In the past couple of weeks I’ve reviewed, built and now completed a pre-production example of OKB Grigorov’s first full plastic kit, the US light tank M24 Chaffee.
As I have demonstrated in the posts so far, the pre-release communication from the company and some of its friends and loyal customers has been 100% correct: what you see is a complete plastic kit with high level of detail, representing particular features of the actual vehicle, and with minimal compromise with fidelity despite the small scale.
The Soviet BRDM-2 family of vehicles (Boyevaya Razvedyvatelnaya Dozornaya Mashina, Russian for “Combat Reconnaissance/Patrol Vehicle”) is based on an armored 7-ton, 4-wheel drive amphibious chassis.
It features a pair of retractable chain-driven wheels on each side, that can be lowered to help with trench crossing. The most numerous variant features a cupola with a 14.5mm KPVT machine gun with a coaxial PKT 7.62mm which is available in the S-Model kit. The chassis also was used as a basis for chemical recce machine, a command vehicle, a short range surface-to-air missile (quadruple 9K31 Strela) and an ATGM carrier with quintuple 9M113 Konkurs launcher, known as the 9P148 that you also see featured here.
The BMPT (marketing callsign “Terminator”) is a Russian fighting vehicle, based off a T-72/T-90 chassis with a 5-man crew. It is intended as an urban warfare vehicle supporting main battle tanks and infantry. Armament consists of
4 Ataka ATGMs on the turret sides (up to 6km range),
two 30 mm 2A42 cannons (known from the BMP-2) in the center,
and a PKTM machine gun (7,62x54mm) at the top.
Two AGS-17 grenade launchers in the front sponsons further add to the firepower.
The machine is clad into reactive and bar armor from all sides, and the kit represents that very well. Not everyone “gets” the vehicle (even the Russian MoD hasn’t ordered any), so the only customer to date is Kazakhstan. Since I am tired of seeing the same 2 examples in reports from arms expos and the thing looks a bit too post-apocaliptic – I devised a scheme of my own. Markings come from Dragon Humvee set and a Space Marine set.
2 years later than the actual completion date I am finally uploading a gallery of my rendition. It was an absolute joy to build bar the tracks which can be easily broken when trying to bend them around the wheels.
The kit is built mostly OOB except
OKB Grigorov’s T-90 tracks,
copper cable for the lower rims of the fuel drums on the back,
decals from New Penguin’s Airborne Combat Vehicles Markings set 72002,
and 0,3mm brass rod antenna, which I bent numerous times during the first week. I got so angry I placed the model in a box so I don’t do it again.
It’s been some time since an aircraft has been featured on this site, so here’s one completed last year. It’s LS’s ancient 1/144 F-15A, later packed by Academy/Minicraft (and perhaps a few other companies. Inside you will discover a rather schematic scaled-down version of the famous aircraft. Panel lines are engraved, but are deep and wide, especially so in the vertical stabilizers.
There are no pylons whatsoever. Armament is limited to 4xAIM-7 Sparrows, there is no centerline hardpoint/wetpoint with fuel tank, and no trace of Sidewinders at all. No cockpit is provided, there is a transparent canopy that covers the nothing underneath. No probes or antennae whatsoever, and you can forger about the dropped flaps on the boxart.
Below is the galery of the completed model. It’s painted in a number of Revell enamel greens – various mixtures of ##48, 65-69 and 361 to simulate faded paint, areas where water of fuel accumulated, crew walked (or couldn’t, e.g. around the edges of the hatches and the hinges). Edges and certain areas were highlighted with green pastel chalks, then some Promodeller washes to pop the details. Decals do silver, because I did not gloss the surface underneath them.
Bronco have done a fantastic job on the kit, which does not have any assembly issues, or serious problems with accuracy. Building is very easy for such a large and well-detailed kit thanks to clever engineering; assembly process is supported very well by the instruction booklet (although several views of the completed steps wouldn’t have hurt). Outside the erroneous “cast surface” effect on the superstructure and the ejector pin marks on the fenders I don’t really have anything to complain about this kit. If I have the opportunity – I would build another one without any hesitation.
Using OKB Grigorov’s resing parts has been very easy. In fact with the help of a hair drier I was able to bend the track run around the wheels and get some sag on the track. The track run retained its shape so well it could hold the wheels in place with no glue whatsoever!
After the track was painted I started weathering the wholes assembly, and added some “volumized” mud on the hull, which requires some pigment powders to look like the real deal (dry mud).
A small detail – Albion Alloys copper tube used for the exhaust pipes:
A year after it’s done I am finally posting the gallery for this model.
Aside from the typical Dragon BS instructions that are supposedly there to keep you alert the only real problem to me is that insane idea of a gun shield. There is no simple way this is getting the proper shape and position the way people at DML HQ see it. And then there are those wingnuts…
The truth is the kit is a solid, high-value, good build that could turn to impressive completion by itself, in a vignette or a diorama. All it needs is a properly dressed gun crew and a few brass shell casings for you to scatter around.