Kits T-55AM2 comparison review

Real Models RM35090 A5M "Hammer"
CMK 3045 T-55AM2 / 2B Kladivo

1. Kits description

11. Real Models

The kit comprises 25 parts in a green resin : the barrel with the thermal sleeve, the glacis add-on armor, the turret front armor blocks, the side skirts in 2 parts, the gun mantlet with the laser rangefinder, the engine hatches in 3 parts, the wind sensor, a new loader hatch in 2 parts, 6 ammo boxes for the loader MG and 2 connectors for the fuel drums.

The A4 instruction sheet shows BW pictures of the completed model with the parts number shown.

12. CMK

The kit comprises 59 resin parts of which the belly armor, the smoke dischargers, spare track links, hollow fuel drums with their thin brackets, the 1K13 sight for the AM2B version. In addition, there is a metal barrel, 95 PE parts made by Eduard, 1 sheet of decals.

The 8-page instructions booklet presents the 7 building steps with clear drawings plus the painting and decaling step. A short series of BW pictures of the real vehicle is issued.

2. Kits comparison

21. The turret

RM barrel is molded with the thermal sleeve on. The details are very crisp. It is too short by 2mm with an oversized muzzle, the caliber would be larger than 105mm. CMK turned metal barrel is a bit longer than the reputedly correct Tamiya barrel (1mm)and is too thin for having a thermal sleeve. The muzzle has a correct outer dimension but is too narrow inside ! The caliber would be closer to 90mm. The thermal sleeves straps are on the PE sheet.

The side armor blocks are quite identical. CMK separately issue the mounting brackets on the turret as well as the lifting eyes. Some PE parts complement the blocks. RM has represented the cast texture as well as the recessed part in the left block which was omitted by CMK. But this will be easy to fix. No maker provides the small IR light bracket on the right block.

The mantlet and the laser rangefinder come as a single part for both brands. CMK one is too thin which creates a gap between its sides and the Tamiya turret. Moreover the rangefinder overall shape is incorrect. RM part better represents the rangefinder and perfectly fits the turret. But, the dust cover lacks of details.

The wind sensor comes in 3 parts in the CMK kit and is wider which sticks more to the real one. Furthermore, this choice enables to build the sensor in the lowered position. The single RM part is too thin but the base has the rods to fix it on the turret.

The turret accessories common to both the kits are a new loader hatch, a stowage box and ammo boxes for the DShKM MG. RM hatch is closer to the real one. The MG support details are well represented while they are simplified in the CMK part. The hinge is well located, CMK set it too far rearward.

The ammo boxes are wrapped in a piece of fabric and have a recessed stripe to locate the PE strap. RM has integrally copied CMK parts but there is no PE straps in the kit !

The biggest problem with RM is the omission of the smoke dischargers. All AM2 versions are fitted with them. CMK issued the tubes hollow with separate caps.

CMK also provided the 1K13 sight designed for the AM2B version to fire the Bastion missile.

Each manufacturer gives a rolled tarpaulin to fix at the turret back but both omitted a hand grab on the left side just behind the armor block.

22. The hull

The front armor blocks are quite similar. CMK added the wiring for the headlights and RM added the towing hooks. Both parts dimensions enable a perfect fitting to the hull. One must add the 2 large "bolts" on the front face ends. CMK only provides the belly armor. Even if it is not really visible, it is a feature of the AM2.

The side skirts are the "black sheep" of both kits. CMK provides them in 4 parts which are quite well reproduced. They are very thin and complemented with PE parts. RM provides them in 2 parts but they are a slightly modified copy of the Tamiya T-72 ones and thus are not accurate for a T-55AM2. In particular, the hinges are totally different. But the worst error of both manufacturers is that the gap for the exhaust does not match it. In the two kits, it is too far forward which will require a lot of work to fix this.

The rear deck is modified to represent the Czech version. RM gives 3 resin parts (with a perfect fit to the Tamiya hull) that are well represented including the inner faces. CMK opted for PE to represent the rear deck and so it will require more work as to get a realistic thickness several parts have to be glued one to another. The good side is that CMK providing the engine grilles too, the protections can be set in the raised position.

CMK also provides several accessories like the hollow droppable fuel drums with their ends in PE and their brackets, spare track links (incorrect as they should be of the RMSh type) and their supports.

23. The instruction sheet

RM one is too simplified with one sheet of BW pictures of the finished model and no explanation about the building and the modifications to do on the Tamiya kit.

CMK instructions are excellent. They are clear and show the modifications to the Tamiya kit according to the 4 possible versions to build, AM1, Czech AM2, East German AM2 and AM2B. They give the measures to locate precisely the turret armor blocks.

3. Conclusion

Both kits allow to build without difficulty a AM2 but for a similar price CMK gets the advantage due to the superior number of parts and the quality of the instructions. Some corrections should be done though.

For those choosing the simplicity, the RM kit will do the trick but the lack of smoke dischargers will oblige to scratch build them as they are clearly visible. The lack of the belly armor is of less importance.

In any case, don't forget to replace the tracks by T-72 ones and to modify the sprocket that has 14 teeth instead of 13 and is not correct for a T-72 sprocket !