bookModelling the T-55 Main Battle Tank
Osprey Modelling 20
By Nicola Cortese, Graeme Davidson & Sam Dwyer
Published by Osprey Publishing.

Soft cover, 80 pages
ISBN 1-84176-900-2

Review by Terry Ashley

Covering a subject as diverse as the T-55 in one 80 page book is quite a daunting task but the three amigos have chosen models that are a little different for a bit of interest while still providing plenty of detail applicable to most T-55s.

As with previous modelling titles this book starts with a brief introduction and rundown on some of the materials and techniques used in building the models which will be useful for general modelling as well as the covered models.

The book covers the construction of four models divided into categories of Intermediate, Advanced and Master but as all models use additional resin, etched and scratch plastic parts to different degrees some modelling experience in these mediums would be beneficial.

Each article has many colour photos of the models during construction showing clearly the inclusion of the aftermarket detail sets as well as many scratch built items in what is basically a step by step visual guide to the building process with photo captions explaining what is happening in the photos as well as detailed text describing the complete building and painting process.

The painting of the finished models follows the same formula with progress pics showing the basic painting of the camouflage schemes with the use of masks where applicable to the weathering process through to the final model as well as the building of scenic vignette bases to better show of the models.

The four models are: (with samples pages from the book)
Osprey Czechoslovakian T-55AM2B (Kladivo)
Modeller/photos: Graeme Davidson
Skill level: Intermediate
Base kit: Tamiya T-55
Scale: 1:35
Additional detailing sets used: CMK Conversion, Modelkasten T-72 tracks,
Tamiya T-72 sprockets, Modelpoint USA barrel, antenna mount, grenade launchers, Grief 4mm Lenses, Evergreen sheet stock, various gauges of copper and lead wire, Apoxie-sculpt, MV lenses
Notes: The many close-up photos show the steps to add the CMK set and other items to the Tamiya kit with the text and photo captions clearly explaining the processes with details such as the fuel tank wiring applicable to every T-55 model. The painting is also covered step by step to show the cam scheme and the weathering for an interesting and nice looking model.

Osprey Knocked-out Iraqi Type 69-11
Modeller/photos: Sam Dwyer
Skill level: Advanced
Base kit: Tamiya
Scale: 1:35
Additional detailing sets used:
Eduard photo-etch
Part photo-etch
Evergreen strip and rod styrene
Finemolds turned aluminium barrel
WW2 Productions tracks
Notes: The article covers converting the better detailed Tamiya kit to the Type 69-11 configuration as well as the addition of the burnt out interior using the CMK engine set and scratched fighting compartment as well as an interesting technique to depict the burst fender fuel tanks due to the fire. The application of the burnt paint effect is also covered with a series of progress photos and again this technique can be used for other projects.

Osprey T-55A, Northern Alliance forces, Afghanistan
Modeller/photos: Nicola Cortsse
Skill level: Master
Base kits: PST Models (72046) T-55 A72046
ACE Models (72156) T-55 A
Scale: 1:72
Additional detailing set sets used:
Part (PT 72114) T-55 photo-etch
MR Models (MR7272) resin replacement T-55 wheels
Kara Models (AC7207) 1/72 T-34 resin engine set
Armo (AR72 743) metal replacement T-55 barrel
Detail Associates brass mesh wire
Plastruct rod and strip
Evergreen Scale Models, sheet stock
Tichy Train Group plastic nuts and bolts, rivets
Notes: Firstly let me remind you this model is 1:72 scale, something that you may loose sight of while looking at the amount of fine details added to the model. The entire exterior is detailed with a new engine deck including a resin engine and separate doors with fine mesh screen as well as the turret receiving additional details and it’s only when you see the photo of the model sitting in the palm of a hand do you fully appreciate it’s not 1:35. Excellent stuff and again it’s a shame to paint the model as it’s more interesting in the unpainted state showing the different mediums used and the details added.

Osprey Bosnian T-55/M-I8 Hellcat hybrid
Modeller/photos: Nicola Cortese
Skill level: Master
Base kits: Tamiya (35257) T-55A Russian Medium Tank
AFV Club (AF35015) M-18 Hellcat
Scale: 1:35
Additional detailing sets used:
Calibre 35 (35021) Resin T-55 engine pack
Modelkasten (SK-S9) T-55 plastic workable tracks
Jordi Rubio (TG-42) 76 mm M-18 Hellcat metal barrel
Eduard (TP043) etch set
Legends Productions (1010) Resin M-18 Hellcat update set
Plastruct rod and strip
Evergreen sheet stock
Detail Associates brass wire
MV Products lense L-166
Cal-Scale 'HO' 2 and 3-inch brass globe valves
Cannon & Company 'thin wall' EMD Radiator Fans
Aber (PE 35A95) Tie Downs # 2
Modelkasten (A-4) wing nuts
Royal Model etch tied downs
Bare metal foil
Notes: This model is simple inspirational and features a completely scratch-built forward fighting compartment interior from plastic card, wire, etched parts, foil and more bolt heads you can poke a stick at. The detail included in the parts is superb especially the rear firewall fan taken from an HO scale train detail set showing you shouldn’t be afraid to look outside the circle for useful parts.
The hull exterior also receives the full detail treatment with many of the “standard” T-55 additions of fuel cell lines, front fender details and engine deck screens plus much more. The resin engine is also detailed with additional plumbing and ignition wiring to provide something to see inside the open deck doors.
The M18 turret is also extensively detailed with many scratch-built parts for the turret ring, gun mount and other details.
The many close-up photos show the details in great detail with the captions and text describing the action with also many step by step photos of painting the interior and exterior as well as adding the weathering for the final effect.
This is truly a superb model which looks as good unpainted showing all the additions as it does fully painted in the interesting mottled cam.

This small section features two additional models with just the photo captions and a few pages of detailed photos showing the models during construction and after painting, the images are left to speak for themselves but should provide useful insights for anyone building these kits.

T-54-2, Syrian Army, c. 1970
Modeller: Pat Johnston
Photographs: Graeme Davidson
Base kit: Tamiya
Scale: 1:35
Additional detailing sets used: Modelpoint barrel

T-55A, Russian Army, Afghanistan
Modeller: Pat Johnston
Photographs: Graeme Davidson
Base kit: Tamiya
Scale: 1:35
Additional detailing sets used:
MK tracks, ADV crew figure

Further reading, media and websites;
This section lists useful reference books on the T-55 as well as more comprehensive magazine articles and some useful websites for general modelling interests.

Available 1:35 scale kits and accessories;
This section has a comprehensive list of all available kits and accessories currently available for the many T-55 kits and is quite extensive which is testament to the attention the T-55 has received from many manufacturers.

Colour reference chart:
Lastly there is a colour chart with paint colours used on the models in the book and to help get the right colour.

Another excellent book in the Modelling series with some truly inspirational models with the details included shown in clear step by step photos for the construction and painting. The models chosen offer some nice alternatives especially the T-55/M18 hybrid for anyone wanting to do something different with their kit.

Many of the techniques used are just as applicable to these kits as they are for other models and this book will be an indispensable addition to the modeller’s library.

Highly recommended.

A supplement to the book is available for download in .pdf format from the Osprey Website which features a build of a Somali Army T-55 by Andrew Dextras

Page created December 23, 2005

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