The Israeli armed forces have proved themselves very effective when it comes to facing off against the various Arab armies that surround them. The Israelis have also shown themselves to be great recyclers of captured military hardware and for that matter upgrading and repurposing their own military hardware as it becomes obsolete. MiniArt
has taken the opportunity to alter their T-54 offering with interior into the Tiran 4 spec used by the Israelis from all of the captured T-54 stock they had.
’s release of the T-54 Tiran 4 is packaged in a substantial cardboard tray with a card lid. There is a huge amount of plastic inside the box packed inside three plastic bags, there is so much plastic in fact that I defy anyone to get it all back in the box once unpacked unless kept in order. Also packaged as part of this offering is a large photo etched fret with some nice detail parts and decals for four different finished vehicles, two versions covered are Israeli vehicles and the other two are South Lebanon Army vehicles. The photo etched fret is protected by a card envelope which seems to be working well for MiniArt
This offering from MiniArt
is the interior kit offering but it needs to be remembered that it is not a full interior model offering, the gearbox/drive of the kit is not included in the offering and there may be other elements missing that I am not aware of. An examination of the contents reveals only one major concern to me as a modeller and that is the very fine nature of some of the mouldings that will be difficult to remove without causing damaging or breaking them. With that said if they are removed with great care they will add some very nice detail to the finished model, I would more likely use items such as fuel lines as guides for making metal replacements.
The sprue guise at the front of the instructions covers two full pages and I am sure you will not be surprise that there are a number of parts marked as not used in this example of the model and that includes a whole new turret. I will say that kits with interiors are a double edged sword for me in so much as I like the added detail but do not like tackling elements that cannot or will not be seen on the finished model with of course having cut up the armour elements. So with that said the areas that interest me are the drivers’ position, the engine bay and the turret interior, areas that can be easily observed.
The engine of the model is very nice in my opinion with the addition of some cables in the form of wire to finish the detail to a nice degree. I like the inclusion of the engine as it can be easily seen if the modeller leaves the hatches open and which are supplied as separate items in the offering. The drivers’ position in the hull has been well catered to and will look good regardless of if you add a figure to the area or it is just viewed though the open hatch, MiniArt
has even provided a photo etched gate detail for the gear changer/shifter. The rest of the interior of the hull is primarily shell storage and I like this because I would most likely use the shells outside being loaded into the tank or stored ready for utilization. The floor and firewall also have nice detail that may be partially seen through the turret hatches.
The suspension of the model can be left moveable if desired and so the model can be displayed naturally on an uneven surface. The tracks being supplied as individual links also add to the ease in which the way the model sits will look natural. The wheels and drive wheels look good and as far as I can see were used on the vehicle by the Israelis. The wheels have also been designed in a way that they will rotate, while I can see a point to the drive wheel being moveable to make feeding the tracks onto the model easier I see no reason or benefit to the rest of the wheels being able to rotate.
The panels that make to top of the hull are supplied in a number of pieces and so some though has been put into the model by MiniArt
to make displaying the model in a sort of exploded view if desired, but that is not an aspect I look for. I am pleased to see the effort put into the engine as regards the vents as these have been supplied in photo etch and MiniArt
has gone to a lot of effort where the rear most vents are concerned. The track guards are an area of the model that will please the detail fans out there but likely make a number of others swear about the number parts used here. The detail and effort put into these two areas of the model is fantastic in my opinion and at the same time daunting, my biggest fear here is the fuel line that go to and from the fuel tanks positioned along the track guards which due to being fine will be easy to break.
The turret is the area of the model that interests me most as being able to have the turret hatches open without fear of an empty space being displayed, the level of detail looks incredible and should please modellers of all skill levels and requirements. I am no expert by any means but I cannot see anything that is obviously missing from the turret interior. Looking at the exterior of the turret I am especially impressed with the machine guns that are mounted on the turret, sure they could be improved with metal barrels or after market resin offerings but it is not a necessary step. I also like that the aerials are supplied in the box as these are hard items to get right from stretched sprue in both form and length.
The four finishing options provided by MiniArt
IDF training unit of the Lebanese tankman, Desert Negev, early 80’s
South Lebanon Army (SLA), Operation ‘Peace for Galilee’ June to September 1982
South Lebanon Army 80’s
I am quite pleased with the effort MiniArt
has put into this model and also that they have chosen to provide the modeller with a family of T-55 tanks and their variants. The interior is something that I can take or leave and I will likely only add the areas that can be seen with the hatches open. I am possibly most pleased with the moveable suspension and individual track links.
Due to not being an expert I have provided a link below to a thread on Armorama discussing the highs and the lows of the model.
Miniart Tiran 4