The T-54 and T-55 tanks are a series of Soviet main battle tanks introduced in the years following the Second World War. The first T-54 prototype was completed by the end of 1945. Initial production was halted and curtailed as many problems were uncovered. The T-54B was designed in 1955. It was fitted with a new 100 mm gun with a 2-plane stabilizer. It entered production in 1957. Modern ammunition was developed for it, dramatically enhancing the performance of the gun to keep it competitive with NATO armour developments.
During the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese PAVN used T-54s, along with its Chinese-built copy, extensively against the South Vietnamese and allied US forces. At the very end of the Vietnam War on the 30 April 1975, an NVA T-54 tank smashed through the main gate of the South Vietnamese Presidential Palace in their capital city of Saigon at the conclusion of North Vietnam’s conquest of South Vietnam. This widely-seen image has come to be regarded by many as perhaps the defining moment of the end of the bloody 20-year-long conflict in Vietnam,
Interestingly I can only find one previous 1/72 T-54B and that was done by Trumpeter in 2008. The new Ammo kit is over twice the parts count.
The kit comes in an end opening with all the sprues bagged. The small PE fret and decal sheet are attached to a piece of card and in their own bag too. Inside the box we have:
- 1colour instruction booklet.
- 1 small decal sheet
- 174 plastic parts
- 3 PE parts
The level of detail in this kit is very good. Attachment points are small and ejector pin marks are out of the way. There is lots of fine detail on the parts and the sprues are clearly numbered using cut out letters. Have a look at the images, you will see what I mean. No more searching around a sprue to see what number it is. The tank is built in 18 steps and the instructions are clear.
The steps are:
- Attaching nose plate to lower hull.
- Attaching the road wheels to the lower hull
- Ammo has supplied a couple of jigs for building most of the link and length tracks. That’s a nice touch and should help people get the pay of the tracks right.
- Add the almost complete tracks you made in step 3 to the lower hull.
- Add the last part of the tracks to the lower hull.
- Add the lights to the upper hull and add the PE light guard around them.
- Add a PE piece around the radiators grills and some other small parts to the upper rear hull.
- Make the storage boxes. Ammo has done things a little differently here. The sides of the storage boxes are one long piece you fold around into a rectangle and then add the lid.
- Add the stowage boxes you made in step 8 to the upper hull along with the exhaust and a few other parts.
- Add fuel tanks to the right-hand mudguard along with a couple of spare track links.
- Put the upper hull onto the lower hull
- Add the aft hull plate and then add 2 fuel tanks to it and rear mudguards and a couple of other small pieces.
- Add pipework to the rear fuel tanks.
- Add towing hooks to the rear of the hull
- Add AA gun and other small parts to the left front and top of the turret.
- Add small parts to the rear and right front of the turret.
- The main gun is molded in one p[ices with a hollow end and it added to the turret.
- Add the IR searchlight to the turret and put the turret on the lower hull.
There are 10 painting schemes in total, 8 in the booklet and 2 others on the back of the box. Four others are also duplicated on the back of the box. Colors are all called out using the Ammo paint range. You get left, right, top, front and rear views of the options in the booklet and just right side views of the 2 extras on the bottom of the box. There is extra information about weathering, painting, and decals – a lot more than you normally see in a set of instructions.
This is a popular subject and it’s the most detailed kit available in this scale. I like the new idea about getting the tracks assembled and the storage boxes. Instructions are better than most with extra hints about things such as decals and weathering. It should do well and it’s highly recommended.
I bought my kit from Ammo for $21.00 plus shipping and I think that’s the only place selling it right now.