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T-55 by Tamiya

The Definitive Kit of the Cold War Armour Classic is Here

n by Brandon Hopkins

About 12 years ago, I watched a movie called The Beast. In its most basic description, itís a movie about the fall of a Russian tank crew in the Russian/Afghan war in the 1980ís. The tank that the crew was in was a T-55. I think itís safe to say that I fell in love with that tank after watching the movie, at least as much in love with a tank as a young man can be. Soon after I watched the movie, I went to a local hobby shop, and saw an old ESCI T-55 tank model. I had to have it. It went together fairly well, although, I didnít know it at the time, the proportions were way off and the kit itself was pretty bad. But hey, I was young, what did I know?

Time passed, and I forgot how bad the kit was. This past year, Tamiya released an all-new T-55 kit, and my interest in the tank was renewed. I highly anticipated the kit and when it came out I bought one as soon as possible from a Japanese source.

In the box

By now, much has been written about the kit itself, so for me to write a review wouldnít really do much good. I can say is that the kit went together with the usual Tamiya expectations, meaning that it pretty much goes together as easily as adding glue to the box and shaking it up a little.

A few improvements

I did add some Fruilmodel metal tracks to the kit to give them a realistic sag (in the in-progress picture the model still has the kit rubber tracks), as well as a few bits from an Eduard photoetch detail set here and there. This set was originally designed for the old ESCI kit.

I also added some wire to simulate the fuel hoses on the right side. Other than that, it was straight from the box. The kit went together without any problems whatsoever as far as basic construction goes.

Painting and weathering

When I painted my T-55, I screwed up pretty bad and actually painted it in the wrong colour. It turned out more of a light green, so I had to re-paint the entire model in the dark green that it was supposed to be.

 After a new coat of paint, and a lot of weathering, it started looking like a cold-war Soviet tank should look.

 Washes, some airbrushed Ďdustí, and pastel weathering brought out the final look of the T-55.

The base

With the weathering completed all that was really missing was a setting, so I figured a muddy base would compliment the tank nicely.

The groundwork consists of a simple wooden base covered with Celluclay and finished with acrylic paints. Itís so basic that I donít think it needs much more info.


I donít really have much else to say on this project. As a side note I can say that I entered my model in the 2003 Tamiyacon in Aliso Viejo, CA. Against all my wildest hopes I actually came home with the first place trophy in my category, something Iím still pretty happy about.

Please enjoy my pictures of this model, and if you choose to build Tamiya's T-55 Iím sure you wonít be disappointed.

Additional model images, click to enlarge


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