Modern AFV Battle Damage


I’m building a burned out T-55 tank using the Tamiya kit. I do not want to model the interior so no catastrophic explosion with the turret blown off, just a completely burned out relatively intact tank. I will be using two sets of DEF Models T-55 burnt roadwheels, aftermarket tracks, gun barrel, and photoetched grills. My questions concern the actual battle damage. Is there any visual difference from a tank destroyed by a HEAT round from another tank, as opposed to say a TOW missile, Hellfire missile or GAU-8 cannon from an A-10? Do rounds or missiles often leave an exit hole as well as an entry hole, and is the exit hole bigger? Would the tanks suspension collapse? Thank you.

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As you can see on these pictures, the tank’s suspension system has fully collapsed, also, with weapons, such as small ATGMs like LAW rockets, AT-4s SMAWs and the like, they will leave an entry hole about the size of a human fist, with molten metal around the entry hole sine these weapons used a shaped charge that will create a plasma jet that will melt through the steel armor. larger rounds like TOWs or HEAT tank rounds will decimate a tank like a T-55, especially if said vehicles have a full combat load; a KE round impact would not destroy the tank completely, just leave a small entry point, with the round’s kinetic force doing the damage, but leaving the tank relatively complete.

This is a video where an FIM-148 Javelin missile is tested on a target T-72 tank with a full combat load of ammunition inside.

Similar results on a combat loaded T-72 target tank using a BGM-71F TOW missile system with top-attack capability. Again, same result, massive detonation of stored ammunition.

AK Interactive makes a paint kit with all the colors you will need to replicate fire damage on AFVs.

Panzer Art makes a set of “burned out” wheels for T-55 and T-62 tanks that will fit the bill.


Thanks Reynier, appreciate the info.

All your different HEAT type rounds (TOW, Hellfire, etc.) will make a similar hole, just different sizes depending on the size of the warhead.
Same thing with the Armor piercing rounds (SABOT, GAU-8, etc.)
AP rounds will leave a small hole, sometimes with a star pattern, caused by the fins.
They can go all the way through. There is no explosion caused by the round itself.


HEAT rounds burn a hole through the armor, it can also be small. But usually shows signs of melting steel.
There is an explosion on the outside of the vehicle where it hit, with lots of external damage, depending on the size of the warhead, and usually a “spatter” effect around the hole.

Note the spatter on the turret and the damage to the fender.

The catastrophic explosion is caused by the tank’s ammo blowing up, this does not always happen.


Thanks Ken, for the great info. I like the photo of the entry and exit hole caused by the AP round.

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Shaped charged weapons do not burn thru the armor.

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I was trying to keep things simple, just describing the visual effects that would be put into a model.

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