MiniArts’ 35th scale T-55 Iraqi T-55 AL FAW/Enigma. Soviet Made Base

MiniArt's 35th scale T-55 Iraqi T-55 AL FAW/Enigma. Soviet Made Base

See more about this “Enigma” in our preview…

Preview update: MiniArt’s 35th scale T-55 Iraqi T-55 AL FAW/Enigma. See more about this “Enigma” in our preview…

Preview update: MiniArt’s 35th scale T-55 Iraqi T-55 AL FAW/Enigma. Soviet Made Base

T-55 Iraqi T-55 AL FAW/Enigma. Soviet Made Base

From MiniArt

1/35th scale

Kit No#37095

Two marking choices in this box

The Subject: the Iraqi T-55 AL FAW/Enigma. In 1973, Iraq purchased 300 T55 tanks to replace the tanks lost during the Yom Kippur War. It also acquired 1500 Chinese Type 59/Type 69 tanks and 1500 T-55 tanks from Poland and Soviet Union in the 1980s. The Iran-Iraq War, which took place from 1980 to 1988, saw a large number of tanks destroyed. By the 1980s, aside from having outdated firepower, T-55 tanks’ protection was laughable. They developed a kit in order to improve this. The Warsaw Pact M-series armour upgrades for T-55s and T-62s were clearly the inspiration behind this armor kit. It combined steel plates with polyurethane to stop HEAT projectiles. Iraqis knew the potential danger of these weapons, but their technology was severely limited. The turret armor boxes were made of 5mm steel and five or six composite plates. Five or six such composite plates formed the inside of the turret armor boxes made of 5mm steel plates.

T-55 Iraqi T-55 AL FAW/Enigma at the Aberdeen proving ground in the USA

The armor kit for the T-55 and its Chinese clones, consisted of:

-Turret front: additional armor on both sides

-Turret rear: extended armor acting as a counterweight to the additional frontal armor, keeping the turret balanced

-Hull front: additional armor kit

-Hull sides: thick boxy “skirts” on the frontal part of the tank’s flanks

-Armored housing for the tank’s searchlight and IR light

The turret armour lifted to show thickness.

The entire kit weighed roughly 4 tons, adding approximately 10 percent of extra weight to the tank carrying it without any engine power increase, leading – allegedly – to somewhat reduced mobility and reliability. First prototype of the kit was displayed to the public around 1988/89. It is believed that it was based off a Type 69. The kit lacked a turret weight counterweight, but it had two smoke grenade launchers. This was not available on the production variant. Unknown numbers of T-55 (or Chinese version) tanks were then modified. Estimates range between 8 and 12 vehicles. The Enigma tank at Bovington Tank Museum

Their designation is not known, but some sources claim that the Iraqis called them “Al Faw”. T-55 Enigma is an unofficial name that likely came about after Operation Desert Storm, when news of the tanks began to reach the West and no one knew exactly what it was. The name was adopted. As they say, the rest is history. All Enigmas were lost in the invasion of Iraq by the Coalition. These tanks weren’t very useful as combat vehicles. These tanks were only deployed in one battle – the Battle of Khaffji, in late January 1992, as part of the 5th Iraqi Mechanized Division – where they did not make a difference. After all, underneath the massive-looking armor upgrade, the Enigma was still an obsolete T-55.

The counterweight is installed on the turret

However, the armor upgrade itself might have not been as useless as the Iraqi military performance would suggest. According to several reports, the tank is actually quite resistant against MILAN ATGMs. It is hard to say how much is accurate. Other reports do mention them exploding just like any other obsolete Soviet tech on the battlefield.

Whether the Iraqis believed the upgrade was actually viable is an interesting topic though. Before the invasion of Iraq, the author had the opportunity to speak with an individual stationed there who told him a fascinating story. The Iraqis, according to the story of this man who was stationed in the Middle East before invasion received 125mm kinetic round with cores made from soft steel. They then fired these shells at an upgraded “T-55” which resisted them well, leading the Iraqis to overestimate its effectiveness. Such naivety was allegedly not uncommon in the Middle East.

A knocked out Enigma after the Battle of Khafji.

Regardless, at least five Enigmas are confirmed to have been knocked out by the Coalition forces and were subsequently recovered as military trophies. One is located in Bovington. Another is situated in Aberdeen. The third is found in Fort Knox. Two others are said to be in France or Kuwait. After the end of the Gulf War, the Enigmas were never used again and became one of the better known symbols of that particular conflict.

Iraqi tanks after the Battle of Khafji – T-55 and Al Faw.

The Kit from MiniArt: MiniArt’s 35th scale T-55 Iraqi T-55 AL FAW/Enigma. This kit is based on the Soviet-built T-55. It features clear parts and individual track links. All of the hatches can be posed open or closed, there are two marking choices from the well-known variants seen in the Gulf War.

CAD images of the kit in a walk around…

…and in closer detail.

The sprue layout:

Detailed, with all of the parts that you might need without all that extra aftermarket that you had to include in the past. This kit’s plastic parts look pretty suitable for a detailed build.

There is some photo-etch for this kit, pretty standard stuff without going overboard.

Transparent parts for vision blocks etc…

There are two marking choices for this kit – one, the standard desert sand, and the other an already controversial three tone camouflage…

This kit from MiniArt will soon be available – Until then, keep an eye on the

or just look in here for more info on MiniArt’s new stuff.

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