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Poland 1980 T-55As- Best 1/35 Model?

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  • Member since
    November 2011
  • From: Philadelphia, PA
Poland 1980 T-55As- Best 1/35 Model?
Posted by AUSTanker on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 4:06 PM

Hey!

I'm into 1/35 Cold War and Reagan Era armor. Star/Bison decals has a nice little sheet for Polish T-55As during the Solidarity uprisings (some of the tanks even have a Solidarity logo on them). Star/Bison IDs these tanks as "T-55As, Model 1981."

I know that MiniArt has a full interior T-55A "Model 1981" for $100 or so. Question is, would Tamiya's excellent 1/35 Russian T-55A kit do the job? It even has decal variants for Polish Army T-55s but Tamiya from what I can see doesn't specify if they are "1981" variants.

Does the Tamiya T-55A fit the bill for martial law in Poland 1980? Thanks! Best, Christian

 

 

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sunny So. Cal... The OC
Posted by stikpusher on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 5:29 PM

Our AMPS Chapter here did a T-55 family group build a couple of years ago. Members built up pretty much every kit available. The new Takom and Tamiya kits tended to get the most favorable feedback. There was some grumbling by the guys who built the Miniart kit. I built the Tamiya kit myself and can recommend that one, although it is lacking the fender fuel tank plumbing that the Takom and Miniart kits include. The Tamiya kit offers something like four different options in configuration. But all have the early Omsh tracks. Nor any of the other features that appeared in the 80s such as laser rangefinders or frontal arc up armor.

Have a look at reference photos from that time and location for T-55 details to decide. 

I had to backdate and modify mine based off photos for a “Prague Spring” T-55 during the Soviet Invasion of August 1968.

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    May 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 5:47 PM

Hello!

While I live in Poland, the T-55 isn't my speciality, unfortunately. I have a friend at work who served in the Polish Army in the beginning of the nineties and is a big fan of the machine.

First, do some research. I'd like to give you a tip - google for "T-55 stan wojenny" - that could give you some good hits.

Now in Poland we've had thousands of T-55s and they were even manufactured under licence here from 1964 to about 1980. There is a myriad of variants of the T-55, but the differences between them are sometimes hard to spot on one photo, even for an expert. Many of them are internal equipment. Other concern the shape of the turret, shape of the turret hatches and the "mushroom" vent on top of the tower (T-55A - no "mushroom") - so most of the time a photo won't show you that. The tanks also underwent numerous refits where they were retrofitted with parts from newer variants - that adds to the complication.

I'd say get any model of the T-55 you like and then try to adjust it to a good photo of a real thing - that should get you a nice accurate model. And please be sure to post a few photos in process! Good luck with your build and have a nice day

Paweł

 

All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sunny So. Cal... The OC
Posted by stikpusher on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 6:08 PM

The T-54 had the mushroom dome on the turret top, not the T-55, nor the T-55A. That dome and the shape of some engine deck hatches are the prime visual cues for identifying a T-54 from a T-55 visually. Most differences between the two are internal. 

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    November 2011
  • From: Philadelphia, PA
Posted by AUSTanker on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 6:34 PM

Ahhh, you bring back fond memories of AFV ID in Army tank school! Mushrooms...troop rails..is there a "V" on the front slope of a T-72?

So Stik, the most accurate 1/35 T-55A model for Poland 1980 would be...which?

Tamiya "T-55A" or Mini Art "T-55A Model 1981?" Thanks, brother!

  • Member since
    November 2011
  • From: Philadelphia, PA
Posted by AUSTanker on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 6:39 PM

Many Thanks, Pawel!! I'm into Cold War armor and the Reagan Era specifically, and like a lot of Americans, I sent up prayers and cheers when Poland stood up to the Soviet Bear in the early 1980s!

Take a look at the Bison/Star decals sheet for "Polish T-55s, 1980," from the Solidarity protests. They call them "T-55As, 1981 (variant)," but they don't suggest which kit would be most accurate to model them.

The MiniArt "full interior" 1/35 "T-55A 1981" is about $100 and has something like 1300 parts, so I may just go with the good old, trusty Tamiya "T-55A," which includes Polish examples in the decals.I believe Tamiya includes "early" and late" parts, hatches, etc., but I don't think Tamiya specifically refers to a "1981 version."

Best, Christian

  • Member since
    November 2011
  • From: Philadelphia, PA
Posted by AUSTanker on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 6:44 PM

Thanks Stik- good stuff! I have the MiniArt "full interior" T-55A "early version- 1965," and no joke, the box weighs as much as a brick. I'd have to be a real masochist to build up the entire interior, especially because 75% of it won't be visible!

The box recommends it for "Age 14 and up." I've been building tank models since about 1980, but I sure as hell couldn't complete a 1300-part model when I was 14!

Interestingly, one of the MiniArt decal options is for a 1968 version used in the Red invasion of Czechoslovakia! Not sure how accurate it is, but the decals are there.

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sunny So. Cal... The OC
Posted by stikpusher on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 6:44 PM

Lol! I used to teach tank ID in my LRS unit. Do you have a link to the decal sheet that you are referring to? I was able to pull up a photo of a Polish T-55 from that era and it looks to be one of the options in fit that comes in the Tamiya kit. I can’t say what model year it is, as I am not overly familiar with all the T-55 sub variants. 

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    November 2011
  • From: Philadelphia, PA
Posted by AUSTanker on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 6:56 PM

OK, Brother, I stand corrected...the decal is by Echelon Fine Details, not Bison/Star...It's sheet #D356216, "Polish T-55A (1981). They do mention armored vs. bolted cupolas and give options for both, but that's the only referecne to different sub-variants. The only other note is "all vehicles should feature standard stencils on the right side."

Some of the decal choices have a "Solidarnose" (Solidarity) logo on the side! Which might be wild artistic license, but still neat to include in a Reagan Era display.

I recently did a purely fun built of the old ERTL T-72, and threw on simple red stars and the numbers "553." Probably 2 out of 1000 modelers would get the reference, but remember the fake tanks in "Red Dawn?"

The movie makers threw fiberglass tops and turrets onto the chassis of an American AFV or two...remember the scene where the Wolverines go back into town and Patrick Swayzee gulps, "Would you look at the size of that tank?"

It's a T-72 with turret number 553! Going into my Reagan Era display for fun.

  • Member since
    November 2011
  • From: Philadelphia, PA
Posted by AUSTanker on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 7:34 PM

Hey Stik, given all these new kits of later Cold War Soviet armor coming out- not to mention the new Panda M1 Abrams kits- I'm surprised a company like Echelon or Star/Bison hasn't done decals on the Reagan Era. Remember those epic sets Aeromaster did for airplanes in the 1990s- seven sheets of decals and a booklet with dozens of color profiles?

Some company could easily do "Cold War 1980-1989," to go with these new kits...Polish armor in 1980, the earliest Abrams, Bradleys, and Humvees, Soviet armor in the initial Afgan invasion, the invasion of Grenada 1983, Marines in Lebanon 1982-83, M60 Pattons and M151 Mutts used in the REFORGER exercises, Invasion of Panama, the last Soviet armor to leave Afghanistan, etc...I remember the era vividly, yet the decal and kit choices seem few and far between...which inspires me to build it!

  • Member since
    November 2011
  • From: Philadelphia, PA
Posted by AUSTanker on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 7:36 PM

Pawel, do you recall seeing T-55s with a "SOLIDARNOSE" logo on the turret during the 1980-81 miltary law days? This decal by Echelon, called "Polish T-55As (1981)" includes some SOLIDARNOSE white and red logos to put on the tank turrets...I haven't seen original pictures of that yet on the Net- but it would be great if true! Best, Christian

  • Member since
    November 2011
  • From: Philadelphia, PA
Posted by AUSTanker on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 7:50 PM

So, just to muddy the waters and get the T-55 rivet counters rolling... Found a review of the Tamiya kit in which the writer says he believes Tamiya's T-55A represents the 1970 variant...he also states (don't shoot the messenger- I'm just passing it on!) that the only major exterior difference between Soviet- and Polish-built variants is that the Polish ones have an extra stowage box on the left of the turret...

It can't be THAT easy, right?

http://khyronsmodels.blogspot.com/2014/07/

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sunny So. Cal... The OC
Posted by stikpusher on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 9:55 PM

I’ll have to look into T-55s more, but I suspect that the Tamiya kit makes more than the 1970 variant. It does provide several drivers and turret hatch and turret fitting configurations. As well as with or without the loader AA Dshk machine gun. All that being said, looking at the Echelon site and the decal set in particular, yes, you can make those T-55s from the Tamiya kit. 

And thanks for pointing me at the Echelon site. I have not been in there in some time and I see that they came out with a set for Panama Sheridan’s... something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. 

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    May 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Thursday, July 11, 2019 1:16 AM

AUSTanker
Pawel, do you recall seeing T-55s with a "SOLIDARNOSE" logo on the turret during the 1980-81 miltary law days? This decal by Echelon, called "Polish T-55As (1981)" includes some SOLIDARNOSE white and red logos to put on the tank turrets...I haven't seen original pictures of that yet on the Net- but it would be great if true! Best, Christian

Hello!

I've been about two years old when the "stan wojenny" (martial law) was declared, so I don't really remember the tanks on the streets, but I have been there! I'd have to look for references, but I don't think the SOLIDARNOŚĆ logo on a tank is so much of a stretch. Some of the people belonging to SOLIDARNOŚĆ thought they were partisans and it was a question of pride and proving yourself to sneak up on a tank and "mark it" to p*ss off some commies - especially knowing that the Polish soldiers weren't so keen to shoot fellow Polishmen.

Here's a translation of a Polish press article covering this subject, I hope this will help you:

https://translate.google.pl/translate?sl=pl&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Ftrojmiasto.wyborcza.pl%2Ftrojmiasto%2F1%2C35612%2C15138586%2C15_grudnia_1981__czolgi_pod_stocznia___Myslelismy_.html%3FdisableRedirects%3Dtrue

Please note the stencils "OLEJ" (oil) and "PALIWO" (fuel) on the fender tanks in the article photo.

Good luck with your build and have a nice day

Paweł

All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sunny So. Cal... The OC
Posted by stikpusher on Thursday, July 11, 2019 10:24 AM

AUSTanker

Hey Stik, given all these new kits of later Cold War Soviet armor coming out- not to mention the new Panda M1 Abrams kits- I'm surprised a company like Echelon or Star/Bison hasn't done decals on the Reagan Era. Remember those epic sets Aeromaster did for airplanes in the 1990s- seven sheets of decals and a booklet with dozens of color profiles?

Some company could easily do "Cold War 1980-1989," to go with these new kits...Polish armor in 1980, the earliest Abrams, Bradleys, and Humvees, Soviet armor in the initial Afgan invasion, the invasion of Grenada 1983, Marines in Lebanon 1982-83, M60 Pattons and M151 Mutts used in the REFORGER exercises, Invasion of Panama, the last Soviet armor to leave Afghanistan, etc...I remember the era vividly, yet the decal and kit choices seem few and far between...which inspires me to build it!

 

Star/Bison do make some Soviet Afghanistan decal sets, but only a handful. As for late Cold War US vehicle decals, those sets pretty much start at Desert Storm. Most of the others, you have to rely upon the kit decals. And for the most part, all you really need are bumper codes. Most units did not have much else in the way of markings. Only those geometric shape signs with hash marks worn on the turret or hull sides & rears that started to appear in the late 70s or early 80s. 

 

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

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