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Soviet BMP-1 Infantry Fighting Vehicle - 1:35 Trumpeter


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Soviet BMP-1 Infantry Fighting Vehicle
1:35 Trumpeter


The BMP series of vehicles began with the original BMP, which was designed with more than the "battlefield taxi" task in mind. It was designed to protect the troops within whilst they were riding in it from both small arms fire and potential radiation in the probable tactical nuclear warfare that was feared during the Cold War. It was also designed to provide fire support for the troops once they dismounted, and could be fielded with Main Battle Tanks as a combined force, and was amphibious, being able to enter the water without special preparations.

The original BMP was superseded by the BMP-1 following lessons learned by the Egyptians and Syrians in the Yom Kipur war, amongst others. This involved the upgrading of the armaments to field newer anti-tank missiles that had become available, although the operative was a little vulnerable due to having to poke his head out of the hatch in order to aim and fire the missile. Later BMP-1s were extended to improve load carrying and swimming characteristics, beginning in 1970 to its replacement by the BMP-2 in 1979.

There are a myriad of different variants of the basic BMP-1, from reconnaissance to Armoured Recovery Vehicles, with further variants constructed by foreign users like the Czech Republic, Iraq and China.

The Kit
The kit represents a "vanilla" BMP-1 with the standard 73mm smooth-bore semi-automatic gun, and Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) launcher, the 9M14 Malyutka. It arrives in a standard top-opening box, and inside are ten sprues in mid-grey styrene, two separate hull parts and the turret, plus a clear sprue, Photo-Etch (PE) fret, a turned metal barrel for the main gun, a large bag of individual track links in brown styrene, decals, instruction booklet and full-colour painting and decaling guide. The hull parts are protected within the box by being annexed by a card insert that is glued to the inside of the box.

Trumpeter are well respected for their armour kits of late, and this one offers the modeller a well detailed "out of the box" experience. There is no need to lay out money on a turned barrel, basic PE, or individual track links, because they are all there. I keep getting this urge to use the phrase "golden age" in reviews, and it's hardly surprising when this sort of kit package is regularly presented.







As there is no interior present with the kit, construction is relatively straight forward, and because the hull parts are so well detailed, the part count isn't huge, although this is bumped up by the 190 track links and wheels. Construction begins with the lower hull, which is detailed with final drive housings, rear idler axle and suspension bump-stops, before the axles and swing-arms are added, of which there are twelve. Twelve road wheels are built up from two parts each, the larger outer, which incorporates the rubber tyre, and a smaller inner part that completes the stamped wheel. The drive sprockets are similarly built from two halves, with a spoked outer, and solid inner, both of which have cut-outs within the teeth. The idler wheel is more complex, having five PE parts added between the two spoked halves. A trio of return rollers are added to support the upper track run, and the rear of the fenders are extended by a pair of mud-guards.


The rear access doors are thick, but this wasn't to enhance crew protection - it was in fact the complete opposite, as that is where much of the BMP-1's fuel was stored, a situation that caused great concern when Germany reunified and took a number of them on charge. In the kit, they are made from an outer dish, with an inner skin added before the hinges and latches are added. The doors are handed, so take care here to use the correct parts for each door to avoid problems when installing them.


The track links are supplied in a clear bag in twos on small sprues (sorry - that rhymes). Each one has a little mould "pip" that is added to ensure complete filling of the part with styrene during the moulding process. Consequently, each link has two sprue gates to remove, although they are both on straight sections of the track, so clean-up should be quick and easy. There are no ejector pin marks either, which is always nice to find on a set of tracks, and ten extra links are provided for each run of tracks, which the instructions tell us need 85 links each side. The best news of all though is that the links are click-fix, requiring no glue, although as they are perhaps a little loose for long term survival, glue added once they are draped over the roadwheels might be an idea. Detail is also excellent on each link, with two guide-horns moulded to the inside, and lots of bolt detail around the pivot points.


The top deck has a large grille insert on the front, four crew hatches for the troops to embark and disembark, and two crew hatches at the front. Six firing ports are situated in the sides of the vehicle for the troops to use in battle, and these all have separate covers, although they were seldom used in action. Various vision blocks in the rear and small parts are then added to the upper hull, before the wading bow-panel is installed, which can be positioned deployed or stowed by exchanging the differing length retraction struts. A number of PE grille covers are added forward of the turret ring, road lights and search lights are added at the front of the fenders and by the crew hatch, and the two hull halves can be joined together. In truth, most modellers will join the hull halves earlier to avoid damaging the small parts during the process, but that's entirely down to you. Once joined, the small side-skirts and forward mudguards are added, and then attention turns to the diminutive turret.


The turret is small and conical, and its basic shape is made up from one part, with slide-moulding ensuring that detail is good on all sides. Various small parts and vision blocks are added, and the 73mm gun is built up from a thicker aft section that is made up from styrene halves, to which either a turned metal barrel or a styrene alternative is added. The styrene barrel has a slide-moulded hollow muzzle, and incorporates the aft section of the barrel too, so the choice is yours. You could even build up both options and decide which looks best, which is a nice luxury. The barrel slips into the mantlet along with a small hollow-barreled coaxial machine gun, and the assembly must be glued in place, as there are no means of retention otherwise. The Malyutka ATGM is mounted on a rail that sits atop the barrel on a small block mount, which is made up of four parts. The missile itself has a solid front section and a two half rear, with two additional fins added to the top and bottom, which can then be glued to the rail, or left loose for easier painting. The turret is then dropped onto the hull, but will need gluing to keep it in place, unless you can remember to hold it there whenever you handle the model later.

As is often the case with Cold War Russian armour, it's any colour you like as long as it's Russian Green. There are four schemes available from the kit decal sheet, although none are documented in the instructions. As far as I can make out it includes one Russian machine marked 542, two Czech machines with markings 104u and u093, the latter having a small white cross running over the bodywork. The last option would appear to be East German, although I'm guessing that this was before unification because it still wears the ATGM and launch rail. These were taken off after unification along with a number of safety modifications to match Western ideas of crew welfare.


The decals are in register, have good colour density and sharpness, but might be a little overly endowed with carrier film in places. It is at least thin though, so should settle down well with decal solution, as long as you remember a good glossy surface to avoid silvering.

Another stunner from the Trumpeter Armour Stable (TAS?). I have it on good authority that it scales out well against accurate plans, and leaves the old mongrel of a kit in its wake, as that one isn't even 1:35 scale, it would seem.

The inclusion of individual click-link tracks, a sheet of PE parts and a turned brass barrel really make this an absolute bargain, and a good introduction to all those that are a little wary of this method of making tracks. Mentioning no names, but thinking of one particular chap I know.

Very highly recommended.


Review sample courtesy of

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