Product Features and Details
Model: Each REI Military Model is professionally hand-painted and thus highly unique. Each set is painted in authentic camouflage patterns, and each one is disassembled, masked, and airbrushed before being reassembled for the final touches. You'll find such features as carefully weathered and painted side frames, painted deck boards which include wooded chalks and more. For this REI set, we used an Artitec T55A painted in the DDR livery and a six-axle Artitec flat car which is painted and weathered. Flatcar is a highly detailed model, it has complete undercarriage detail, deck details and comes equipped with NEM 362 coupler pockets. This is a unique model that will make a great addition to any collection.
** Please Note The Artitec Military Transportation Chain Set 387.300 would add some additional detail.
T54/T55 History: The most-produced tank in history?
Still classed as a medium tank, the T-54 was a superior design to the T-44. Nowadays it is seen as an all-out classic of the Cold War. The T-55 version, which appeared in 1958, was the sum of all the modifications applied to the previous T-54 series, with several differences that made a clear distinction from the previous model. One of these was NBC protection and a brand new engine. T-54s were modernized over time to the T-55 standard, leading to a nearly indistinguishable “T-54/55” generic type. According to most intelligence reports published in the mid-1980s, when the Cold War suddenly grew colder, it was admitted that the Warsaw Pact could field more than 50,000 tanks in a single day, and modernized T-54/55s still accounted for a good part of this number. This has to be put in perspective with the T-62 (22,700+), T-64 (13,000+) and T-72 (25,000+) production figures, not to mention the T-80 (5400 as of 2005). But the technological gap between a modern-day, well-modernized T-80 and the T-54/55 easily explained such production differences. The T-55, like the T-54, was still a relatively inexpensive and unsophisticated design, fed by the same principles that made the T-34 an iconic figure of WW2. The production itself was viewed as a quality, technological refinements or crew comfort always came second to reliability and simplicity. It had adequate firepower, protection, and speed to match the life expectancy of a single tank in operations. This made the T-54/55 the most inexpensive MBT to date, with more exports than any other modern tank in history. Outside USSR, Warsaw Pact and allies, most non-aligned countries bought and had this model in operations. Thus, it is nowadays one of the best-known Soviet tanks, and certainly the most iconic of the Cold War.
However, the T-54/55 series has been battle-proven in all kinds of environments, from the icy cold northern border between USSR and China to the tropical jungles of Vietnam, and only Australia and Antarctica have not seen this model roll its tracks in anger. Unfortunately, its production figures never matched the quality standard of the western world. Countless Cold War engagements, during indirect conflicts, with western-built tanks, proved that it was inferior on the battlefield to its counterparts. A well-documented fact that was somewhat toned down by the countless local modernization and improvements aimed at rendering this tank a still valuable battlefield combination.
The T-55A was the main version built in Czechoslovakia. Due to the higher quality standard compared to USSR manufacture, they were more widely exported. They differed only by details like redesigned engine access plates (three plates fitted to the hull to reduce track shedding) and oval engine grills in the engine decks. The sub-variant AK (command) had a modified base plate on the turret roof for a radio mast. It was shown in tests that this tank could survive a 2-15 kt (tactical warhead) nuclear blast 300 meters (980 ft) from the epicenter, although the level of heat and radiation forbid any chances of survival for the crew at less 700 m. The sealing system associated with the NBC protection was triggered 0.3 seconds after detecting gamma radiation. This protection, however, was only partial, with particulate filtration, but not gamma radiation or poisoned gas. KB-60 completed its tests on the NBC kit in 1956, with the blueprints and the range of modifications required was then sent to Uralvagonzavod. The T-54M (Obyekt 139) also tested new production technologies and incorporated the sum of the latest upgrades of the T-54B and planned successors, under chief engineer Katsev’s supervision.