VT-55A Recovery Tank / ZS-55A Combat-Engineer Tank
Kit No. PS35C108HT
Review by Terry Ashley

This kit is quite a complex and comprehensive full resin kit and has parts to build either a VT-55A Recovery Vehicle or a ZS-55A Combat Engineer Vehicle.

The kit consists of 252 parts in grey resin, two etched metal frets with 157 parts, and a selection of wire, a Modelpoint (MP3545) brass antenna mounting and a small decal sheet. There is also included a small razor saw to help get the parts from their casting blocks plus a full set of Friul (ALT-11) metal tracks and as a real bonus a mini CD with numerous images of the model, construction images and pics of the real vehicles for immediate reference.


The quality of the resin casting is good overall although there is some cleanup needed on the smaller parts with a bit of excess resin film present. The parts themselves are clear of blemishes such as air holes or malformations except for the wheels which have a couple of problems (more on this later).
Many of the finer parts are cast inside a resin film and while this allows for good detail definition on both sides of the parts there is considerable cleanup needed before the parts are used.

The lower hull is the traditional tub and is well cast with both walls perfectly straight without any hint of warping with separate axles and rear hull panel. On the inside is a complete crew compartment for the driver, commander and third crew member, the compartment is very well detailed with seats, driver’s controls, sidewall details and compartment behind the seats, as there is no turret this detail can quite easily be seen through the separate hull hatches.

The axles and road wheels are all separate and after cleaning up the axles they can be attached in the neutral position or positioned as you wish?
The road wheels are probably the biggest problem in the kit with most having deformities resulting in uneven rubber sections as well as the wheel rims having bits missing either through damage or casting problems. The idler wheels require considerable cleanup as most of the lightening holes are filled with excess resin.
Personally I will be using the kit as a major conversion for the Tamiya T-55 kit so the wheels won’t be problem for me but they will be if building the kit on its own.

The upper hull is again well cast with nice details included as well as separate hatch for the rear of the crew compartment and separate driver’s and commander’s hatch. The side fenders are all separate as are the storage boxes, fuel tanks and other fittings. The wire supplied is used for the head light guards, hatch handles and other smaller details.

From here on you have to make the choice of building the ARV or CEV and use the appropriate parts of which there are many.
The larger parts such as rear spade; front dozer blade and crane jibs are well cast with nice details included and smaller parts to add additional detail. The dozer blade assembly is quite well detailed and complex with etched parts for the lower dozer lip including nice bolt head details and looks good.

Apart from the larger parts there are many smaller resin parts, too many to mention here but they are all well cast with only the excess film to be removed and with the etched detail parts again add to the busy look and feel of these vehicle types.

A kit this complex needs good instructions to help putting it all together and PanserShop have tackled this differently from most resin manufacturers in providing only a basic printed instruction sheet which has a text parts list, images of the individual parts to help identify them and eight b/w photos of the finished kit with the parts indicated by number, not much if that was all there is.
But the best bit is the inclusion of a mini CD with many images of the kit during construction showing clearly the parts location; there are images with and without the part numbers included and at various stages during construction. Added to this are images on the finished and painted kit again with the part numbers included, all of this makes assembly very easy as the images are very clear and detailed. Printing these out before assembly to have a super instruction sheet on your bench will help greatly during assembly.

Added to this are about 100 reference images of the real vehicle showing the details included in the kit, these consist of extreme close up shots as well as overall shots showing where the bits actually go on the real thing.

Let’s hope this trend continues with complex resin kits as it really does make the job easier as well as providing reference images of the vehicle, Calibre35 also included a mini CD with their GMC Maintenance Truck conversion so it maybe catching on.

This kit is not for the inexperienced modeller as it is quite complex with many small resin and etched parts but with care will build into an impressive looking kit, the wheels being about the only negative. The choice of the VT-55T or ZS-55A and the mini CD is also a bonus to add to the appeal of this kit.
While released as a full kit, it could be used as the ultimate conversion/update set for the Tamiya T-55 to overcome the wheel problems if you wanted something different.

Etched and Resin parts
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Sample CD Instruction and Reference images
Note: images on the CD are larger than shown here
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PanzerShop Kits and Accessories are available from;
see the CMD website for ordering details.
Thanks to Bill from CMD for the review sample.

Page created 25 October 2003

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