François seems to like whatever is thrown at him – he likes to make models of all types of kits, all to the same great standards - so when he was given this tiny T-55 in72nd scale from Revell he set to it straight away. He was finished a few nights later. Here is his build guide for this kit.
Build Review: Revell's T-55 A/AM
Product number #03304
length 124 mm
number of parts 131
On the surface, this newly tooled 1/72nd scale tank from Revell offers all you can expect from a modern kit: We get tiny, but vVery well-detailed parts, a good representation of the vehicle's details and engineering of parts, a good fit, easy to follow instructions, separated track links, optional parts and multiple decal options from different countries. The brochure of the kit says that the most interesting parts of the kit's features are:
A choice between either the T-55A or T-55AM (NVA)
A detailed anti-aircraft machine gun
A rotatable turret
Injection moulded tracks with separate sections - We think they might have missed a few details. We will look at them before building the kit.
The kit comprises 120 light grey plastic parts (I like the grey plastic better than the classic dark green that Revell is usually providing). There are only four sprues in this kit – we will look at them really quickly because Francois wanted to get building the kit. Before we go though, I must mention that even the smallest parts are relatively flash free – you can see on this tiny machine gun for the turret – just how sharp the moulding of this kit is.
Sprue A features the main upper and lower halves of the hull. The alternate cupola parts of the turret, the rear fuel tanks moulded to the back of the hull (nice) and the towing cables, these take some care to remove in one part (as we will see later.)
Sprue B holds road wheels, many of them, and well detailed again in such a small scale. This kit has some of the lowest amounts of flash we have seen and not too many injection points also. Some great moulding techniques here.
Sprue C has the long track links, the shorter, curved join links that make it easier to glue them all together - especially in such a small scale. The vehicle hatches can be posed open, the hooks and the external fuel tanks are also here.
Sprue D holds the turret - the cupola area for the posable turrets, the two part barrel, which sensibly is moulded not in half down the middle, but in two parts. The front glacis plate is there also with the front mudguards.
The curved shape of the turret will need some casting texture applied to it ...
A nice and comprehensive colour booklet will ease things for the building. These are much improved on Revell's older instructions - but they are still far too busy...
Four marking options are provided for this kit, with optional parts for each included:
T-55A RU Military Soviet Army - 6 Guards Tank Div., 78 Guards Tank Reg. Wittenberg DD
T-55A VN Military People's Army of Vietnam - 273 Tank Reg. Pleiku | 2015
T-55A CSK Military Československá lidová armáda (Czechoslovak People's Army) - 60 Tank Reg.Kezmarok | 1985
T-55AM DD Military Landstreitkräfte der NVA (East German Army 1956-1990)
7 Tank Div., Tank Reg. 15 Cottbus | 1990 - which is the option I chose and also the tank of the box art.
As usual with Revell, the decals are thin, with good colour and registration, and a matt finish.
Building the kit:(don't blink)
You have to choose the version you want to build first because you have an option on certain pieces. I followed the instructions, except for the road wheels and the tracks, which were painted separately before assembly. As usual with me the model is out of the box, with two exceptions:
The turret is too flat for my taste, even in 1/72 scale.
I added the casting roughness using Tamiya regular putty (the grey one that is not available in Europe anymore…), diluted with some levelling thinner, and dabbed on the turret with an old paintbrush. Job done, and in just a couple of minutes.
Secondly, I also replaced the plastic tow cable with a thin soldering wire, twisted with my fingers and superglued to the end of the plastic pieces. I also used copper wire for the handles on the turret sides.
The rest of the build is straightforward, in fact, the whole building process was achieved in one evening. The steps are so simple and straight forward that we just say look at the instructions - you miss nothing as it goes together so easily.
A walk around fo the parts unpainted, but all glued together...
You can now begin the fun part: paint. After a coat of my favourite primer (Alclad), the basic tone is airbrushed (a mix between Tamiya flat green and dark green).
That colour is lightened with flat flesh and sprayed using the now common modulation method, in two passes. Don’t hesitate to accentuate the modulation, because the next stages will tone the colours down.
A coat of Vallejo satin varnish comes next to seal the paint....
...followed by the decals (which don’t react very well to the softening solutions…) I used revell's brand for settling the decals down - it always tends to do well.
A wash of watercolour follows. It brings out the details of the kit so ssubtly
On the underside, the mud is created with pigments, fixed with flat acrylic varnish.
The tracks and the wheels are painted separately.
Then we secure the toop of the turret to the lower part.
Finally, to finish it off, dull down the sharp points and make this look like on single vehicle instead of a bunch of parts, I dusted the model with pigments.
To make the base used polystyrene on a little plinth and carved it to an upward facing angle.
The base is a simple muddy terrain, achieved with a mix of white glue, dark brown pigments, kitchen herbs and static grass. I chose to represent a curved terrain to have a better look at the model, it is also a bit more dynamic.
I just love those small scale models, because the building process is fast and you can concentrate on painting and weathering. It took me 3 evenings to finish that model, and i am happy with the result.
The .50C euro is there for scale ( yes it is 1/1) - showing you just how small this little tank is
I will definitely buy any new Revell 1/72nd scale tank or vehicle in the future, and i encourage you to try one of those, you won’t regret it.
Thanks a lot to Revell of Germany for sending this model to us for Francois to build and review.