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BMP-3[uAE] w/ERA Tiles and Combined Screens 1:35 Trumpeter History The BMP-3 infantry combat vehicle entered production in the late 1980s. About 120 BMP-3 vehicles are in service with the Russia Army and over 900 have been exported to a number of countries, including United Arab Emirates (600 vehicles), Cyprus (40), Indonesia (30), Kuwait (110) and South Korea (70). Kurganmashzavod of Kurgan, Russian Federation manufactures the chassis and the Instrument Design Bureau (KBP) of Tula is responsible for the turret. It is a tracked, armoured, amphibious vehicle designed to engage armoured ground and air targets while stationary, on the move and afloat. In 2007, the Russian Army placed an order with Kurganmashzavod for a number of new-build BMP-3 vehicles. A command version, the BMP-3K, is available, which is the same as the basic BMP-3, but with additional communications and navigation equipment. A version designed for more sustained amphibious operation is the BMP-3F. Changes in construction allow movement afloat in sea state three and firing with necessary accuracy in sea state two. The BMP-3F can endure continuous amphibious operation for seven hours. A reconnaissance version, the BRM-3K, is in service with the Russian Army. KBP and Kurganmashzavod have upgraded the vehicle with a new turret and engines. The upgraded vehicle is called the BMP-3M and the new turret includes a new automatic fire control system with digital computer, new BZS1 gunner's sight with SAGEM thermal imager and laser illuminator, TKN-AI commander's periscope with laser infrared illuminator and new ammunition-loading system. The BMP-3M will also be able to fire ammunition types including new 100mm laser-guided projectiles, new 100mm HE-FRAG (high-explosive fragmentation) rounds and new 30mm APSDS (armour-piercing discarding sabot) rounds. Additional passive armour protection is effective against 12.7mm armour-piercing rounds from a range of 50m. Explosive reactive armour is available as an option. The new uprated engine is the UTD-32, which is rated at 660hp. In February 2011, UAE signed a $74m contract with Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport to upgrade its 135 BMP-3 vehicles. The upgrade is to convert these vehicles into BMP-3M standard. Model The kit comes in the standard Trumpeter box with a depiction of the vehicle somewhere in the UAE. Inside, there are fourteen sprues of sandy coloured styrene, two separate hull sections, the separate turret; one sprue of clear styrene, two small sheets of etched brass, one hundred and eighty individual tracks links, (three bags of 60), and a small decal sheet. The moulding of the parts is well up to Trumpeters usual standards, with no sign of flash or other imperfections, lots of very fine detail, but quite a few moulding pips. Dry fitting of the upper and lower hull sections shows that it will be a very good fit and the detail that's been moulded onto the upper hull is superb, as it's crisp, with great definition and even includes the turret ring gear cog. Construction begins with the building of several sub-assemblies, such as the road wheels, idler wheels and drive sprockets; each of which is made up from two parts, along with the six three piece shock absorber assemblies. The lower hull section, to which the lower front glacis plate appliqué armour is attached, is also fitted with a large spade like plate. The six return rollers are then attached to the hull, along with the bump stops, torsion bar and shock absorber assemblies, sprocket wheel gear covers, mud scrapers, idler wheels and drive sprockets. The road wheel assemblies are then attached to their respective axles, followed by the tracks, each of which is made up from eighty four track links, each of which is fitted with a separate guide horn.Unfortunately each track link has to be glued together, so you will be required to make a run, then drape it on the wheels before the glue sets fully. The kit comes with a nice interior, the construction of which begins with the fitting of the two sidewalls, the left side of which is fitted with two fire extinguishers, and a two piece flask like item, whilst the right hand sidewall just has one fire extinguisher fitted. The large drivers console fitted to the front of the vehicle is fitted with two large box like items, the centre mounted steering column and control yoke. The only two decals contained in the kit make up the instrument panels. The central bulkhead is fitted out with three seats, the centre and left hand seat having separate headrests. Behind this bulkhead the large engine cover is attached to the three spigots jutting up from the floor, with two angled sidewalls attached between it and the vehicle sides. There are five further seats fitted within the fighting compartment and the lower hull is finished off with the attaching of the rear bulkhead which has been fitted out with the two rear access doors, the door handles, internal door latch wheel, mud flaps, two, two piece stowage boxes, several grab handles, two footsteps, which can be posed folded up or extended, and two water jet doors. Moving on the inside of the upper hull, several holes need to be opened up before any parts can be added. Once these are done the two sidewalls are attached, along with more stowage boxes, drivers, gunners and fighting compartment clear periscopes, ventilator inlets, and machine gun mounts. Topside of the upper hull the three front mounted hatches are attached, either open or closed, followed by the two oblique mounted machine gun barrels, with a choice of two different types of barrel, two headlights, each with clear lenses, sidelights, wing mirrors, grab handles and pioneer tools. The rear mounted hatches can also be posed open or closed, and since there is an interior to see it would be a shame to have it all buttoned up, each of the large hatches have smaller hatches fitted. The large engine air intake is fitted just forward of the large hatches and is fitted with a PE screen. At the bow, two armour supports are fitted on each side, whilst at the rear, the PE radiator grille is fitted along with the large exhaust, also with a PE plate fitted. The upper and lower hull assemblies are then joined together and the large, two piece ERA block is attaché dot the lower glacis plate. The slide ERA blocks are also provided as two parts, which when joined together are further fitted out with the ten PE support beams and separate two piece front block. Before fitting the large side ERA blocks, the track guards, moulded complete with attachment points are glued to the sides of the hull. The rear quarter sections of armour are made up of an inner plate, with exhaust aperture in the right hand plate, two support brackets, and two sections of bar armour. The side blocks and quarter armour are then attached to their respective positions on the hull, along with an attachment beam on the upper glacis plate. Since the kit comes with an interior for the hull it’s only natural that it also comes with a full turret interior. Construction of this begins with the assembly of the four piece main gun breech, which includes the trunnions, four piece commanders seat base and four piece turret training gearbox. The gear box and commanders seat base are attached to the turret floor which is made up from upper and lower sections. The turret motor, centre console, four piece gunners seat base, commanders and gunners seats are then glued into position. The floor is fixed to the turret ring via four support legs, whilst the ring also has the lower mantlet plate fitted. The turret floor detail is further enhanced with the inclusion of three ready use rounds for the main gun. The interior of the turret itself is fitted with the commanders sighing equipment and intercom boxes, whilst on the outside the large, ten piece targeting sight is fitted to the left hand side of the turret, and two, two piece periscope covers plus loading hatch are also attached. Whilst the gunners hatch is a very simple single piece affair, the commanders hatch is much more complicated. The hatch ring is fitted with two clear periscope parts from the inside, along with the commanders turret control yoke, and on the outside the hatch and four piece searchlight is attached. The breech sub assembly is then fitted into position, along with the mantlet and the two piece main gun barrel is glued into position, the coaxial 30mm barrel is the attached to the mantlet and the main barrel on the right hand side and the coaxial machine gun is fitted to the left hand side of the mantlet. The top of the turret is then fitted with the aerial base, an infra red sight complete with searchlight on top and a piece of appliqué armour just in front of the gunners hatch, three bar armour support brackets, rear turret bustle plate. The turret is then attached to the turret ring/floor assembly, after which the turret mounted bar armour is attached, followed by the cheek mounted screens, each made up from the cheek plate, attachment pads and the five individual screens. The turret is finished off with the fitting of another searchlight, it’s electrical cable, and what I presume is a laser sight, made up from four parts and attached above the rear of the main gun barrel. The completed turret is then fitted to the hull assembly, thus completing the build. There is just the one colour scheme provided for the UAE vehicle, which is sandy brown overall with red brown splotches. No unit or other markings are provided. Conclusion Well, Trumpeter are still finding new variants of Russian vehicles to kit, not that I’m complaining. This looks like another winner and one which has the potential to have even more detail added to it in the form of personal kit, food/water containers and weapons, or whatever you fancy. It does make a change from having another green based camouflaged vehicle in the collection, and will stand out from the crowd. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for