The Soviet Army like most modern armies uses a number of specialist equipments to provide their Combat Engineering support. These cut across the mobility and counter mobility tasks and include minelaying, minefield breaching, bridging and the provision of field defences and obstacles.
The MT 55 Bridge Layer is one of a number of bridging equipments used and is based on the T-55 hull. There were 3 of these in the Engineer Company of a TR and 1 in a MRR these would be either MTUs or MT 55. The Vehicle was a Czeck designed scissors bridge with a 16m gap crossing capability and was one of the few Warsaw pact designed equipments to enter service with the Soviet Army. Around 1,700 were produced between 1969 and 1983. I am not aware of any other kit manufacturer making one of these, so if you are into Soviets and need some AVLB capability you'll probably be making a beeline for Shaun's MT55.
The model is excellent, it comprises some 17 white metal and resin parts including the bridge laid ready for crossing. It is somewhat more complex than many of Shaun's other kits and the studying of photos before assembly is highly recommended. The hull, bridge sections and tracks are cast in resin whilst the various spars and hydraulic rams are cast in white metal. The casting of both the metal parts and the resin parts is excellent with only small amounts of filler required on the hull front.
The stowed bridge consists of the left and right sponsons the hydraulic ram, hinges and the spars that link the two sponsons together. The white metal spars are fairly soft and if two much pressure is applied during assembly can deform so some degree of care is requiered.
The Ram assembly is fairly straight forward and I have avoided permanent attachment to the hull so that the stowed bridge can be removed when the equipment is laid.
The hull assembly whilst straight forward again requires some photographic study as the detailed location of the forward supports is not clear on the model.
This model is one of Shaun's best to my mind the hull is excellent and the bridge quite outstanding with the whole assembly conveying the mass of the real equipment
I'll be finishing it in vajello Russian green and will post it with pictures of my other engineer assets when complete.