T-55 Soviet Tank
Italeri Kit No. 6427
1/35th Scale
First Look Review by Peter Brown

This kit confused my local model shop as Italeri’s advanced publicity had it listed as a "Ti-67". It is in fact a straight T-55, and is not an Italeri mould but a re-issue of an old ESCI kit.

For those not familiar with them, ESCI released three versions of the T-55:

Esci 5044 "T55 Soviet Medium Tank" which was a basic early T-55
5045 "T55 A (M) Soviet Tank" came with a small additional sprue with later style turret hatches and 12.7mm DShK anti-aircraft machine gun
5048 "Ti67" used the basic T55 parts plus an extra sprue with Israeli rebuild features, a 105mm L7 gun, turret stowage bins and .30 and .50 Browning machine guns.

Italeri have provided the same parts as in the "T55 A (M)" kit, and the instructions give options for both early and late vehicles.

Being an older kit, it is not up to the latest standards. Several problems have been pointed out with the series, such as the pattern of the wheels, rearmost suspension arms being the wrong way round though this is not as obvious as it might be, and several areas like engine deck and fuel tanks need improvement.

Best feature of this kit, for me at least, is the plastic link and length track. This gives long and short runs and single links, which makes depicting the characteristic track sag of the T-55 series far easier than with soft-plastic band track and without the cost of replacement resin or metal track. That is, once the knockout pins which appear on about three-quarters of the links have been filed off.

With these problems, this is not the best T-55 out of the box - that would be Tamiya’s release - but it is far better than the Skif kits and with some work can be built into a presentable model. Much of this work was described in a long article by Bruce Crosby in Military Modelling’s 1999 Military Vehicle Modelling Special Volume 29 No 10 which also describes how to convert it to a T-54 or Chinese Type 59.

There have been several update sets produced for the ESCI kit and as this is the same kit they will fit it just as well.

ItaleriWhat is new is the decal sheet which go with colour details for five tanks -

With Tamiya’s kit being the best available, the main value of this kit will be its lower price and possibly as a source of the basic kit to go with old update sets.

The Sprues
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Page Created 10 January 2004

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