|Tamiya T-55A Medium Tank build, work-in-progress (Part 1 of 3)|
|Drive sprocket as well as idler and road wheels, shown here attached to the lower hull sans tracks|
Almost all AFV builds inevitably start with the road/idler wheels and drive sprockets, and the Tamiya T-55A medium tank is no different. These were easy enough to put together but a real pain to clean up, specifically the mould lines on the road wheels. Extra care was also taken not to get glue on the poly-caps. These are tube-like polyethylene parts that allow the wheels to attach to the torsion bars and retain some rotary movement in the wheel system (see immediate photo below).
|First steps of the build were spent on the tank's road/idler wheels and drive sprocket|
Steps 2 and 3 saw the lower hull take form with its suspension system, fuel drum racks and other miscellaneous details glued on. Due to the nature of some of the tank's parts, namely being small and fiddly, the best glue to use would be one that works via capillary action. My favourite glue for use on AFVs is Mr Hobby Mr Cement S (check out my review here) although the Tamiya Extra Thin Cement is a good alternative. There weren't many small and fiddly (smidlly?) parts on the lower hull but they are in abundance especially on the turret but that's for a worry for later.
|Tamiya T-55A instructions: steps two through five|
|T-55A medium tank suspension system sans the wheels|
|Fuel drum racks (far right) attach via the inside of the lower hull|
|Closeup of the front-end of the T-55A's lower hull with what looks like bolted-on steel bars|
|Fuel drum racks; snorkel holders (two triangular protrusions below the racks); and tow hooks make up most of the rear|
Then it was off to steps 4 and 5 in which the initial parts of the upper hull were assembled. These included some triangular brackets; semi-circular parts to round out the turret area; rear vents; moulded hatches and inner body of the exhaust. Nothing to shout about yet but enough to set the foundation of whats to come. Rounding off the first five steps was the gluing together of the upper and lower hulls which were made a pain-free task thanks to the above-mentioned capillary glue.
|Upper hull of the T-55A with the initial parts glued on|
After these early steps I get why the whole AFV process can be addictive. Just assembling the parts together already provides a satisfying sense of accomplishment. This feeling is more tangible than any felt when putting together Bandai's snap-fit model kits. Because let's face it, snap-fitting parts together provides next to no challenge which is why I rarely do work-in-progress build reports for the Bandai Star Wars model kits unless they are pertinent to the overall process.
|Upper hull and lower hull combined, with wheels and drive sprockets attached but sans tracks|
|A view of the T-55A lower hull again but this time from the opposite angle from before|
Speaking of which, alternating between Bandai's T-47 Snowspeeder and Tamiya's T-55A tank is turning out to be a good choice for me because it's keeping things fresh on a weekly basis. And approaching any project with a persistently fresh outlook is always a good thing. I'll be completing the snowspeeder pilots (i.e. Wedge Antilles and Wes Janson) soon and I can't wait to share the results of that paint job on the next post. Until then, be happy and well.