Skif 1/35 T-54 Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||Aug 2009||Manufacturer||Skif|
|Kit Number||0232||Primary Media||Styrene, PE, Resin|
|Pros||Nice detailing, nicer price||Cons|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$21.00|
The first T-54 main battle tank prototype was produced before the end of World War 2 but came along too late to engage the remnants of the Nazi war machine withdrawing back into Germany. The low-profile turret came along several years later and greatly enhanced the tank's survivability. The T-54 was the mainstay of the Soviet tank armies and would filter out to the Warsaw Pact and allied armies as these were displaced by the newer T-55. The T-55 was a T-54 with a number of engineering improvements, most notably a nuclear, biological, and chemical defense system.
The T-54/T-55 was the most widely produced tank in the world with estimates ranging from 86,000 to 100,000 examples built. In addition to the former Soviet states and allies, T-54s and T-55s found their way into other armed forces most notably the Israeli Defense Force as all of the Syrian tanks destroyed in combat were rebuilt and upgraded for Israeli operations before they too were shipped off to allies like the Lebanese army.
Skif has produced an interesting array of Soviet-era combat vehicles in 1/35 scale and here is there latest release - the T-54 with the early 1970s upgrades for the Egyptian army.
Molded in an olive green styrene, the kit captures the shape and details of the T-54. Presented on six parts trees and two sets of rubber band tracks, the kit is flash-free and has nicely molded detailing. The kit also provides photo-etched details and a new mantlet in resin representing one of the Egyptian mods.
The kit includes a number of parts trees out of the original T-54 release along with two new trees, one with a new turret and revised engine deck and the second tree with new turret hatches and hull details.
One of the comments that have come up on the Skif armor kits center on the road wheels and you can check your references to see if the kit wheels are usable for your project. What I've found fascinating is the number of modelers that will take a Tamiya T-55 kit and purchase resin road wheels and aftermarket tracks. Given that this Skif kit is a fraction of the cost of the Tamiya series, you can start off with this kit and purchase these aftermarket details and still be saving money.
Among the new parts aside from the turret already mentioned, this kit has a rear turret basket, night vision system, and laser rangefinder.
Markings are provided for the Egyptian example as well as markings from other T-54 releases.
These Skif kits build up into nice models with a little patience and skill. Given the low retail price of the Skif series, these are nice kits to work into one of many variants of this tank family that has served in many armies over quite a span of time.
My sincere thanks to HobbyTerra for this review sample!