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Chinese Type 59 Medium Tank. 1:35


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Chinese Type 59 Medium Tank

MiniArt 1:35



Obviously, the Type 59 was a faithful reproduction of the Soviet Type 54A, internally and externally, although the Chinese did make some modifications. It was simplified in design, without the characteristic IR searchlight and main gun stabilization system. The hull was welded with some 99 mm of armour thickness on fht front slope, and 100 mm for the front turret armour, which had the characteristic decrease in thickness from the base to the top, according to ballistic penetration calculations. The turret floor was non-rotating. The driver, loader, commander and gunner positions were unchanged.


Main armament was the 100 mm Type 59 tank gun, a copy of the original D-10TG with its characteristic muzzle fume extractor, with 34 rounds in store, mainly into the hull. Secondary armament comprised a coaxial Type 59T 7.62 mm machine gun, a bow MG manned by the driver from inside the central glacis (3500 rounds in store), and the anti-aircraft heavy machine gun Type 54 12.7 mm over the loader’s hatch, apparently also a copy of the DShKM, with 200 rounds in store. The engine was the Model 12150L V-12 liquid cooled diesel, giving 520 hp at 2000 rpm. The overall weight was also equivalent to the T-54A and road range was about 600 kilometres, with the rear external fuel tanks. These tanks, were upgraded several times throughout their career which lasted from 1959 till 1985.


The Model

Having reviewed the T-54A here MiniArt are now releasing the various derivatives and those used by other countries. As with earlier kits there are a lot of similarities but quite a few new parts as well. Although not having as many sprues as those kits with interiors, the box is still stuffed full of sprues. On opening you are greeted by a mass of sprues, many of them quite small because of the tooling's modular nature, with quite a few parts going unused for this boxing. The mass of sprues fill up just about all the space in the box, leaving only room for air between the sprues, anyone familiar with the old Krypton Factor will realise getting all this back in the box is one of life’s little challenges!

Construction is almost identical to the earlier releases, The lower hull then fitted out with a multitude of parts that include the torsion beam suspension, multi part axles, gearbox covers, and interior escape hatch plus PE beam covers. 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, but since this kit doesn’t have an interior there seems little point unless you have purchased the separate engine kit which is available. 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.




























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 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, consisting of twenty nine parts, and rolled up tarpaulin. The single piece main barrel is glued into the breech, and fitted with the mantlet cover.  There aren’t as many grab handles fitted to the outside of the turret on this version, or brackets and clamps. Finally the driver's wet weather cover, that fits over his hatch 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.



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


  • Type 59, No.308 of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army currently still in service.
  • Type 59, of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, used during the Iran – Iraq war in the early 1980’s
  • Type 59, of the Albanian Army, used on the border area with Kosovo, April 1999
  • Type 59, No.503 of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army currently still in service.
  • Type 59, No.408 of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army currently still in service.
  • Type 59, No.852 of the 201st tank regiment, Viet Cong, on the 17th Parallel, March 1972
  • Type 59, No.808, of the 108th Tank Regiment, 43rd Army Corps of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army during the the Sino-Vietnamese War, February 1979.





MiniArt’s march through the various T-54 and T-55 variants continues apace with this release. Being without the mega amount of parts found in the interior kits, this is definitely more suited to the intermediate modeller, or those who just don’t want interiors to their models. It’s still a great looking kit and with the decal options available for a number of different coutries something different for the collection.



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


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