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Egyptian T-55

by Rafi Ben-Shahar




Tamiya's 1/35 scale T-55 is available online from Squadron.com




Some models got it.

A lot of reviews rave about new products. Sometimes, when you buy the raved-about model, you wish you had not spent so much money because it does not stand out upon completion no matter how well you build and paint it. In this case, though, it appears that in addition to the quality of the product, there is the enigmatic touch. And Tamiya's T-55A got it.

Upon the first review that I read about this kit, I think here in HyperScale, I had no doubt that this is an outstanding kit. The first thing that you would notice in the kit is the beautifully engraved turret. However, to make it stand out, you would need to paint it in light camouflage paints. Therefore, my choice of an Egyptian army T-55A was obvious.





Soon after I received the kit from Japan, I visited the armour display centre situated not far from Jerusalem.

I took my little daughter with me. Since she was not impressed with the display (yep, divorced), I had to do a hasty walk around photo session around the only sample of what appears to be a Syrian T-55A..



By the shape of headlights, commander's cupola and other small attachments, it seemed that the displayed tank was a Soviet Army version like option B in the assembly instructions. Nonetheless, there was a mount for an additional machine gun on the top of the turret as well as and extensive storage area in the back of the turret that made me suspect that this was actually an Israeli Tiran-5 that was re-converted to its original form for display purposes.



Naturally, I could not relate to the camouflage scheme, not to mention that most foreign AFVs at the display do not retain their original colours. In fact, the majority were painted quite recently so my quest for a nice weathering example went down the drain.

Nonetheless, The Egyptian Army colour scheme is simple. In addition, I had vivid recollections from the days of my childhood after the Six Days War when I used to drive past rows and rows of captured tanks and examine them thoroughly whenever I had the opportunity.

The things that I remember about the T-55A from those days was the prominent DShK machine gun on the top, the infra red projectors and the generally barren outlook of the sides of the turret.





As mentioned in other articles, this kit is easy to build and the construction can be completed in a matter of hours.

The fit of the parts is excellent although care must be exercised not to confuse between the different versions.

I was delighted to see that Tamiya included a mesh and a string to replicate the grill covers and the towing cables. After examining the photographs, I realised that Tamiya did not leave much space for the imagination.



From the detail perspective, the model truly depicts the real tank. It seems that the after market for this kit will be meagre. Nonetheless, I made some additions and changes to match with the Egyptian version. I omitted the Snorkels and the log. I also added wires to represents the fuel lines to the auxiliary tanks and a rod at the front hull.





The painting was straight forward. I used several shades of very light yellow and sand. In all, the camouflage scheme of the Egyptian Army leans heavily towards white that simulates the glare of the desert. I took advantage of the dark plastic colour of the mould and chipped the paint in the appropriate places. This would be close to the source because the tanks were probably painted in dark green colours before their arrival in Egypt.

Some washes were applied to represent the inevitable oil and fuel stains. Since these tanks operated in the Sinai Desert that comprises mostly of granite soils, the amount of dust is relatively small. Yet, because of the quartz pebbles and stones, I heavily chipped the rubber rims.





In all, it was a small and a delightful project. Pity though that the colour variations of these tanks was limited or else, I would purchase many more samples of this wonderful kit.

Mind you, I said the same about Tamiya's Swordfish and I ended up building four!



Additional Images


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Model, Images and Text Copyright 2003 by Rafi Ben-Shahar
Page Created 25 March, 2003
Last Updated 25 March, 2004

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