AMPS is all about armor modeling and the preservation of armor and mechanized heritage.

Pen and Sword - T-34 Russia's Armoured Spearhead

ISBN Number:
Saturday, July 14, 2018
Pen and Sword Books
Retail Price:
Reviewed By:
Danny Egan

Pen and Sword - T-34 Russia's Armoured Spearhead



Pen and Sword recently launched the "Tank Craft" series. This interesting concept combines historical background/development, technical description, operational history, color plates, model reviews and built models all in one book.

It's an interesting idea, and comes at a very affordable price. I think the concept is sound. However, the execution is lacking. With this particular volume, on the Soviet T-34, we have numerous errors, odd organization, mediocre color plates, uneven models,  and uneven kit reviews. It makes for a package that modelers should probably avoid. The title is also poorly worded; the T-34 was of course a Soviet design, not 'Russian'.  

The book is 64 pages, 8.3 X 11.5 inches, of high quality paper. There are over 200 illustrations, including black and white photos of real T-34s andother tanks, color model photos, kit photos and color plates. 

As one would expect, the first few chapters introduce the subject and describe the design of the T-34. However, the book then digresses into scale models, T-34-related model products and kit reviews, before returning to the T-34 operational history, the T-34-85, and some postwar history. 

Some of the technical development history is great, reaching all the way back to the MS-1 (T-18) shown here. 


 However, we also have misidentifications. 

There are some nice details such as this engine photo. 


A typical set of pages, with text and multiple photos. 




The color plates are OK, although they show a few features that are not present on real T-34s. 



Presumably, the models shown in the book are intended as good examples of well-researched, well-built T-34 models. This 1/16 scale T-34 from Factory 112 is a pretty good example. We could argue about the driver's hatch interior color, but overall it is a good model.  


This 1/35th ICM T-34 hex turret is also a good, if not advanced level, example. Better kits are available for this subject, but the text does not tell us that. 



This 1/35th T-34 Model 41 has several major errors including missing armor parts on the turret, (the part-locating slots are visible on either side of the gun mount), missing tie-down brackets on the rear-deck cover (provided in the kit) and missing ribs on the engine-deck mesh (provided in any PE set). The markings are also incorrect for this vehicle type. Beginners or modelers not familiar with T-34s would be advised to stay away from this example.  


The kit reviews include a few newer kits as well as some very old kits. I find reviews of older kits very useful since I like building them, but, these reviews are free of any truly informative content. The text below gives a pretty good flavor for what is there; a modeler looking for a recommendation on kits to seek or avoid will be disappointed, if not misled.  







Pros: Really interesting concept to combine historical, technical and modeling content in one book. Nicely illustrated. 

Cons: Numerous inaccuracies; repeats old historical myths; superficial reviews and variable model quality could lead newer modelers astray. Combined, this makes it a poor resource for a T-34 model builder. 

Not Recommended 

Thanks goes out to Casemate for this review sample. 

Reviewed by Danny Egan


If you liked this review, consider joining AMPS. Your annual membership
includes six copies of AMPS's magazine, Boresight,
and helps to support our ongoing reviews.

Click here for more information about joining AMPS