Book Review
T-54/55 Soviet Cold War Main Battle Tank
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


The modeller who wants information on a specific vehicle is often left looking at more than one book purchase to meet their needs. So what would be a solution to this issue? Pen and Sword Publishers have the answer for many in the form of a series of books under the name of Tank Craft that are aimed specifically at the modeller. This series of books provides a good quantity of information on the base vehicle and also looks at the models available of that vehicle. The tank craft book I am looking at here is No 16 and looks at the T-54/55.


This offering from Pen and Sword as part of their Tank Craft series is a soft backed book with 94 pages. The card cover has a glossy finish to it and is of a reasonable thickness to it; the glossy finish does give the images on the cover a greater deal of appeal. The author of this offering is Robert Jackson. The book has been printed in the portrait style and is A4 in size.

The book starts with an introduction that looks at the events leading up to the T-54/55 Tanks and covering its progression from the T-44 tank series which was a replacement for the T-34. This segment is accompanied with good quality black and white period images. The captions provided with the images are informative, but I would have liked some of photographs to be larger.

The next section of the title is way too short in my opinion as it is titled ‘the T-54/55 in detail’, the section is only two pages and to be fair to the author the text covers the driving, fighting and engine compartment along with the turret, hull, armament and armour to a reasonable level, but a lot more images are needed to support this text in order to make it a complete section.

The next section of the book is titled ‘The T-54/55 Main Battle Tank Variants’ covering the: T-54-1, T-54-2, T-54-3, T-54A, T-54B, T-55, and T-55M. There are short sections covering the various mentioned variants along with the who and when they got and used them. This section then moves onto the Warsaw Pact users of the T-54/55 before moving onto those that are across the globe and are as follows:
Warsaw Pact Users
Albania, Bulgaria, German Democratic Republic, Hungary and Romania
Middle East and Asia users
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Laos, Lebanon, Mongolia, North Korea, North Vietnam, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Syria
Africa Users
Algeria, Angola, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda and Yemen
Latin American users
Cuba, Nicaragua and Peru

In the middle of the section above is the area looking at the models of the T-54/55 with of course the offerings from MiniArt and Takom rightly getting main attention. The book offers a number of finished models to attract the reader’s attention and these are:
Iraqi T-55 Enigma in 1/35th scale by Bill Goodrich
Soviet T-55A in 1/35th scale by Brian Richardson
Israeli Tiran 4 in 1/35th scale by Gary Riley
Finnish T-54 in 1/35th scale by William Stewart
This section finishes covering available models in 1/35th and 1/72nd scale kits and even shows some elements of the build; again I wish that more elements of the build were in the title, but I have to consider the amount of available space that the author was given to work with.

The last two segments of this title looks at T-54/55 specialist variants and the various elements that have been altered on them. This is a short section but provides a reasonable insight into the reasons these changes were added. The last section looks at the T-54/55 in action and offers brief insights into conflicts were these tanks were used. The photographs that accompany these two sections are a great addition for giving those into dioramas some ideas and the captions are well thought out.


The contents of this title will prove of great use to those modellers looking at the exterior of the T-54/55 and will provide some ideas for the display of a model of these tanks. The author has done a good job considering how much space he was provided with. The cost of this title makes the purchase a no brainer and after all dedicated modelling books are hard to find at a good price.
Highs: Good quality for a good price.
Lows: I would have liked to see more on the models in the book.
Verdict: Hard to beat in terms of value for money.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 9781526741387
  Suggested Retail: £11.99
  PUBLISHED: Apr 14, 2019

Our Thanks to Pen & Sword Books!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Darren Baker (CMOT)

I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2021 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. All rights reserved.


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