Sunday, May 15, 2016

Is the T-55 the new Bf-109?

I don’t have the patience to count the number of 1/48 scale Bf-109s on the market. An accurate tally would require a calculator and a level of proficiency in calculus that I do not have. Suffice to say, it’s a large number.

Here we are the weekend after the 2016 Shizuoka Hobby Show, and we’ve learned that two companies are planning to produce variants of the T-55. Panda announced a T-55A (with parts for Soviet or Czech versions), and Miniart announced a T-54B. This news follows an announcement from Takom a month ago about their upcoming Type 59 and Type 69-I kits (which they originally said would be available only in the Chinese market but now say will be available worldwide).

Armor modelers have long enjoyed the Tamiya T-55, an excellent kit that the company has retooled in recent years for the Enigma and Ti-67 variants. More recently Takom released their T-55 AM and T-55 AMV kits to much excitement in the armor community.

We’ve come a long way since the Lindberg T-55 was the only game in town. Earlier this year I opined about why we see multiple releases of the same subject, but I’m hesitant to complain today about so many companies producing kits of the T-55, a tank which has seen enormous usage around the world over the last 50 years. With so many variants, it’s not hard to imagine each of these companies releasing additional kits to cover all of those T-55 variants. My excitement about these releases is tempered only by the finite time available to me to actually sit at the workbench and build them.

As a fan of Soviet and Russian armor, these are clearly good times. And by the way, we haven’t a peep from Trumpeter yet. I bet you a banana split they announce a T-55 series by the end of the summer.

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