Despite the tales of woe coming from the article, it looks to me as if things aren't quite that bad.
I could be horribly wrong, but I think that Trumpeter got hold of a plan and scaled it up so that the BODY is 1/35 of 5000mm long. As it is the body plus the spare wheel that is 5000mm overall, this had the effect of over-enlarging the plans by 6%.
The body does not look distorted to me, just too big (around 1/33 scale).
The solution, if one seeks to use the kit, is to use 54mm figures (or 1/32).
Alternatively, many 1/35 figures would be fine, as Mr. Google says that many Russians in 1950 were shorter than current average height!
A disappointing screw-up by Trumpeter, but I have to say that the kit is generally very good, and I am doing one for an article in Tamiya Magazine.
MAFVA Information Officer