T-54 Late and T-55/T-55A Transmission Sets
MiniArt, 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
Ever since Miniart began to release their excellent series of T-44/54/55 interior kits starting in 2016, all of them have suffered one problem: they left out the transmission, radiator and final drive components. Considering this is one of the neat things to show on a full-up interior kit model (albeit you usually have to figure out a way of how to display it!) leaving it out left the models somewhat short of the finish line.
They have now fixed this with three new kits:
Each kit comes with slightly different parts, and while I have not seen the Early T-54 kit the major difference there was with the radiator itself. The kits include all of the components missing from the earlier kits to include the 5-speed transmission, the “guitara” transfer case, two final drives with ribbon brake housings, the fan with its mounting shroud, the reserve oil tank, the radiator, and all of the fittings and hoses needed to finish up the engine compartment.
Each kit comes with a nicely done direction booklet that warns the models to READ IT AND THE KIT DIRECTIONS FIRST! This is due to the fact that the steps in the specific kit booklets need to be adjusted to either mount the new parts or integrate them into the original kits. A simple overview shows that the four major internal subassemblies (fan, transmission bracket, “guitara”, and transmission assembly) must go in before the engine is installed. Also parts need to be replaced on some assemblies (such as the original hoses on the engines and bulkheads provided in the base kit). Also, different approaches are needed if you wish to pose the radiator deck in the open position or closed. In the original tank the radiator is usually hinged to the radiator deck and opens with it, but as this is a model you have to set the radiator first before attaching the radiator deck to it.
Both kits provide a new radiator deck with attachments but some parts from the base kit need to be attached to it. The directions are very precise on their callouts for when to make changes.
Painting directions are included with most of the colors being steel, aluminum, black, protective green or a red-brown primer. Matches for Vallejo, Mr. Color, AK, Mission Models, AMMO MIG and Tamiya are provided.