BTR-70 - Soviet Armored Personnel Carrier
Manufacturer: Planet Models (Kit No. MV 002)
This is an outstanding kit and an excellent choice of subject. Kits of modern Soviet hardware are seriously lacking in the small scale armor industry, so this is a welcome addition. The kit is composed of eleven resin parts: the main hull of the vehicle, the turret, the cannon and eight wheels. There is also a fret of 19 photoetched parts, mainly handholds and foot rungs.
At first glance, I had thought that the detail on the resin parts was flat, and unimpressive, but in retrospect, I think that illusion was due to the light-colored and somewhat transluscent resin. In fact, the detail on this kit is top-notch, and after a good wash and drybrushing, looks outstanding.
The quality of the resin is excellent. It held the detail exceptionally well, and had no air bubbles, or other imperfections. The pour-block for the hull was attached to the rear face of the hull, and consequently, there was no detail on this surface. After looking at several photos, I added two access hatches from sheet styrene to this rear face, and there were also two brass pieces to attach, which represent a water propulsion unit. Underneath the front lip of the vehicle is another perfectly smooth face, so I added another small access hatch and two tow hooks from my spares box.
Construction of the kit was straight-forward. Glue the cannon to the turret, the turret to the hull and the wheels to their respective axles. There are six brass foot rungs and six hand holds to add to the sides of the hull, and two headlight guards to attach over the three headlights, which are molded onto the hull. Also, there were two protective frames that had to be folded into shape and glued to the engine deck around the intake vents.
I must profess my ignorance concerning the purpose of the final brass piece, which is some sort of hinged plate that attaches to the front lip of the vehicle. I believe it is meant to block water from splashing up into the driver's viewports while in the water.
There was only one problem that I encountered during the construction of the kit: the wheel axles (which are molded onto the hull) are not centered properly within their wheel wells. Thus, the wheels do not fit within the wheel wells. I had to cut off the axles, and re-attach them in a more centered position. Although this was a very simple task, I wonder how that particular flaw got past the design stage of this kit.
I had some trouble figuring out how the front "splash guard" attached to the hull. I examined as many photos as I could find of this vehicle on the 'net, and finally decided on a position, but I'm not sure if it's correct. The instructions, which were otherwise quite clear, could have been more helpful for this piece.
Alterations and additions I made to the kit were few. As I mentioned, I added some detail on the rear face of the hull, and some tow hooks. I also added a coaxial machinegun for the turret, three lift rings on the turret made from wire, and I substituted thin brass rod for the photoetched hand holds. I thought the photoetch was too 2-dimensional.
No decals are provided in the kit. Two painting options are described in the instructions, one for a Guards parade vehicle in Moscow (painted dark green with white trim, with a Guards emblem on the turret), and the other for the Afghan War in 1985 (light grey with dark green wavy camouflage). The drawing for the latter vehicle shows a spare wheel on top of the turret, but one is not included with the kit. The actual Afghan colors should be green with wavy gray camouflage, opposite what the instruction show.
In conclusion, I am very impressed with this kit. It was only the second complete resin kit I've built, and it was a very simple project. Planet Models did an outstanding job with this vehicle, and even without the few minor changes I made to my kit, it builds into an excellent model. My only reservation is my lack of knowledge on the subject, so I cannot comment on the accuracy (or lack of) of the kit.
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