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T-55 J (Jetsons)

This whole process began because of all the development of new and improved kits that have hit the market in recent years. The kits are more accurate, have greater detail, and have better injection molding. These developments have left me and I assume a lot of others with a surplus of not so bad kits from the past. Staring at my collection of 75+ kits, I wanted to come up with a project to free up some shelf space.
What to build?
I have always been impressed with the streamlined shape of the T-55 Russian tank. I liked its wide, low to the ground appearance and its rounded aerodynamic turret. My original thought was to strip down all the detail and start kit bashing it into a streamlined futuristic tank. I looked into combining it with Revell/Monogram’s Futura because of its sleek fins and quarter panels. This model was a depiction of a 1960’s concept car for Ford that was scrapped and later used as the basis for the Batmobile for the TV series. What I found better to my liking was the bubble top to the passenger compartment. The final clincher was when I tried the piece on top of the hull; it almost matched the front slope of the armor exactly. Image 1.
Kit list
What I finally ended up using was:
  • ESCI’s T-55 Kit # 5044
  • Tamiya’ SAS Land Rover kit #MM176
  • Revell/Monogram’s Lincoln Futura Kit
  • Maquette’s T-34 Engine kit # 35024
  • Dragon Russian Tank Riders kit #DML 6197
  • Eduard’s PE for ESCI’s T-55 #EU35189
  • Model Kasten t-34 tracks # SK-50
  • Tank maker T-34 exhaust
  • Assorted styrene fillers
  • 3/8” styrene tubing
  • Lots of Squadron putty
  • Aves Apoxie Sculpt

  • The Build – Lower Hull
    The first thing I did to try to improve the streamlined look was to take about ¼” off the top of the bottom hull in order for the fenders to be closer to the wheels. Image 2.

    The front guide wheels and rear drive wheels are typically higher than the other road wheels. By simply making a downward cut in the hull and rotating it downward, I was able to keep the hull in one piece and get the wheels even. This did leave a wedge shaped hole that I filled with squadron putty. Image 3

    For the rear wheels I simply rotated the kit part lower and let it stick out in the back. In order to balance how much it stuck out, I added a piece of 3/8” styrene tubing to add the impression of an axle. Image 4 and 5.
    The Build – Upper Hull
    The next step was to make the cut out in the top to fit the shape of the bubble. I traced the outline of the bubble onto the hull and cut it out with a dremel. I screwed up the original cut and went a little crooked. Image 6

    I applied about a 3/8” bead of apoxie sculpt all the way around to the rim of the cut out. I re-cut the new marking with a dremel. The apoxie sculpt was much easier to cut through. It had a smoother cut and was much easier to sand any rough edges. Image 7
    • T55_1
    • T55_2
    • T55_3
    • T55_4
    • T55_5
    • T55_6
    • T55_7

    About the Author

    About Jim C. (gluesniffer)

    A born again modeler. I don't do alot of kits per year, but when I do, I research it and put my very best effort into what ever my project is. I do like to do some unusual things from time to time.


    Jim, Wow! What a great read. I think I enjoyed reading about this almost as much as it sounds like it was fun for you to build! Thanks!! Scott, thanks for bringing this to us! Rudi
    FEB 15, 2007 - 06:09 PM
    - Thanks, Rudi, I appreciate it. Thanks for looking. Jim
    FEB 20, 2007 - 12:03 AM
    That's awesome! I am so gonna try something like this! Thanks for sharing it! Cuhail
    FEB 20, 2007 - 12:19 AM
    ehe totally excellent and original!! it makes me think of that "forbidden planet" movie -and then as i already told you, i like the idea of a soviet retro-future btw "gluesniffer" has got to be my prefered pseudo of the whole network JB
    FEB 20, 2007 - 12:44 AM
    Thanks for the replies and comments, guys Thanks Murphy JB - thanks again - I appreciate it
    FEB 22, 2007 - 09:44 AM