The T-54 series of soviet main battle tank came about in the search for viable replacement for the T-34 Medium Tank. Soviet engineers attempted several initiatives to replace the T-34 design with a more modern, refined and reliable tank. One such attempt became the 85 mm-armed T-44. But the Soviet Army favoured the 100 mm main instead. The new tank was designated the T-54 and this version mounted the desired 100 mm main gun.
The T-54 was built around the 100 mm D-10 series main gun, instantly making it one of the most powerful frontline combat tanks in consideration when compared to Western developments of the time. The T-54 improved upon armour protection over that of the T-34 and was given a new transmission system as well as a new engine. War-time Red Army experience in armoured warfare naturally made their way into the design. After several design revisions and numerous engineering “fixes”, the T-54 emerged in an evaluation form as the “T-54-1” in 1946. With evaluation of the T-54 system still underway, the Soviet authorities formally ordered the tank into quantitative serial production in 1947. The T-54 became operationally available in the Red Army inventory in 1949. The serial production version, designated T-54-1, started in 1947 and lasted until 1949, about 1490 were made. In 1949 the first modernization phase came with the T-54-2.
The T-54-1, appearing in 1946, was identified by its well-contoured curved turret assembly as well as its wide gun mantlet. The D-10T main gun was not stabilized so “firing-on-the-move” with any level of accuracy was near impossible. This version also stowed 7.62 mm SG-43 series machine guns on the fenders for improved defence against infantry but their tactical value was questionable. Production of this model was limited at best and primarily as set aside for evaluation purposes rather than operational service. The few that were completed showcased some severe quality control issues that reflected poorly on the project as a whole. T-54-1 production lasted until 1948.
Overall length: 9 m
Width: 3.27 m
Height: 2.4 m
Weight: 36 t
Max Speed: 48 km/h
Max Range: 400 km
Engine: 1 x V-54 12-cylinder diesel engine developing 520 horsepower.
1 x 100 mm D-10T rifled main gun
1 x 12.7 mm DShK anti-aircraft machine gun at loader’s hatch
1 x 7.62 mm SG MT coaxial machine gun
2 x 7.62 mm SG-43 fender-mounted Machine guns
The kit arrives in a sturdy top opening box that is completely full of plastic sprues in 2 bags. The PE and decals are in a separate bag and safely protected from damage. The kit contains:
- 934 Plastic Parts
- 105 Photoetched Parts
- 14 Clear Plastic Parts
- Decal Sheet for 4 variants 4 VARIANTS
The instructions are in a 24 page booklet. The front and back 4 pages are glossy paper and the rest is normal paper. The glossy pages contain the decal options for better printing of the colours I assume. The instructions are very clear and easy to follow. The diagrams are of a nice size and well detailed.
The level of detail in this kit is exceptional. It is a full interior kit and the interior detail, even though a lot of it will be tricky to see, is all there.
The paints are called out in Ammo, Humbrol, Mr Color, Testors and Vallejo with Russian and English names too.
The decal options are all from the late 1940s to 1950s.
- Light green, initial batch summer 1947
- Light green, 1950s
- Light green with winter whitewash, 1950s
- Tricolour camouflage, early 1950s.
The kit is available here for $42.99, which is pretty good value for such a detailed kit with a high parts count.
Many thanks to MiniArt for sending the kit along for review.