Ref : Tamiya #35257
CMK #3045 T-55AM2 /2B Kladivo
Real Model #RM35090 A5M - T-55 Hammer
Miniarm #B35057 T-55 (late) T-62 workable set and drive sprockets (RMSh)

The T-55 AM2B Kladivo is the improved version of the T-55 AM2 which was developed by Czechoslovakia between 1985 and 1990. Approximately 450 tanks have been built. The Kladivo was better protected thanks to add-on armor under the belly, on the front glacis and the turret front. The upgraded fire control system used a laser rangefinder above the gun mantlet, a wind sensor SDIO on the turret rear and a 1K13 sight enabling the firing by the gun of the 9K116 Bastion antitank missile. The tank carries 38 gun rounds and 5 missiles.
The tank was also fitted with a bank of 8 smoke grenades launchers Tucha, one 7.62mm coaxial MG PKT and one 12.7mm antiaircraft MG DShKM.

The AM2 version was also in service with the East-German army but was not capable of firing the antitank missile. Moreover the East-Germans modified their tanks.
This version has been exported to Sri Lanka, Angola, Yemen, Georgia and Latvia.

The model

To build this conversions, I used the Tamiya kit as a base and mixed the conversions by CMK and Real Model. (See the comparison of both kits in the reviews section) The former is more comprehensive and generally most accurate than the Real Model one. But it still needs an important detailing work to get a model true to life.

Before beginning, you need to choose the final version among three options: a Czech or East-German AM2 and a Czech AM2B.
Having decided to depict a AM2B Kladivo, I modified the Tamiya turret parts B8 and B16 according to the CMK instructions. It is necessary to cut away the right fenders.

The turret

Before assembling the parts of the conversion, you need to represent the chamfer at the base of the turret and drill the air inlet of the right side.
The difficulties  come with the fitting of the gun mantlet. None is accurate so I chose the CMK one which is too narrow but appears to be the most correct. I rebuild the front part of the laser rangefinder housing. You need to drill the hole to install the gun. It will be set later. The photoetched latches for the thermal sleeve must be dry fitted as the order of fitting does not match the instructions.
The armor blocks are the Real Model ones. They are molded solid with the brackets welded to the turret. Moreover they present the rough cast effect. The left one also has the cut-out for the driver's head.
On the right block, you need to add the wiring for the small IR light.
The large IR light is modified. Its  rear face has small fins and a power socket.

Unlike the drawings of the instructions, you must not utilize the hand rails of Tamiya. On the Czech AM2, they are either of a different shape or located elsewhere.

On the turret roof, you need to add the power cable for the smoke-grenades launcher. In front of the commander hatch, the light bracket is detailed and the 1K13 sight is glued. The photoetched part for the glass is too large. So the flap is glued closed.
The loader hatch is too short. A strip of plastic is glued to its front. The base for the MG pedestal comes from the Real Model conversion as it is more detailed.

The rear of the turret requires a lot of work. It is necessary to have a good documentation to avoid mistakes. First, there is only  one lifting hook on the turret. It is centered. The convoy light C59 must not be glued as per the Tamiya instructions. It is cut and glued along the SDIO wind sensor bracket. The base of the wind sensor has legs welded to the turret. They are represented with bits of Evergreen rod. All the wiring is made with brass wire. A light is added to the left of the sensor.
To complete the rear part, it is necessary to make the MG travel support.
The numerous ammunition boxes with their fabric covers are issued in resin with photoetched straps. Unfortunately, the straps are too short for the boxes. So I used the Tamiya boxes.

The lower hull

It requires very few extra work. In fact you just have to glue the belly armor plate. The running gear is not installed at this stage. The Miniarm tracks are assembled but will be installed only at the end of the build. Although they are workable, they are very fragile and the retaining pins can be easily broken.
The rear panel is detailed with a square hatch bolted between the fuel drums brackets. The latter are provided in resin by CMK but I preferred the Tamiya ones for their better fit. However you have to detail them.

The upper hull

The front part is quite easy. The armor block is the Real Model one. Indeed, it fits better and presents the large bolts on the sides of the front face. The front of the block must be shortened by 2mm as it overhangs too much.
The headlights protection cage is modified. The headlights are mounted to the vertical posts like the real ones. The power cable is added. The convoy lights are modified too. On the Czech tanks, the base is a kind of tube welded to the hull.
The driver vision blocks cleaning system is added.

On the front fenders, you have to put on the right two spare track links and on the left hooks for transportation by railway. The latter are made from plastic card as the CMK resin part is way oversized.

The rear deck requires a large amount of work. CMK, in fact Eduard, provides a great number of photoetched parts which are useful to represent the various grilles open. For those who want to depict them close, the Real Model resin part is a good base.
The engine grilles are too wide. Their frames must be thinned to be adapted to the Tamiya part. Each flap consists of two parts to give some thickness. A thin strip of plastic is glued around the transmission grilles to create the missing relief of the photoetched parts.
All the hinges for the flaps must be added. For the transmission flaps, you have to add at the rear of the engine deck the retaining hooks which hold the flaps open.
Between the both engine grille, they is a plate with 4 bolts. On the Czech vehicles, there are 12 bolts. The missing bolts are made from plastic rod.
At the end, an oval bolted plate is added as well as two bits of tube in front of the right fuel drum brackets.

The fenders require a bit of detailing work. you have to add the fuel piping and take into account those which run to the fuel drums. So the fuel circuit is different from the one usually found on the T-55s. The fuel tanks latches are made from plastic strips.
Behind the front tank, there is a stowage box of the same type as the one on the left rear fender. It comes from my spare parts box. The oil tank is moved onto the exhaust cover.
Do not use the CMK parts PUR10 as they represent OMSh spare track links.

The build ends with the side skirts. The Real Model parts are the good size but are wrong. They are modified copies of T-72 skirts. The CMK ones are quite accurate but are badly warped and the left one is too short. So I cut the portions to straighten them more easily. Some details have been added. The rubber parts have been made from plastic card. Each photoetched strap is first dry fitted as you can't rely on the instructions.
Concerning the upper portions, the photoetched parts are used on the right side. On the left one, you have to make the portion in front of the exhaust and cut the one behind it.

The decoration

CMK provides decals for a Czech version and a East-German one. Unfortunately I lost my decals so I used decals coming from the Kagero book about the BMP-2.

For the painting, the base color is Tamiya XF-58 Olive Green. To create some shade variations I applied some oil dots which are then drawn downward. A wash of black and umber is applied to give some depth.
Finally the mud is made with a mixture of various pigments and white spirit which is splattered with an old tooth brush.


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