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T-55 Iraqi Army

Italeri 1/35 T-55 Iraqi Army Kit First Look

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2016 Manufacturer Italeri
Subject T-55 Iraqi Army Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6540 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Easy build Cons See text
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $32.95

First Look

T-55 Iraqi Army
T-55 Iraqi Army
T-55 Iraqi Army
T-55 Iraqi Army

The T-55 medium tank was an evolution of the T-54 with the addition of nuclear-biological-chemical (NBC) warfare protection. As the tank was being designed to facilitate NBC protections for the crew, additional engineering updates were applied for more engine power, increased ammo storage, and the stabilized main gun. Since the T-55 was at least as effective as the Soviet heavy tanks, those were phased out of service making the T-55 the main battle tank.

The T-55 was widely deployed within the Soviet Army and with its client states. The Syrian Army employed T-55s along with T-62s against the Golan Heights in Israel during the 1973 war which left hundreds of destroyed Syrian tanks waiting for recycling into a variety of Israeli combat vehicles. The Iraqi Army also employed the T-55 as well as newer Soviet tanks against the Iranians in the late 1980s with good success and again during the first Gulf War with far less success as all of the Iraqi armor was introduced to Mr. DUR (depleted uranium round).

Italeri has reissued the T-55 tooling first developed by ESCI in the early 1990s. This kit features the signature ESCI link and length track which provided more detailed track without requiring the assembly of individual track links except around the drive sprockets and return rollers. Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Simple construction
  • Link and length track replicates the typical track sag
  • Positionable driver's hatch
  • Positionable commander's hatch
  • Positionable loader's hatch
  • DShK gun mount and gun

The kit provides marking options for four Iraqi Army tanks from the Kuwait invasion of 1991.

While most would consider the Tamiya 1/35 T-55 to be the best on the market, despite its age, the ESCI (Italeri) kit is still a less expensive option than other brands out there currently and retails for about half of Tamiya's current MSRP. With the variety of articles online plus the detail sets and conversion for this subject, the Italeri kit could provide an inexpensive foundation for the AMS modeler to create a number of unique T-55 variants.

My sincere thanks to Italeri USA for this review sample!