Czech T-55A Photo Detail CD
CD #21 by:
Chris "Toadman" Hughes
MSRP: $7.99 (FANTASTIC BUY!!)
Oh boy! Chris has done it yet again! As luck would have it, I recently purchased a couple of T-55 tank kits and they are sitting in my collection out in the garage. I know the wife is forever telling me I have too many now! But, I do want to start building what I've purchased and soon. With this, I have found myself saying just recently that I needed to start boning up on my Photo collection to build an accurate T-55A. Armed with this very timely release from the Toadman, I'm well on my way now!
The Toadman CD, number 21-Czech T-55A, covers a Czech T-55A variant of this vehicle. The vehicle that is the subject of many of these images happens to belong to the late Mr. Jacque Littlefield. Chris was able to get exclusive coverage of this vehicle and he has photographed it extensively, both inside and out! Chris makes great use of work performed by Robert De Craecker to whom he gives credit. This work greatly benefits from that cooperation and in the end, the modeler is the benefactor of that cooperation.
This review should begin with the idea and concept behind the T-54/55 line of vehicles. Towards the latter part of WWII, the Soviet's primary heavy tank was the IS-2. Now, there is great debate as to whether or not the IS-3 saw service at the end of WWII so we will not consider that as having played a decisive role in the fall of Nazi Germany. The IS-2 was a powerful enemy for the German Armored forces to contend with in 1945 and as the Red Army converged on Berlin, the IS-2 was one tank leading the charge. At the completion of the war, the Soviet Union came to the conclusion that they needed to eventually replace the IS-2, and additionally, the IS-3 heavy tank as well. Orders for Plans to introduce a new heavy tank where entertained. What the Soviets came up with was a main battle tank in the later part of the 1940's in the T-54.
The T-54 platform was a vast improvement over the IS-2 and even the IS-3. Ballistic protection was markedly improved and the gun was very potent. But changes in concept for having a (Main Battle Tank-MBT) instead of a Heavy Tank changed how they viewed their primary tank requirements. No longer was there to be a Medium vs Heavy Tank concept and the all inclusive "Main" tank was needed. The "MBT" concept was born.
Because of this and as a direct result, the Soviets incorporated this concept into the T-54 design being introduced in 1947. The T-54 was to serve as the main tank in the Soviet Army until a revised version of that tank could be introduced. That design came to be known as the T-55, being put into production in 1958. This new variant was gladly received into service with the Soviet Army as their Main Battle Tank and this affected NATO and the US Army in their thinking of how their armored needs would have to change to keep up with this new threat.. As a direct result, the M-48 and eventually the M-60 tank came into being for the US Military.
Essentially, the T-55 is a modern variant of the T-54. The T-55 was a vehicle that was very well thought out. It was simple to maintain and operate and a very effective tank for the Soviet Army. However, upgrades from the original T-55 to the T-55A model incorporated a Nuclear protection theme in the design. The T-55A used what is called as the "POV plasticized lead anti radiation lining". This was developed to provide radiation protection for the crew while the thick armor provided compression protection from the affects of a nuclear blast. So, this tank had increased protection against two of the deadly effects of a Nuclear blast; crushing and traditional effects. Couple this with protection in a design where a Chemical filtration system was used and you have a vehicle that has improved survivability on the battle field, making this new tank a very viable NBC rated vehicle.
The overall length of the T-55A was increased slight over the original T-55 model. There were minor hull configuration changes as well, eliminating the main machine gun which provided space for six more additional rounds for the main weapon. As of today, the T-54/55 variants are some of the most widely produced tank models in the world with many of these being exported to the former Soviet Block countries and those that were friendly to the former Communist Nation.
As with other CD's in the Toadman collection, The CD comes with instructions for MacIntosh Computer users. Simply put, the Autorun feature that is built into the CD does not work with Mac systems. There are instructions for viewing the pictures by clicking on the Title.HTM file. I reviewed this CD-ROM on a Windows XP system and had no problems viewing the material. I will say that my computer system is setup to keep from executing automatically once the CD-ROM drive is read. I do that for security reasons. I therefore had to "surf" the CD-ROM to find the file "Title.HTM" as the CD-ROM is setup with images that are pulled into the Windows Internet Explorer application for display. Here, the user is taken to a menu screen where the following options are available:
Table of Contents (Introduction and Acknowledgments)
Turret Exterior Photos
Hull Exterior Photos
Turret Interior and Fighting Compartment Photos
Driver's Compartment Photos
The Navigation is simple and easy, As with all Toadman CD-ROM layouts, this is a click and "Transport" system where the file is displayed instantaneously on your internet browser. I had no issues at all with the navigation.
I have to say the overall display of the photos is excellent, very typical of the work produced by the Toadman. They are very clear and very detailed and I can tell that Chris has an eye for details and his photography is very well thought out in this presentation format.
This is all of the great shots that I'm going to include here!!! What? Want more? BUY THE CD!!!
I think this CD-ROM is a must for those that want to add to their T-55 reference collection. The only draw back that I can say with sincerity is the Introduction screen on the CD. That screen text is in deep royal blue type font against a background of the photo subject making it very difficult to read in some places. At my age, my eyes strain enough as it is. But, like I've said, this is the only draw back whatsoever!!!!
Do you need quick reference material for that T-55 project? Do yourself a favor and visit www.Toadmanstankpictures.com
for your copy of this awesome CD. What? You think $7.99 is spending too much? Well, trust me, you don't have this CD and you like building post WWII Soviet Armor? Don't let this one go by without getting one. But wait! Christmas time is upon us....Tell the wife or significant other that you want this baby and when she spends $10 which includes the cost of shipping it to you, you'll be happy to wake up Christmas morning and find this in your stocking! Sure beats the heck out of the Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock!
Chris, thanks from all the modelers out there for taking on this assignment to bring us excellent coverage of one of the Soviet Union's most important MBT's of the cold war. AMPS appreciates your affiliation and your review sample that I had the honor of reviewing. I am happy, most happy with your latest work. Keep on bringing us the stuff we want and crave sir!!!