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Cobi Blocks Small Army T-54 Product Review
A quick review of Cobi's new T-54 kit.
About this creation
I'm not dead (At least not on the outside lol) and I'm back with yet another review of a Cobi kit, this time one I've been waiting for since I emailed them about it two and a half years ago...

The T-54..





Standard Cobi box art, although this time in their standard 'Small Army' theme, not 'Small Army WWII'...













The Build:

The build for the hull is straight forward. That said the front plate is a bit more complex than first looks but not a difficult build either. Of note is that under the front plate are new 1x3 plate which have studs, but their plate thickness is the same as a Lego plate used for building sideways. You know how the bottom of the plate is a normal plates thickness, but the sideways portion is about half as thick? They are as thick as the thin part of those pieces... These plates allow you to potentially make connections without needing more sideways building plates.

But where this kit shines is the turret, it's about 6 mini builds that come together into the shape of the turret. They break them down in a way that is easy for kids to understand but had they just gone for one big turret build this could have been fairly challenging.

Play:

This kit features no hatches aside from the turret hatches. Instead this kit is adorned with quite the number of prints for the drivers hatch and the rear deck hatches. With handle bar prints on the turret and a number print on the front left.

The turret does rotate, and the gun elevates and depresses. Although the gun has quite the range of depression (Wish it had that in World of Tanks) and the tracks roll smooth.

Overall it does lack some of the play features of the other kits because of a lack of drivers hatch with space for driver, and a lack of hull hatches with an engine inside.

Design:

Lets be honest, it's kinda hard to mess up the hull of the T-54. That said there is no angled lower plate, just a vertical face. Granted this is for sturdily mounting the front idlers, but still. The rear is also fairly barren of any details other than that glorious log of Soviet Stalinwood, as well as mounting points for tow cables, and external drop off tanks. However aside from those two things the hull is nicely designed. It's sturdy, almost to a fault. and the details on the track overhanging fenders are a nice touch. Especially the right rear fuel tanks with their curves.

The turret is what makes or breaks most T-54/55 kits and MOCs (My own MOC included) and Cobi have done a very reasonable job replicating its design thanks to the use of their many designs of curved pieces that they make coupled with an intricate (By Cobi standards) build throughout the turret.

That said it has a couple of notable issues:

- The Commanders hatch opens backwards when it should open forwards to shield the commander.
- The machine gun on top used to represent the DSHK is a laughable attempt at best.
- The hatch openings only allow figures to stand, they cannot sit in the turret.

Now with that said, if you flip the Commanders hatch around the right way you actually can't see the commander from the front with the hatch open because the hatch is too big, so with that in mind I can understand that choice, but the DSHK impersonation isn't understandable considering they've made more detailed machine guns in the past (Just look at the one on the IR Challenger I.)


Below are a couple of simple modifications I did to see how versatile this kit could be...

T-44 Modification:

The T-44 modification was simple enough, remove the rear fuel tanks, and replace the T-54 turret with the turret from the T-34-85 'Rudy' kit and there you go...











T-55A Modification:

This one was a bit more extensive as I did a couple of things...

- Added another headlight to the front.
- Replaced the 2x2 dome tile on top of the turret with a 2x2 flat tile to mimic the distinctive feature between the T-54 and T-55: No dome on T-55 because the dome breaks the NBC protection.
- Remodeled the gun to feature the fume extractor.
- Added a Brickarms 12.7mm DSHK Heavy Machine Gun.
- Replaced the fog lamp with an IR lamp.
- Added a spotlight to the top of the commanders hatch.












In the end, I thought this may be something to finally trump the Tiger 131, but I cannot say that considering some design issues including the lack of play-ability. The Tiger had similar issues with a lack of engine compartment, but even it had hull hatches for crew. Which means that even the T-34-85 Rudy beats it, but its design is far more refined than the M24 Chaffee...

The price for me on ebay including shipping from Poland was $45.00 USD, so not bad...

So with that said, I give the T-54 kit a respectable 7.8/10...
With T-44 Modifications a good 8/10...
And with T-55A Modifications a solid 8.15/10...

Maybe in the World of Tanks line Cobi can make a T-55A kit of their own fixing some issues of this current iteration?

Who knows...



Comments

 I made it 
  December 15, 2018
Quoting Ed A Nice review. The set is way more thought out than the set I picked up from Century Bricks a few years ago. http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?i=949011
Oof... Yeah now that Cobi has really starting getting into real military designs and have been improving over the past couple years it's really them or Brickmania, and even then Brickmania is really more for the hardcore purist as the Cobi kits for the price are more than good enough...
  December 15, 2018
Nice review. The set is way more thought out than the set I picked up from Century Bricks a few years ago. http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?i=949011
 
By killswitch95 (Last Name is Dank AF)
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Added November 19, 2018
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