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Armor/AFV: Modern Armor
Modern armor in general.
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T55 Enigma
gastec
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Auckland, New Zealand
Joined: February 03, 2014
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Posted: Friday, March 25, 2016 - 07:17 AM UTC
Have had this one kicking around in my stash for a while and after a couple of other T55 variant builds -

http://www.armorama.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=SquawkBox&file=index&req=viewtopic&topic_id=231039&page=1

http://www.armorama.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=SquawkBox&file=index&req=viewtopic&topic_id=238884

- thought it about time I made a start on this Iraqi version. Plenty of info out there already so no point introducing this version in detail.

I'll be (obviously) using the Tamiya base kit along with a Voyager PE set and Aber barrel.



I do, however, have a few decisions to make before I get stuck in and am hoping those more knowledgable than me can help..

I understand that the kit is a mix of Polish (turret) and Soviet (engine deck - with missing wading rail) so can't be built accurately without some modifications.

If I choose a Polish built vehicle, I can keep the turret as is, but will need to alter the engine access section (Part D41) to represent the different hatches which are similar to the T54.
If I go for a Soviet version, then the gun mantlet area is wrong (I do have a spare earlier Tamiya turret) and while the engine access hatches are correct, the wading screen frame is missing and will need to be added.
Am I also correct in assuming that the Soviet version uses 'standard' T55 type tracks but the Polish vehicle normally used the RMSH track with a 14 tooth sprocket? The Tamiya kit comes with a 13 drive sprocket. Any suggesteions for aftermarket for an RMSH track with sprocket (indi link).

Gary
Tanksami
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Victoria, Australia
Joined: August 06, 2011
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Posted: Friday, March 25, 2016 - 12:27 PM UTC
Kia Ora Gary,
Firstly I will watch with great interest after your last two 55 builds & hope all is going well with the new house!!
You are correct about the engine deck vs turret issue, so you will need to swap / convert one or the other. I have just paid bovington museum for some info on doing a build on their particular specimen & can say that their one is a polish built version, but only has 13 tooth sprocket & omsh, so not all the polish built ones were converted to 14 tooth & rmsh, so I would check out your photo reference on the particular one you are doing.
Also if it does have rmsh, fruil do a set part # ATL-11, which also had the 14 tooth sprocket in it. I made the mistake of assuming myself that if polish built then must always be rmsh track.
Hope that helps
Cheers
Mike
gastec
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Posted: Friday, March 25, 2016 - 02:04 PM UTC
Thanks Mike. Great help

Another area that Tamiya have consistently got wrong are the rubber rims. There should be moulded ribbing around each face - not recessed lines as per the kit. There are AM sets out there to correct this, but I prefer a DIY solution. Even if it is very time consuming.
This involves some heat stretched sprue and a little liquid cement...



Not a quick fix, but well worth the effort IMHO.

Gary
Removed by original poster on 03/26/16 - 13:05:42 (GMT).
maartenboersma
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Noord-Holland, Netherlands
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Posted: Friday, March 25, 2016 - 06:05 PM UTC
gastec
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Posted: Saturday, March 26, 2016 - 03:01 AM UTC
First set of wheels comlete. Will add some 'distressing' to the rims later...



Gary

Tanksami
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Posted: Saturday, March 26, 2016 - 03:14 AM UTC
Hi Gary,
Looking very nice indeed, their was something I forgot to mention last night, as you would know from your previous builds Tamiya has the bolts of the gun Mantlet cover running down the side of the Mantlet but in my wwp books & photos of close up's I have they all run down the front??
But I am not so sure about Russian built versions, maybe frenchy or someone else will have some photos of Russian built birds to show if their is a difference or not??
Mike
Tanksami
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Posted: Saturday, March 26, 2016 - 03:19 AM UTC
Gary,
Re last post I have just found some photos & the Russian built versions are down the side as per kit.
Mike
gastec
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Posted: Saturday, March 26, 2016 - 03:43 AM UTC
Thanks Mike. I always thought that Shermans were a bit of a minefiled but they have nothing on the T55

I'm swinging towards a Polish built version as I fancy having a crack at scratchbuilding a new deck. I can always revert to the Soviet type if it fails

Gary
gastec
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Posted: Saturday, March 26, 2016 - 12:53 PM UTC
With teh road wheels complete, time to turn to the hull. Typical Tamiya engineering means good fitment of parts, but a lacking of (sometimes accurate) detail lets things down.

The final drive covers get a cast texture plus welds along with filler caps. Tow hooks are too short and need building up with scrap styrene and blended together with Mr Surfacer. Tow hook spring clips are a mix of modified kit parts, styrene rod and Aber PE....



To my mind, Aber make the best PE set out there for the T-55 and as I have a spare set in my stash, will be using it to compliment (and in places replace) the Voyager set.

Gary
Tanksami
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Posted: Saturday, March 26, 2016 - 01:23 PM UTC
Gary,

Looking very nice with all the little details so far!!
Will you be fixing the placing of the rear fuel drum holders??
Mike
gastec
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Posted: Saturday, March 26, 2016 - 01:30 PM UTC
Thanks Mike. What do you mean by 'fixing'?

Gary
Tanksami
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Posted: Saturday, March 26, 2016 - 02:11 PM UTC
From memory they are too far apart, I would need to double check my refs, but think they are about a 1mm out, spaced to far.
I will check through an old build thread I have & confirm for you, as I was advised when building mine that the spacing was wrong.
Mike
Modelrob
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Arizona, United States
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Posted: Saturday, March 26, 2016 - 02:58 PM UTC
The detailing is coming along nicely.

Robert
Tanksami
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Posted: Saturday, March 26, 2016 - 03:12 PM UTC
Hi Gray,
Checked through my old / unfinished build thread & lucky I did, the actuall info I was given are that the drum holders were too close, sorry been a very long time since I read / did anything on that thread.
So if you fill we're the drum brackets go & move the to the "outside" of each one that is meant to make them correct....or so I was told.
Mike
gastec
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Posted: Sunday, March 27, 2016 - 12:40 AM UTC
Thanks Robert.

Mike - wasn't aware that was an issue. However, after a looking at some ref photos and a little photoshopping, it's actually quite obvious!



I shall be making the necessary adjustments Thank you!

Gary
gastec
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Posted: Sunday, March 27, 2016 - 01:35 AM UTC
Small PE mounting bracket to add to the rear plate next. Voyager provide this but it's a little too thin so I've opted for the Aber one, but retaining the Voyager turned brass bolts..



A little solder and it's then fixed in place with CA gel...



A bit of major surgery next sees the kit's fenders removed....



Gary
Tanksami
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Posted: Sunday, March 27, 2016 - 02:00 AM UTC
Gray,
You are very welcome sir & IMHO you are certainly going to be churning out another stellar build!!
Mike
gastec
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Posted: Sunday, March 27, 2016 - 09:26 AM UTC
Cheers Mike.

Upper and lower halves are cemented together. Fair bit of filler needed here - they were designed to fit with the fenders in place after all



Gary
gastec
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Posted: Monday, March 28, 2016 - 11:12 AM UTC
I'm going to make this a Polish made T55 which means some modifications. As I mentioned at th start, while the turret is correct, the engine deck is not for a Polish vehicle. And the opposite is the case for a Soviet made tank (even then it's missing the wading rail). So, whichever verison you make, some extra work is required.

The 'revised' engine deck required essentially resembles that of a T54, so using a Tiran 4 deck for reference, I start by cutting out the two main access hatches...



The original kit deck is shown for comparison. Why the PE fret? I use the rounded corner as a template to round the edges of the styrene parts.
I'll use these two shapes as a guide to scribe the hatch detail into a new deck made from sheet styrene.

Gary
gastec
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Posted: Monday, March 28, 2016 - 12:17 PM UTC
The new deck is made by cutting a piece of styrene sheet to teh same size as the kit part. Hatch templates are placed on the deck for the photo. When ready, they'll be fixed in place with a little CA gel to prevent them from moving - I'll the scribe around them to create the effect of a seperate hatch...



Gary
gastec
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Posted: Monday, March 28, 2016 - 12:40 PM UTC
Masking tape is used to ensure the template is placed in the correct place and a few small drops of CA gel keeps it from moving...



A few circuits with the scribing pen and the template can be gently prised up. The CA gel just breaks keeping the surfaces intact...



This process will be repeated with the other two hatches.

Gary
Tanksami
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Posted: Monday, March 28, 2016 - 12:48 PM UTC
Gray,
She is coming along in leaps & bounds!!
Never heard of a scrubbing pen before, did you get that from back home or some where online??
Wouldn't mind getting one myself, very nifty idea on using the each for sorting the curves too!!
gastec
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Posted: Monday, March 28, 2016 - 01:04 PM UTC
Thanks Mike.

I've had the scribing pen a while now - I *think* I bought it at an art supply shop from memory. Very, very useful tool.

And the prototype done...



I call it a 'prototype' as I made a rookie mistake and didn't take into account scribing around the template would make the hatch bigger Will need to make the templates slightly smaller
At least I know the method works though

Gary
gastec
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Posted: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - 11:52 AM UTC
Much happier with the Mk.II version. Also made a start on adding the hinges - part splliced from spare T55 deck, part scratchbuilt....



Gary