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T-54-2 m1949 Soviet Medium Tank

MiniArt 1/35 T-54-2 m1949 Soviet Medium Tank Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review April 2017 Manufacturer MiniArt
Subject T-54-2 m1949 Soviet Medium Tank Scale 1/35
Kit Number 37012 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Beautiful detailing, full interior Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $57.99

First Look

T-54-2 m1949 Soviet Medium Tank Kit
T-54-2 m1949 Soviet Medium Tank Kit
T-54-2 m1949 Soviet Medium Tank Kit
T-54-2 m1949 Soviet Medium Tank Kit
T-54-2 m1949 Soviet Medium Tank Kit

When Soviet planners began production of the T-54 in the 1940s, it was the next step in tank development where the short-lived T-44 had been overcome by parallel improvements with the T-34/85. Designed around a 100mm main gun, the initial production T-54-1 configuration offered a newer chassis design paired with a turret left-over from the T-34/85 and T-44 series. When production problems were encountered with the T-54-1, the design was revised with some improvements in the hull and a new turret that resembled the dome-style used by the Josef Stalin tanks. This configuration entered production in 1949 as the T-54-2 and continued through 1951 when a revised turret without the rear 'shot traps' was introduced along with an improved telescopic gunner's sight and became the T-54-3.

Here is MiniArt's latest release, the T-54-2 m1949 which illustrates nicely how the early T-54 series transformed the Soviet battle tanks from the higher profile combat vehicles to the low-profile combatants that would be seen on battlefields around the world. The kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on 48 parts trees plus one tree of clear parts (duplicate trees not shown) and one fret of photo-etched parts. According to the manufacturer, there are 714 parts to build up this kit. This release is the standard kit with some details in the turret but no interior details otherwise to make this a faster build. If you're looking for this variant with an interior, you want kit 37004 instead. Nevertheless, there is some serious mass to the box when you pick it up.

Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Positionable engine access hatches
  • Photo-etched engine deck grilles
  • Torsion bar suspension detail on the hull interior
  • Detailed stowage and pioneering tools on hull exterior
  • Individual track links with stunning details
  • Detailed D-10T main gun and coaxial machine gun in turret
  • One-piece D-10T gun barrel with slide molded hollow tube
  • Detailed DShK machine gun on commander's hatch ring mount
  • Positionable crew hatches
  • Clear periscopes provided

The decals/color profiles are included for six examples as they appeared in the 50th anniversary of the Soviet Army. One note here, where some of the recent releases featured painting instructions using Mig paints (which is fine if you have access to Mig paints), MiniArt has resumed using paint instructions calling out Mig, Humbrol, Mr. Color, Testors, and Vallejo paints. Thank you MiniArt!

This is a nice looking kit and is not over-engineered. Assembly is straightforward but still recommended for experienced modelers. If you're wondering what is coming next, MiniArt has already announced the T-54B (early) and Tiran 4 (late) tanks which will also be released with or without interiors. It is very nice to see these kits coming as the T-54 has been a long-overlooked subject and while Takom has released the T-54, there is no comparison with one of these kits with the interior provided. It makes me hopeful that MiniArt will continue through the later tanks with this same level of interior and exterior details!

My sincere thanks to MiniArt for this review sample!