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Shar2

T-54-3 Soviet Medium Tank (37007) 1:35

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T-54-3 Soviet Medium Tank

MiniArt 1:35

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The T-54's gestation and transformation into the T-55 was long-winded and complicated by constant changes to an as yet unsatisfactory performing vehicle.  Production of the T-54-1 was halted due to production and quality issues, and an amalgamation of all the alterations were incorporated into the re-designed T-54-2, which saw the fender machine guns removed and replaced by a more modern bow-mounted single gun, the tracks widened, and the turret design changed to closer resemble the eventual domed shape of the T-55.  The -2 didn't last all that long before the -3 replaced it, eliminating the shot-traps on the turret sides, but retaining the more modern gun and sighting improvements that had been made to the dash-2 toward the end of production.

 

The Model

We reviewed the T-54-1 here and the T-54-2 here recently, and, as with the two earlier kits there are a lot of similarities but quite a few new parts as well. As with MiniArt kits with interiors there are a lot of sprues, seventy threer in this case, yes you read that correctly, seventy three sprues of grey styrene, plus two of clear, two sheets of etched brass and a smallish decal sheet.

 

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Construction is almost identical to the earlier releases, but this kit sees the return of the full engine, which is a beautiful model in its own right, and consisting of forty two parts if you include the engine mounting cradle. The lower hull is then fitted out with a multitude of parts that include the torsion beam suspension, multi part axles, gearbox covers, interior escape hatch and PE beam covers.  The interior is then built up from the fighting compartment floor and includes all the pipe work, seats fire bottles, steering mechanism and internal bulkheads. The interior and exterior of the sidewalls are also covered with detail, including the large racks of shells for the main gun, with additional shells stored around the fighting compartment.

 

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The detailed sidewalls are then glued into place, as is the engine assembly, engine compartment firewall and other ancillary equipment. The upper glacis plate is then fitted as are the three piece road wheels, drive sprocket and idlers. The turret ring assembly is the attached, followed by the rear bulkhead, each fitted with more detail parts. The engine deck is then built up and the separate hatches are able to be posed open or closed as per the modellers wishes. The deck is topped off with PE grilles in their frames and the large hinge for the main hatch. The tracks are of individual link type, with ninety links per side, and it will be a case of assembling it like a link and length style, gluing each link together before draping them over the road wheels.

 

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The fenders are fitted with stowage boxes , fuel tanks and spare track links plus front and rear mudguards before being glued into position. The two fuel drums mounted to the rear of the tank are assembled and glued into their mounting frames, as is the unditching beam and the pipework for the fender fuel tanks. The turret is a new moulding, but has as much, if not more detail added, including the full main gun breech, radios, training motors, seats, hand cranks, and other equipment. The coax machine gun is also beautifully detailed, consisting of fifteen parts. Ready use shells are added to the inside of the upper turret along with a multitude of brackets and clamps.  The turret roof comes complete with all the periscopes and hatch details for the commander and gunner positions, a highly detailed Dushka (DsHK) 14.5mm heavy machine gun, and rolled up tarpaulin. The single piece main barrel is glued into the breech, and fitted with a choice of two mantlet covers.  Finally the driver's "hood" that fits over his hatch for inclement weather operations can be posed stowed or in place.  If you are stowing it, there are some PE straps to tie things down on the bustle. The turret assembly is then fitted to the hull, completing the build.

 

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Decals

The decal sheet gives the modeller five options. The decals are beautifully printed, are clear and in good register with a slightly matt finish. The options are:-

 

  • T-54-3 of the 2nd Guards Mechanised Division of the Soviet Army, Budapest, Hungary, 24th - 30th October 1956
  • T-54-3 of the 1st Armoured Division of the National Peoples Army of the GDR, Command Staff exercises of the NVA, GDR and Soviet Army, 1961
  • T-54-3 of the 23rd Guards Taman Motorised Rifle Division of the Soviet Army, beginning of the 1960’s
  • T-54-3 of the 23RD Taman Guards Motorised Rifle Division of the Soviet Army in the Winter of 1962
  • T-54-3 of the Army of the Republic of Iraq, Baghdad, February 1963

 

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Conclusion

MiniArt really are cranking these tanks out, forming a complete collection of T-54’s.  With the full interior, these kits really aren’t for the beginner and will, probably be built by the real enthusiasts for these vehicles. They will require plenty of time and patience to build and, particularly, paint, but it will be well worth it at the end. Releases without interiors have also been issued, for those modellers who don’t really require a full interior.

 

 

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Review sample courtesy of Miniart - Distibuted in the UK By Creative Models

 

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This is fantastic, Miniart has really come out with great subjects and details that are phenomenal. 

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