book T-55 Special and Recovery Vehicles in detail
Present Vehicle Line No.16
František Kořán, František Sỷkora, Tomáš Bouchal, Jan Martinec
Wings & Wheels Publications.
Published by RAK, Czech Republic.
ISBN 80-86416-59-3

167 pages all in colour.

Review by Terry Ashley

Following on from their T-54/55 in detail (Present Vehicle Line No.7), Wings & Wheels Publications has released this follow up volume with 167 pages crammed with detailed close-up photos of the T-55 Special and Recovery Vehicles for another comprehensive photo overage of the many specialist vehicles built on the T-54/55 chassis.

The book has the usual card cover with the English text kept to a minimum with just the photo captions and brief introductions to different chapters with most available space taken up with the superb photos of the numerous variants shown.

Probably the easiest way to describe the contents is to step through the sections as listed at the front of the book with a brief description of each, so lets get on with it.

MT-55 Bridge Tank Pages 4-43
This section has detailed coverage of the bridge layer variant with and overall walk around followed by a photo walk though of the bridge being deployed showing the various sequences with more extensive text describing the bridge layer in detail. This is followed by extreme close ups of the many hull mountings for the Bridge and associated hydraulics and fittings as well as an extensive walk around of the bridge sections themselves. There are also 11 pages of interior images showing the driver's and Commander's stations in great detail.

T-55C Favorit  Pages 44-55
This is a simple driver training vehicle with a small gunless turret added to the T-55 chassis and there are good external shots of the turret from all angles which should make building on out of flat plastic sheet very easy. This is followed by extreme close-ups of the turret and hill features as well as interior of the turret which is basically a hollow box with just the cupola having any real detail.

BS-55 Bulldozer Pages 56-59
This short section has general walk around shots and a few close-ups of the short lived bulldozer version as the light T-55 chassis was not heavy enough for the dozer in heavy workload situations.

VT-55A ARV Pages 60-71
The text describes the different versions of the ARV produced in Russia and Czechoslovakia plus another excellent walk around with both general and extreme close ups of the hull and ARV fittings with many shots of vehicle now owned by the Czech Railway Fire Brigade Recovery Service painting in a bright blue for anyone wanting the build a distinctive looking ARV.

BTS-4ARV Pages 72-79
This section covers a specialist ARV type with additional detailded hull walk arounds as well as interior shots of the Driver's and Commander's stations.

ZS-55A Engineering Tank Pages 80-132
The ZS-55A is similar to the ARV but fitted with a front dozer blabe as well as the rear winch and the vehicle is again covered in this large section with a series of overall walk around shoys followed by extreme close-ups of the dozer blade and associated mountings and fittings. The upper hull fittings are also featured with many excellent close-ups showing just about every detail possible.

The interior is also shown over 10 pages with detailed shots of the Driver's, Commander's compartments followed by a series of general walk arounds and more extreme close ups of an overall bright yellow ZS-55A used by the Czech Road Assistance & Tow Away Service.

VT-55A Pages 133-143
These pages feature more overall and detailed shots of a bright red VT-55A operated by the Czech Railway Fire Brigade Rescue Service and is interesting as it is fitted with T-72 sprockets and tracks for another variation for modellers.

JVTB-55A Crane Tank Pages 144-145
These two pages have 9 detailed shots of the JVTB-55A whoch features a larger crane unit than the standard ARV.

UOV-155 Land Moving Tank Pages 146-156
This is an extremely interesting vehicle based on the T-55 chassis with a huge rotating cab and earth moving bucket on extendable jib as well as front mounted dozer blade with a series of all around general shots that will be very useful for anyone wanting to model this vehicle. This is followed by close up shots around the cab as well a of the engine and the many hydraulic lines for the jib as well as close ups of the jib and earth bucket.

T-55 SPOT Firefighter Pages 158-167
This last section again features a special modification for the firefighting vehicle which has a large upper superstructure that forms the tanks for the fire retardant be it water, foam or power and the vehicle is equipped to operate in contaminated areas be it radio-active, chemical or other toxic substances and also have the front mounted dozer blade.
There are a series of overall walk around shots plus some of the vehicle in action followed by a few extreme close-ups of the hull and fire nozzles.

This is a another superb photo coverage of the T-55 special variants with extreme close-up shots as well as general walk arounds to give a good perspective of these lesser known but interesting vehicles.

For anyone interested in the T-55 and especially the many variations built on the chassis this book will be invaluable and also has some very interesing conversion possibilities for the available T-55 kits.

Highly recommended.
Sample Pages

Thanks to František of Wings & Wheels Publications for the review book.

Page Created December 6, 2006

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