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Revell Germany T-55A/AM

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/72 scale plastic model armor tank kit
The T-55 has outlasted its rivals by many years, with the T-55 still in use from Sierra Leone to Vietnam. Revell Germany’s kit features a color instruction sheet for two versions — the basic and one of the upgrades with antiradiation armor — plus markings for four vehicles: one Soviet, two Warsaw Pact, and one Vietnamese. Link-and-length tracks have the sag molded in.

You need to decide on version/country before you start to build. I chose the Vietnam People’s Army version seen in Pleiku in 2015.

Assembly starts with the multipiece hull bottom. Fit problems here were due to holes in the road wheels being undersized for the axles. But when I opened up the wheel, it wobbled because the inner detail does not support the axle. My solution for the alignment/wobble issue was to use a 6-inch steel ruler as a jig to keep all wheels straight.

The hull bottom and wheels are painted Tamiya khaki drab (XF-51) mixed with 20% Tamiya XF-2 flat white; road-wheel tires are Tamiya NATO black (XF-69); and the tracks are Tamiya dark iron (XF-84) with silver pencil to highlight the track cleats. Revell Germany not only molded the sag in the upper lengths but the proper bend in the short lengths going around the sprocket and idler.

I assembled the hull top, with its fuel tanks and storage boxes, and filled the fender bottom holes before fitting to the hull bottom. The rear fuel tanks look a bit over-scale, and the drum seam was hard to clean up without removing detail. I painted the unditching log Panzer Aces new wood before installing it at the hull rear along with the snorkel. (Note: The logs were also painted the hull color in some armies.) The two-part tow cables were painted Tamiya gunmetal (X-10) before I installed them on the right side of the hull with the seam between the two parts filled in.

I had some problems on the turret; with the grab handles being thick and the attachment points shallow, they wanted to roll over. I painted the turret with the previously-mixed khaki drab; the gun cover is painted Model Color khaki gray. I assembled and painted the anti-aircraft machine gunmetal before installing it.

A coat of Testors Metalizer sealer preceded the decals. Once they had dried, a flat coat and pastels brought out the detail on the model.

I spent 10 hours building and painting this little jewel. Hopefully, given the way the mold is broken down, there will be other versions produced. At such a low price, you can build T-55s for many other nations.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the September 2017 issue.
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