photo

T-34/76 m/1941 Sotka in 1/72

Painting the wheels

T-34/76 m/1941 Sotka in 1/72

Gluing on the tracks, ensuring proper sag

T-34/76 m/1941 Sotka in 1/72

Ps.231-1 at the Finnish Armor Museum

References Used

  1. IPMS Mallari (IPMS Finland journal) #11 (1974)
  2. my reference photos taken at the Finnish Armor Museum in June 2012
  3. photos from sa-kuva.fi
  4. Soviet Tanks in Combat 1941-1945 - The T-28, T-34, T-34-85 and T-44 Medium Tanks (Zaloga et al); Armor at War Series 7011; Concord Publications 2002
  5. T-34 vs StuG III - Finland 1944 (Zaloga); Osprey Duel 96; Osprey 2019

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