SKIF 1/35 T-55C-2 "Favorit"
TheT-54 and T-55 tanks were a series of main battle tanks designed in the Soviet Union. The first T-54 prototype appeared in March 1945, just before the end of the Second World War. The T-54 entered full production in 1947 and became the main tank of the Soviet Army's armored units, as well as of the armies of the Warsaw Pact countries, and others. T-54s and T-55s were involved in many of the world's armed conflicts during the late twentieth century.
The T-54/55 series eventually became the most-produced tank in history. Estimated production numbers for the series range from 86,000 to 100,000.
The T-54/55 series was eventually replaced by the T-62, T-72, and T-80 in the Soviet and Russian Armies, but tanks of the series are still in use by up to 50 other armies worldwide, some having received sophisticated retrofitting. This makes it probably the most widely used tank in the world.
T-54 and T-55 tanks never directly faced their NATO Cold War adversaries in Europe, however, their first appearance in the west in 1960 spurred the United States to develop the M60.
This particular version is a driver training tank that was developed in Czechoslovakia. The armored turret was replaced with a lighter weight faceted version and the space for munitions allowed a second set of driver controls to be installed for the instructor. This tank could also be used to train radio operators in a realistic setting. Thanks to its lighter weight, this tank was also pretty speedy.
When one looks into the box, one sees a bag full of green and OD sprues. The OD sprues in this case (the small ones) are for the alternate turret and its bits and pieces. The rest of the kit is nicely molded, though as one might expect, there are a variety of sink areas and ejector pin marks. The most prominent of the former are on the suspension pieces and will require some major filling to eradicate. There is also quite a bit of flash on some of the sprues, attesting to their wide range of use in the multiple variants of the T-55 that SKIF have produced over the years.
Despite these glitches, the molding is quite good and gives a good representation of the tank. There is the semi-required photo etch fret for engine grilles, fender braces and some other smaller bits and pieces. The tracks are two piece 'rubber band' tracks that seem to be made of some sort of vinyl. Also in this material are the towing cables. As I've not built one of these kits, it may be that these are not vinyl but deformable styrene. Test fitting the track piece ends shows a seamless construct.
This is not just a curbside, but comes complete with the driver's compartment, the rear engine/transmission and the rather empty combat compartment. The instructor's position is not provided. All of this will be visible if you leave the various hatches open. Instructions are very nicely drawn and generic paint information is provided. There is no real exterior painting guide and only two small Czech roundels are provided for decals. Use the box art for exterior colors and decal placement.
There are many modelers who like to build something a bit different and this one sure qualifies. The end result will be an unusual variant of a widely used Soviet tank.
My thanks to www.scale-model-kits.com for the review kit. Get yours at the link at a considerable discount.
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