Sunday, 31 December 2017

Tamiya 1/35 scale T-55A Medium Tank [Completed]

With the new year only hours away, I've just barely made a self-imposed deadline to post my final completed scale model project for 2017. So the Tamiya 1/35 scale T-55A medium tank has the honour of rounding up my year of miniature and scale model kit painting. It's the first ever 1/35 scale military AFV model kit I've ever worked on, and a prelude to many more to come. Paint job wise the tank certainly could've turned out better but I'm hoping that that will come after a few AFV kits under my belt. For now I present to you my first 1/35 scale tank, completed with warts and all.

Tank commander atop the cupola of the completed Tamiya 1/35 scale T-55A
His pose is reminiscent of war propaganda illustrations on posters appealing for new recruits
A view of the commander atop the tank cupola from further out
Yet another closeup of the commander's contemplative pose
Back view showing the contrast between the tank commander's black uniform and the olive green hull

This version of the Tamiya T-55A is supposed to belong to the Czechoslovakian army during the cold war. It's background story is that of a tank only one year or less into its operational duty. As such weathering was a bit on the light side with the beginnings on rust on parts of the tank as well as streaks of grime. Meanwhile, exposed metal parts such as the tracks saw a more advanced stage of rust weathering. And there were also some minor diesel stains on the fuel tanks and drums.

Spare tracks were weathered to look rusty, providing good contrast to the olive green hull
Decal markings are for a Czechoslovakian army T-55A
Fuel tanks and tow cables add detail to the tank's upper hull
Unditching beam/log is positioned to the rear of the T-55A
Tracks and wheels of the T-55A medium tank

Initial 360-degree shots of the tank were made against a white background. Subsequently as a comparison, the latter 360-degree photographs were taken using a black background. Personally I prefer the images with a black background which incidentally makes the point for any completed tank or AFV scale model kit to be displayed together with a vignette or diorama. When placed against a white background, the T-55A tank looks decidedly plainer. That being said, a white background has a 'transitional purpose'. It can highlight areas of a work-in-progress tank/AFV that needs further work. 

Tamiya 1/35 scale T-55A medium tank [Completed]
The T-54/55 tank series became the most produced tank in military history 
Back of the T-55A sports two fuel drums, a snorkel and an unditching beam/log
Overall, weathering was pretty mild to portray a tank that had only a year of duty under its belt

Painting with spray cans has its limits. For example I couldn't airbrush a variety of clear paints onto the hull to give it a less monotone look. But that doesn't excuse the fact that the T-55A's paint job could've been so much better. Especially with the subsequent layers of weathering. Don't get me wrong as I'm pretty happy with the results, moreover when considering this is the very first 1/35 scale AFV scale model kit I've worked on. Yet I would be remiss not to accept that I need to do better.  

Tank tracks were modified to sag naturally onto the wheels
Decal markings denote a T-55A medium tank belonging to the Czechoslovakian army
Front view of the Tamiya T-55A medium tank
Arguably the best viewing angle of both the figure and tank combined

With a dark background, the T-55A tank seemed to look much better in the photos (see below). Of course this could just be pure bias on my part as I tend to prefer having miniatures and model kits I've completed placed against a black cloth during their photography sessions.

Ultimate test of parts painted in black (commander's clothes) is to contrast it with a black background
View of the tank commander from a slightly higher up angle
When the whole tank is displayed against a black background, it arguably looks more realistic
Light brown hues of the canvas gun mantlet cover breaks up the monotone olive green look of the hull
Czechoslovakian tank markings, especially the ex-nation's flag, add bright hues to the overall scheme

One's first is always special. And so it is with this Tamiya T-55A medium tank. It's the benchmark against which future 1/35 scale AFV projects will be judged. I'm hoping the only way to go from here is up (as in better paint and weathering jobs) notwithstanding the occasional slip-ups along the way.

For the most part, this version of the T-55A had a final coating of semi-gloss clear
The unditching log/beam at the rear also adds variety to the overall colour scheme
Against a black background, the tank's weathering was more discernible; an optical illusion perhaps?
Storage boxes on the turret and upper hull were weathered with some rust to add faint orange hues into the mix
Tamiya 1/35 scale T-55A medium tank is my final project of the year (2017)

Next on the AFV to-do-list is the Meng 1/35 scale German Heavy Tank Sd.Kfz.182 King Tiger (Henschel Turret). Jumping from Tamiya to Meng in only my second 1/35 scale scale model project seems like a big leap for an AFV noob but I couldn't resist working on the king now could I? Well the king will have to wait until next year. As for this year, it's hours away from ending as I write this blog post. So here's wishing you a Happy New Year 2018. Make it a good one, yes?

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  1. Oh! What can I say? Masterpiece and eye's candy!
    Beautiful work sir!

    1. Extremely kind of you to say so Michał, thank you!

  2. So many realistic and splendid details...Masterpiece, agree with Michal!

    1. You too sir are much too kind, thank you Phil!

  3. Masterpiece ! Fantastic work ! I love your green tone on the tank !
    Greetings & a very Happy New Year !

    1. Thank you very much Mario! And a Happy New Year to you too!

  4. Awesome looking piece of kit! You've done an impressive job on this one. I for one would have been going a little heavier on the weathering, just for the sake of it looking cool, but I often tend to over do it.

    Hoping, or better looking forward, to what you'll come up with in 2018. Have a Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you Moiterei. Actually, I couldn't agree with you more :) This tank needs more weathering. Unfortunately, the barely noticeable weathering on this tank will have to do for now as I slowly come to grips working with enamel-based weathering products.

  5. That turned out great! I got this kit for Christmas and I'm looking forward to building in the New Year.

    1. Thank you Thomas! There are so many variations you can do with this tank which is what makes it so sought after among military AFV modellers. I for one am looking forward to what you will do with yours. :)

  6. Absolutely spectacular. Tremendous way of ending the year. Happy 2018 and all the best!

    1. Thank you very much Suber. You are being kind to me as always and I thank you for it. Boosts the ego to encourage me to improve my work XD Anyways, a (belated) Happy New Year to you too!

  7. Lovely work on this tank and its commander. Kudos. :)


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