If ever there was a kit that just had to be built then this was it for me. From the minute i had it in my hands i simply could not put it down until it was finished a mere ten days later, that should tell you something about it right there. The kit in question is the Premium Edition Dragon T34/85 with "bedspring armor" #6266 and this is my build log from start to finish.The kit itself is typical of what we have come to expect from Dragon's Premium kits, it include's two PE frets, an aluminum barrel and magic tracks just to mention a few items found inside.
Steps 1 to 5
consists of the wheels, lower hull and suspension and are pretty straight forward and presented no problems except for a little clean up here and there mainly on the road wheels which have 4 heavy connection points to each one.
requires you to remove the molded on squared front fenders and replace them with a set of plastic rounded ones, i would strongly advise to take care here not to remove anymore than you have to because this could result in the new fenders being out of position and not seating correctly on the lower hull. I had this problem and to fix this i sanded the lower hull where the fenders seat.
gets us moving on to the upper hull but before that we must get the tracks on, i always install my tracks and paint them on the vehicle. The magic tracks went together perfectly without any problems, i simply laid out two long runs then using a small brush and testors liquid cement put the tip of the brush in the center of the track and let it pull the glue. After giving the two pieces of track about 30 minutes to dry i fed it around the wheels and glued it on. Moving on to the upper hull now and the engine grills which i cut out and replaced with the PE ones, no problems here but make sure to cut out inside the molded on grill and sand the frame flush you need this lip to sit the PE one's on. The PE louvers also get fitted now and here is another thing to watch for the flat plate holding them is too large and creates a gap when the cover sits on top so these will need to filed to fix this also remove the molded on bolts so this plate sits flush. To finish up step 7 the PE brackets for the front fenders and the four long intake grills were fitted i used the kit supplied ones for this as the PE versions were oversized and did not fit.
Steps 8 and 9
continues on with the upper front hull which went well with no major problems except for the hull mg, the cap that traps the ball to allow the gun to be movable did not fit at all and after about ten minutes of trying i just decided i really didnt want it movable anyway and glued it in place.
this is nothing more than the exhausts and covers, now here you have a choice Dragons new slide molded ones which are a tad long or the two piece ones which are the correct length i went the new ones.
Step 11 and 12
consist of the external fuel tanks which i will not be using because of the bedspring armor so i skipped this step and the handles and hatch on the engine deck and rear access hatch, i also filled in the holes where the fuel tanks would go.
consists of removing the plastic handles for the straps which hold down the ice cleats and replacing them with PE ones, now i knew i wouldnt be using the ice cleats because of the bedspring armor but i still put the handles and straps on for visual effect.
Steps 14 and 15
finish up the details of the upper hull all except the bedspring armor which will be added after the basecoat and decals are done, everything goes on well through these stages there is a little pe work on the tool box and a nice kit supplied tow cable.
steps 16 to 21
are the turret assembly which goes together beautifully with any problems except if you chose to use the aluminum barrel which i did i found it to be a little small for the hole so i filled the hole with glasing putty and inserted the barrel then let it dry making sure it was straight the cleaned up around the hole and dropped in a little thin CA glue and it was good to go. I also added at this point what i then believed to be weld beads but now know to be cast seams around the turret using masking tape and glasing putty.
At this point i assembled all the bedsprings and got them ready for painting along with the finished tank.