We’ve been in a bit of a T55 mood here at Breakthrough Assault recently, with the release of Plastic Soldier Company’s box set, and our reviews of Armies Army models. I thought it was only fair to give a fair shake to Battlefront’s offering which was released at the same time as the ‘Volksarmee’ source book for Team Yankee.
I don’t usually put a lot of detail into the background and history of a tank that I review. There are other writers in the group who are far better at such things than I am. For a more in depth look at the T-55AM2, I would suggest going to find Lee’s review (PSC), or Richard’s review (AA) of the same tank.
Battlefront’s offering for the T-55AM2 comes in the form of a box set containing five resin and metal models. Each model is comprised of eleven pieces:
- Resin turret
- Resin hull
- 2 x metal tracks
- 2 x metal bazooka skirts
- 2 x metal front mudguard
- Metal commander’s hatch
- Metal 12.7mm AA machine-gun
The first point to notice compared to the Army Armies and PSC models is that the rear fuel tanks, crossing log and gun cleaning tube are already moulded onto the model and don’t come separate. For me personally, this is a good thing, as I tend to find small pieces like that a little fiddly, especially if those pieces have very small or specific mounting points. For others, this might come at a disadvantage as experienced modellers like to change up their models, leave parts off or change their positions.
The tank itself, once constructed, is a rather nice piece in itself. The detail is a little softer than the other offerings on the market, but once the paint is on, the detail will pop with adequate inking and highlighting. Detail like the canvas mantle cover and conduits to the searchlights and grenade launchers are all captured.
As you can see from the example above, the mudflaps hang over the bazooka skirt, but this may be down to my own incompetence in building, rather than a flaw in the kit itself.
With the detail on the turret pre-moulded, the kit is good for people wanting to get a model on the table as quick as possible, though another slight problem is that the second hatch on the turret is pre-moulded, and so if you enjoy putting two commander models in your tanks, you’ve got your work cut out for you here.
The major advantage, one could propose, is that the box set comes with the cards for the T-55AM2 battalion HQ and T-55AM2 company cards, for use in Team Yankee. Players who don’t need the cards, or even dislike the cards will naturally not feel the need for them, but others will be glad of their inclusion. Along with these, you also get two sheets of decals, one of which provides 35 instances of the DDR roundel, whilst the other is the generic Soviet decal sheet, containing numbers for your tanks and the Soviet Guard insignia.
In Team Yankee
So far the T-55AM2 can only be fielded by the DDR (Volksarmee), in either the T-55AM2 battalion, or as a support option in a T-72M, BMP or BTR battalion. The T-55AM2 is an early example [1st Generation – Lee] of the Main Battle Tank, and so don’t expect these to be able to take on Leopard 2s, Chieftains or even Abrams toe to toe, as their main gun won’t even scratch the front armour.
Instead, the T-55AM2 should be used as either a diversionary flanking unit, drawing fire away from your more capable T-72Ms, or should be seeking out other light tanks and armoured vehicles.
For the price of them, the T-55AM2 is a worthwhile investment for any Volksarmee player, with seven of them only costing a measly 10pts (even better, for the same cost, you can field a formation of a HQ + 3×3 “companies”). A fully tooled out unit, with mine-clearing devices will cost a staggering …17pts!
This is where a lot of players might be a little put off, as Battlefront’s five-tank box costs £41.50 (approx. $54 USD). Whilst this costs each tank at a touch over £8.00, which is the current going rate for a single-blister tank in the Flames of War range, customers expect box sets of tanks to save you a little bit of money.
The models are very nice, and will no doubt paint up a treat, but with the price of them, a single box is most likely all most people will desire, even with the inclusions of the decals. Perhaps if Battlefront had included magnets for the turrets, we’d have seen more value out of the kit.
Battlefront got a lot of flak from the Team Yankee community over the decision to have a resin model instead of a plastic one. For the most part I can understand the frustration, and also wish Battlefront had launched another fantastic plastic kit. We can only hope that sometime in future Battlefront can revisit the T-55AM2 (and Leo I, hint hint), and do them some plastic justice.
That’s all from me for now, until next time.