T-54B Conversion
Tank Maker Set #STZ 031
Review by Terry Ashley

The Set:
Tank Workshop has released under their Tank Maker label this conversion for the Tamiya T-55A (kit #35257) to make a T-54B Model 1952 Tank. The parts provided will make the T-54B in its original configuration but given the many updates in the T-54 series you should check references for the particular vehicle you wish to build.

Included in the set are 20 early spider web wheels and 20 separate hub caps, 10 in the original style and 10 later types and again you should check references for the appropriate type to use. A further 8 parts are provided for the hull conversion plus an extensive 4 page instruction sheet with all parts in a light grey resin.

Resin parts
Tank Workshop
Tank Workshop

The standard of resin casting is very good with very clean and crisp details typified by the spring rods on the engine hatch being cast proud of the hatch with no residue between the hatch and rod to clean up.

View of the clean casting on the hatch spring rods
Tank Workshop

There is though quite a bit of excess resin to be removed from the other parts as well as the usual casting blocks but the resin used is quite soft making cleanup easier.

Some parts such as the two engine deck doors were also badly warped but this should be easy to remedy with a quick dip into warm water for straightening and while you are there the parts also need a bath in warm detergent water to remove the mould release agent which remains on most parts.

Care is needed in cleaning up the large engine doors as there are small projections as well as the spring rod ends that are easy to cut off if you are not paying attention and due to the softer resin be careful not to remove too much resin when opening out the inner hatch and screen openings.

The wheels also have good details included but again there is a fair bit of excess resin to be removed from inside the round lightening holes with those closer to the casting blocks requiring the use of a drill bit to clean out to ensure the holes remain round. The larger holes are 2.5mm and smaller holes 1.2mm and the appropriate sized drill bit made light work of the cleanup but it is a little tedious on the 20 road wheels.

There are some prominent cast seams around the middle of the rubber sections that will take a bit of work to cleanup and filler may be needed on some wheels which make the seam cleanup a little tedious.

The resin wheels are designed to accept the Tamiya kit poly caps in the outer road wheel which allows easy fitting to the kit axles but make sure the lightening holes are lined up as you glue the two wheels together as there is a little play in the fit.

You are provided with two alternate style hub caps, the early style with 12 bolts and the pater type with 6 bolts to use as required and these fit neatly to the resin wheels.

Resin wheels before cleanup and after assembly showing the alternate style hub caps
Tank WorkshopTank WorkshopTank Workshop
Hull converison parts cleaned up prior to assembly
Tank Workshop

Some minor alterations are required to the Tamiya kit to take the new resin parts but nothing too difficult and the instructions clearly show what is required with text and photos of the kit parts.

The most work is needed to fit the new engine deck doors and test fitting is needed to ensure you don’t trim too much from the kit and in fitting the resin doors but again nothing that is too difficult for anyone who has worked with resin parts before.

The instructions are quite extensive with detailed text notes supplemented with clear photos of the kit parts that make assembly as straightforward as to can be for a resin conversion set.

While there is a fair bit of cleanup needed and some parts to be straighten before use the detail on the parts is excellent and the minimal alterations on the Tamiya kit make for a relatively easy conversion to the early T-54B configuration.

Recommended 7.5/10

See the T-54/T-55 subjects page for reviews of other sets available.


Thanks to Jay from Tank Workshop for the review set.

to help the reviews continue, thank you

Page createdMarch 11, 2007

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