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Russian T-54B. 1:35


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Russian T-54B
Takom 1:35


boxart.jpg


History
The T-54 and T-55 tanks are a series of Soviet main battle tanks introduced just as the Second World War ended. The first T-54 prototype appeared in March 1945 and entered full production in 1947. It became the main tank for armoured units of the Soviet Army, armies of the Warsaw Pact countries, and many others. T-54s and T-55s were involved in many of the world's armed conflicts during the late 20th century

Production of the initial series of T-54s began slowly as 1,490 modifications were made. The Red Army received a tank that was superior to World War II designs and theoretically better than the newest tanks of potential opponents. The 100 mm gun fired BR-412 series full-calibre APHE ammunition, which had superior penetration capability when compared to the T-34 that it replaced. The serial production version, designated T-54-1, differed from the second T-54 prototype. It had thicker hull armour (80 mm on the sides, 30 mm on the roof and 20 mm on the bottom). As production ramped up, quality problems emerged. Production was stopped and an improved T-54-2 (Ob'yekt 137R) version was designed. Several changes were made and a new turret was fitted. The new dome-shaped turret with flat sides was inspired by the turret from the IS-3 heavy tank; it is similar to the later T-54 turret but with a distinctive overhang at the rear. It also had a shorter bustle. The fender machine guns were removed in favour of a single bow-mounted machine gun. The transmission was modernized and the track was widened to 580 mm. The T-54-2 entered production in 1949, at Stalin Ural Tank Factory No. 183 (Uralvagonzavod). In 1951, a second modernization was made, designated T-54-3 (Ob'yekt 137Sh), which had a new turret without side undercuts, as well as the new TSh-2-22 telescopic gunner's sight instead of the TSh-20. The tank featured the TDA smoke generating system..

In the beginning of the 1950s, the personnel of the OKB-520 design bureau of the Stalin Ural Tank Factory No. 183 (Uralvagonzavod) had been changed considerably. Morozov was replaced by Kolesnikow, who in turn was replaced by Leonid N. Kartsev in March 1953. The first decision of the new designer was to fit the 100 mm D-10T tank gun with the STP-1 "Gorizont" vertical stabilizer. The new tank gun received the designation D-10TG and was fitted into the T-54's turret. The new tank received night vision equipment for the driver and was designated T-54A (Ob'yekt 137G). Originally, this had a small muzzle counter-weight, which was later replaced with a fume extractor. It was equipped with an OPVT wading snorkel, the TSh-2A-22 telescopic sight, TVN-1 infrared driver's periscope and IR headlight, a new R-113 radio, multi-stage engine air filter and radiator controls for improved engine performance, an electrical oil pump, a bilge pump, an automatic fire extinguisher and extra fuel tanks. The tank officially entered production in 1954 and service in 1955. A new version, based on T-54A, designated T-54B (Ob'yekt 137G2), was designed in 1955. It was fitted with a new 100 mm D-10T2S tank gun with STP-2 "Tsyklon" 2-plane stabilizer. It entered production in 1957. During the last four months of production, the new tanks were equipped with an L-2 "Luna" infrared searchlight and TPN-1-22-11 IR gunner's sight, and OU-3 IR commander's searchlight. Modern APFSDS ammunition was developed, dramatically enhancing the penetrative performance of the gun to keep it competitive with NATO armour developments.

The Model
We must be getting pretty close to having every single Russian/Soviet tank type being released in injection moulded plastic. At least this kit fills the gap between the JS tanks and the T-62s, and there werent too many versions of this vehicle when compared with the T-62 series onwards. Contained in a nicely illustrated box are nineteen sprues and two separate parts in grey styrene, a bag of individual track links in the same material, two poly caps, and mantlet dust cover made of a rubberised material, a smallish sheet of etched brass and a small decal sheet, oh and a length of wire. Takom appear to making a reputation for themselves in producing great kits, with a good amount of detail and this one is on exception. The moulding is superb, with no sign of flash or other imperfections, just a few of the usual moulding pips to clean up. The fact that the individual links are already off the sprue and ready to use is an additional plus. I find the instructions are really clear and easy to read, but I understand that some modellers dont like the photo/render style format that Takom use, although Im not sure why that is.

Construction begins with the removal of a number of details fromt eh lower hull section, before the lower glacis plate is attached to the front, the sprocket gear covers to the rear and the idler wheel assemblies to the front. Each idler wheel, actually looks like a modified sprocket, something Ive not noticed before on other tanks, and each on eis made up form seven parts. Each road wheel is made up from two wheels and two separate tyres, which will at least make it easier to paint, whilst the sprockets are just two parts, the inner and outer hubs. The slightly confusing bit is that there are three different styles of suspension arm per side, and up to three parts per arm, so take care when assembling and fitting each arm to ensure you are using the right parts for each particular side.



lowerhull.jpg

turret.jpg

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As stated above, each individual track link is all ready to be used, unfortunately they arent the click together type as seen in Takoms Mk.IV and Mk.V Heavy Tanks. They are easy to fit and glue, but it might be an idea to make up lengths of them to match the point in the track and any associated sag required before joining them up around the sprockets and idlers, you will need around 92 links per side. The upper hull decking is made up of front middle and rear sections, which, when joined together is fitted out with the drivers hatch, PE grilles, six piece headlight cluster, fastening strips, hooks and other sundry items. With the wheels and tracks fitted, the upper hull decking is attached to the lower hull, followed by the rear bulkhead and inner sprocket gearbox fairings.

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Before the track guards are fitted several holes of various diameters need to be drilled out. The starboard guard is then fitted with the various storage boxes, angled support arms, spare fuel tanks, plus the front and rear mudguards. The pioneer tool rack and tools is fitted to the port track guard, along with the barrel cleaning kit tube, and more storage boxes. They are then fitted to the hull and the fuel tanks pipework attached to the appropriate tanks. The rear bulkhead is fitted with the mounting brackets for the two four piece auxiliary fuel drums and the unditching beam.

sprueh.jpg

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The build then moves onto the turret, with the single piece upper section being fitted with the hatch rings, internal co-axial machine gun, various brackets, stowage eyes, sight doors, and hand rails before the gunners hatch, which is made up from no less than twelve parts, is attached, along with a sight. The six piece main gun fitting is the attached to the lower turret ring before the ring is glued to the upper section. The much simpler, (only four parts), commanders hatch is glued into position, as is the rubber mantlet cover, eleven piece searchlight, and twelve piece heavy machine gun. The main gun barrel is made up from two halves split longitudinally, so care to minimise the seam will be required, or wait for an aftermarket company to release a metal barrel, the barrel is fitted in place and finished off with the separate muzzle end piece. The completed turret is then fitted to the hull at which point the build is ready for paint.

sprueq.jpg

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tracks.jpg


Decals
The small decal sheet provides markings for no less than nine different vehicles. The decals are very well printed, in register with good opacity.



decals.jpg

  • Afghanistan, in overall Russian green
  • Egypt 1967, in overall sand yellow
  • Egypt 1973, overall sand yellow with red brown and matt black splotches
  • Iran, overall yellow with red brown splotches
  • Pakistan, in overall yellow with green camouflage.
  • Operation Danube, The Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, in overall Russian green with white stripes on the turret.
  • Syria, along the Sinai Peninsular , overall sand yellow with green and grey camouflage.
  • Vietnam, in overall Russian green
  • Russian, in overall Russian green with a light white distemper over the top.
Conclusion
This is a really nice kit and looks like it will go together without too much hassle or drama. Its not a difficult kit by any means, although the track links may cause some modellers issues, even though they are much nicer than most. It certainly makes a change from the multiple T-62s and T-72s that have been released recently. Very highly recommended.


Review sample courtesy of
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Just a little cross post from what I posted in the Type 69 kit: LINK.

Apart from the lower hull front applique panel, the same comments regarding the hull tub and the wheels apply to this kit as well. However, it's not impossible that a T-54 also received the beefed up forward wheels!

Mike.

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Thanks Dave,

  • Syria, along the Sinai Peninsular , overall sand yellow with green and grey camouflage.

I miss something there.

Must be Golan Heights.

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Yes Dave, as always when dealing with Arab subjects.

There were maybe some air force units left in Egypt in the wake of the United Arab Republic, could have been the same with armoured formations.

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Whatever, the most important thing is that thanks to the Modelling Gods, we have a great choice of T-54/55 family tanks.

The Beast is still alive!

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