T-55 Mod. 1963 - First Look
Trying to write a history of the T-55 is something best left to authors of far more knowledge than I. Suffice it to say that it is generally considered the most produced tank in history with production numbers listed as high as 100,000. In addition, the T-54/55 series is also the longest serving operational tank with well over 60 years of active service. It is still in widespread use around the world and in active combat at the time of this writing. By any measure, it is a remarkable tank.
So it’s only appropriate that an equally remarkable kit would be produced of this tank. MiniArt has been producing a whole series of kits of the T-44/54/55 series. In many ways, this is their crowning achievement.
When you open the box of this model, you simply say 'wow'. The box is stuffed with plastic!
Though I didn’t personally count, I have read on the instructions that there are 1284 parts in this kit and a quick look at the sprues will confirm that the part count is super high. So if you’re looking for a simple, quick build, this kit isn’t for you.
But, if you want a knock your socks off super detailed build of a T-55 with a nearly complete interior, you’ve just found your happy place.
This model provides a nearly fully interior, with only the transmission not being included. In addition, the kit has a few options such as alternate fuel tanks and options for tanks with the mine roller system mounted or not.
Before looking at the sprues, it’s worth commenting on the instructions. With such a high part count, it’s critical that the instructions be clear and logical. MiniArt delivers. Assembly is broken into 104 steps covering 24 pages. Each step is printed crystal clear with part call outs as just as importantly, color call outs. The color call out table provides paint numbers for Vallejo, Humbrol, Mr. Color, Testors, and Ammo Mig paints so the modeler should have no problem picking the paints they need. That’s a very nice touch.
In addition, the instructions provide information and decals for the 11 variants. The instructions have what looks like photos of the actual, completed, model in all of the markings. My only complaint is that there are only a right side and front view provided for each variant with a couple having either a top or review view. This isn’t a big deal for the 8 variants that have a single color (tan or green). But for the three that have camo schemes (Egyptian, Cuban, and Syrian) the modeler will have to use their best judgement on how the camo looks for the other sides.
As for the sprues, I didn’t not see any flash or molding problems. In addition, MiniArt is using knock out pins so I also did not see any pin marks on the parts. This is super important in a kit with an interior since almost all of the parts can be viewed from most sides. Beyond that, the moldings are crisp with super fine detail on the parts.
Here’s a look at the sprues:
Obviously, the bulk of the part count can be attributed to the interior. But there are also some external items that are high in part count to provide a level of detail beyond what can be seen in other offerings. A simple example is the engine deck grill. Normally these are a simple part with the cross braces molded to the frame. But in this kit, the braces are provided in photoetch for finer detail so the part count goes up to 10+. As I mentioned before, if you don’t want to build a complex kit, then look elsewhere. But if you do want a model that’ll leave you breathless in its detail, things like this are just awesome. This theme is continued throughout the kit with items like individual link tracks and photoetch straps for the fuel tanks and even the tarp on the back of the turret.
So if it seems like I’m gushing over this model, its because I am. I’ve built a lot of models from a lot of companies and this model is truly special and unique. If you’re looking to sink your teeth into a complex and comprehensive project, then this is the kit for you.
Highly Recommended for advanced modelers.
My sincere thanks to MiniArt for the review sample.
Reviewed by Jim Wechsler, SoCal AMPS
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