1:35 Kit - Comparison
A quick comparison of the Tamiya kit as it stands up against the Esci and Skif T-55s
and also a look at the Verlinden T-55M update set as it relates to the Tamiya kit.
by Terry Ashley
I have compared the new Tamiya T-55A directly with the Esci and Skif kits and simply put, all discussion ends here, there is no comparison. So I won’t waste both yours and my time going over the bits when we know the outcome to begin with. The Tamiya kit is streets ahead in every respect as you would expect given it is a brand new kit.

Instead I have also checked the Tamiya parts against those included in the Verlinden T-55M update set No.705 released some years ago for the Esci kits in case you were contemplating using this update set on the Tamiya kit.

While these resin and etched parts improve the Esci parts, in my opinion many of the parts in the Tamiya kit are superior to the Verlinden update items, true the update set is not for the Tamiya kit, but you expect the parts such as turret, fuel tanks, storage boxes etc to be accurate, isn’t that what aftermarket bits are supposed to be?

The Tamiya fender fuel tanks are better being the correct size with the Verlinden tanks noticeably smaller. The Tamiya tanks also have the mounting brackets on each end while the Verlinden tanks do not. You will have to add the fuel lines from wire on both.

The Tamiya storage boxes are again superior with better details than the resin boxes in the Verlinden set. Given there are a number of small etched bits to add to the Verlinden boxes, such as latches and securing brackets but the definition on the Tamiya boxes is better to start with.

The Verlinden instructions show to add copper wire head light guards into the holes in the Esci glacis plate, completely wrong! The Tamiya kit gives you the correct style guards that ‘sit’ on top of the glacis and are welded in place on the real T-55.

The resin rear engine deck in the Verlinden set is solid resin with moulded on grill effect while the Tamiya panels feature open grill work and separate access doors and mesh screen (the mesh included isn’t quite the correct pattern) the engine deck is far superior on the Tamiya kit.

The large infra red search light on the Verlinden set has the area between the light and the base filled in with resin ‘flash’ while the Tamiya parts are cleanly moulded.

You only get the later style Commander’s and Loader’s hatches with radiation cladding in the Verlinden set but a choice of old and new in the Tamiya kit, again the detail on the Tamiya parts is equal if not better than the resin bits especially the DShK machine gun mount and the Verlinden hatches themselves appear undersized?

The plastic DShK machine gun in the Tamiya kit is far superior to the resin item in the Verlinden set which again appears undersized.

The biggest problem with the Verlinden set is the turret which is way too shallow while correct in the Tamiya kit. This means details are compromised on the Verlinden turret such as the mantlet dust cover detail under the gun (not there) plus other details ‘cramped’, the plate over the top of the mantlet lacks the stamped X on the Verlinden turret but is on the Tamiya turret.

The ammo storage boxes on the turret sides are incorrect in shape in the Verlinden set while correct in the Tamiya kit.

I could go on, but you get the picture, the only thing in the Verlinden set not in the Tamiya kit is the smoke generators (4 stack) seen on some late modified T-55s but to get an obsolete update set for this one useful item doesn’t seem worth it. Some of the etched pieces may be useful but are rather plain in details and I suspect the likes of Eduard and ABER will bring out detail sets for the Tamiya kit that actually do enhance the detail in the kit. Also many of the resin and etched parts are designed to fit the Esci kit which already has dimensional problems to start with.

If you were contemplating hunting down the Verlinden update set or picking one up on Ebay for an exorbitant price to use on the Tamiya kit, then forget it because you will be wasting your money.

As I said previously the Verlinden set was produce some years ago and not designed for the Tamiya kit but it’s still no excuse for getting things like the turret, fuel tanks etc the wrong size and shape.

The Sprues:

Detail Images

Page created December 25, 2002

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