Takom- T-55AD "Drozd"
The T-55 is an iconic tank and one that is considered to be the most produced tank type in history. Since the development of the MBT at the close of WWII, these tanks have constantly adapted new improved weapons, powerpacks, and protections as combat has also evolved. While these tanks continue to serve to this day, they have also been the foundation of other variants of ARVs, APCs, and AVLBs.
Development of the Drozd active tank defense system began in 1977 as an alternative to more passive or reactive armor defense systems. It consists of two launcher arrays on either side of the turret and an auxiliary power unit mounted onto the rear of the turret. Each launcher array consists of four launch tubes with a Doppler radar sensor array mounted above the tubes. The radar sensor arrays actively emit a radio frequency beam forward of the tank. The auxiliary power unit can provide power to the system and can surge up to a maximum of 800 watts for short-periods of time. The radar is gated to acquire targets moving at speeds of between 70 to 700 meters per second. On acquiring the incoming slow-moving projectile, the Drozd's analog computer determines which of the eight KAZ projectiles to launch. The radar system determines the range of the incoming missile or rocket, and the computer calculates when to fire the KAZ projectile. The KAZ is launched to intercept the enemy missile at a variable range from 2.7 to 7 meters from the tank. The KAZ projectile is 107 millimeters in diameter, weighs 9 kilograms and is rocket boosted out of the tube with an initial velocity of 190 meters per second. The high explosive warhead has a pre-fragmented steel casing, which on detonation breaks up into 3 gram slugs travelling at 1,600 meters per second. The launcher arrays are configured to cover 80 degrees in azimuth, and -6 to +20 degrees in elevation.
While the Russian Army lost interest in the concept, the Soviet Naval Infantry were intriqued as their size fit amphibious ships and landing crafts much better than the T-62 and T-72 MBTs. Limited production of the Drozd lasted from 1981-82 with less than 300 tanks outfitted. In the late 80s when Kontakt-1 reactive armor became available, the Naval Infantry began to use tanks outfitted with more practical and less expensive reactive armor, but small quantities were exported to other Western European countries, China, and one "undisclosed" Middle Eastern country.
This kit has its origins from the 2016 Takom T-55 AM kit (#2041), and while it does share some sprues with that kit, there is plenty of new plastic in this release to make it stand out. Let's dive in to the contents inside...
Sprue A (x2) consists of the road wheels, idlers, sprockets, and suspension arms.
Sprue B (x4) contains the separate treads for the road wheels which ought to make painting the road wheels easy...
Sprue C (x2) contains the fuel tank barrels and assorted brackets, tow cable ends, and lots of tiny bits.
Another larger Sprue B- a newer one- contains the parts for the Drozd additional parts- including the arrays and auxillary power among other bits.
Sprue E contains the fenders, rear plate, louvers, and an unditching log.
Sprue H contains turret details, the two main gun barrel halves, hatches, and the like.
Sprue J contains fuel tanks, upper hull plate and details, final drive covers, and other details.
J2 contains more turret details fuel tank lines, and the turret base.
Sprue K has more turret details and the DShKM gun...
Sprue L contains fenders, glacis, and a .50 caliber machine gun.
Individual track links are on 10 sprues of 20 and look nice, although the back sides have slight ejection marks which will take some time to sand down all of them...
The turret has great details- with slight texture and subtle weld lines...and a vinyl mantlet dust cover was also inside.
The lower hull tub is marked as the same type from the 2041 kit but looks great...
A PE sheet of brackets and engine screens, a clear sprue of lenses, and a twisted wire cable are also included...as well as decals for the two included schemes.
The manual is typical of Takom kits and has the sprue map and then 38 steps of instructions. There is a color page of the two included schemes, but no information of specific unit designations or time periods listed. I know there weren't many in operation, but a Naval Infantry scheme would have been a neat addition. Possibly one or both of the schemes are Naval Infantry but I'll need to do some research to find out.
The line of Takom T-55s has been a treat to see released and this little known variant is no exception. Parts are crisply detailed with any sink marks (except those on the tracks) well hidden on the interior surfaces. Hatches have nice interior detail- but there are no interior parts worth having them opened up. The decals are minimal- which is understandable with so few put into production, but I would have appreciated at least one Soviet Naval Infantry scheme. A good recent reference I plan on using for this build was put out in 2019 by our own Cookie Sewell.
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders, pending full build.
Thanks goes out to Takom for this review kit.
Reviewed by Michael Reeves
If you liked this review, consider joining AMPS. Your annual membership
includes six copies of AMPS's magazine, Boresight,
and helps to support our ongoing reviews.
Click here for more information about joining AMPS