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Soviet BA-3 Armoured Car. 1:35

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Soviet BA-3 Armoured Car

Hobbyboss 1:35


The BA-3 was an improved model, following an 1932 army specification asking for a model equipped with the T-26 turret, and its high velocity 45 mm (1.77 in) 20K gun (60 rounds), allowing excellent antitank capabilities. The armament was completed by a coaxial DT machine-gun and another in the front compartment co-driver ball mount. The Izhorskij plant chose to radically improve the BA1 design, lengthening the rear part of the hull by 50 cm (1.64 ft) to cope with the extra top-weight of the new T-26 turret. The ring was also reinforced, as the entire rear compartment. The riveted armour was also thickened and the engine compartment received extra exhaust vents, as the GAZ engine proved prone to overheating. It was also remarkable that it was tested and equipped with spare chained tracks for its rear wheels, for a quick conversion into a half-track. Each track comprised 25 80x35 mm (3.14x1.38 in) soft steel links and weighted about 74 kg, stored on the rear mudguards. The conversion could be performed in just 10 minutes ensuring largely improved off-road capabilities and overall versatility in operations.

Like the BAI, the hull and turret were partly welded. The front compartment was higher than the rear fighting compartment, giving this model a lower profile. Access to the fighting compartment was allowed by a rear door and two hatches served the driver compartment. The suspension was of the leaf spring system. The two rear axles held double wheels, so, in fact, no less than twelve tires were needed. The hull weight 5.82 tons, and the water-cooled GAZ A M-1 engine gave a power-to-weight ratio of 8 ton/hp with a net power of 40hp@2800rpm. Top speed was 56 km/h (34.8 mph) on road and range about 160 miles (240 km). Tests were performed in June 1934 at the NIIBT unit, Kubinka proving grounds. Cross-country speed proved less than 35 km/h (21.7 mph) and the engine also overheated badly, imposing better cooling and a reinforced front suspension, which were added on the next series. Production was part of the 1st Five Year Plan and was partly assumed by Vyksunskij (Gorki Works), the first series based on the US-based Ford-Timken truck chassis converted into a 6x4, and later production vehicles received a new Russian-built GAZ AAA chassis. When the production ended in 1935, 180 have been delivered to the Red Army.

The Model
Having released the BA-10 version of this armoured car series it was great to see Hobbyboss release this, the BA-3. The kit come in a top opening box with an artistic impression of the vehicle stopped on the battlefield firing its main gun. Inside there are eleven sprues of beige styrene, the single piece body, one small sprue of clear styrene, two sheets of etched brass, twelve rubber/vinyl tyres and a small decal sheet. As usual for a Hobbyboss kit the parts moulding is really well done, with some nicely reproduced surface details, no sign of flash or other imperfections and not too many moulding pips making for an easy clean up job. Whilst not a large model by any stretch of imagination, there are quite a few parts, many of the small, so care with handling them will need to be exercised.



Construction begins with the modification of the two chassis rails. Each of the rear ends need to be cut away, and whilst not measurements are given in the instructions the point is clearly marked on the rails themselves. With this done, three crossbeams are fitted between the rails, the rear one provided in three parts and forms part of the rear suspension. Each of the two differentials are assembled form two parts, onto which the two axles are attached. The two part universal joints are then added to each differential, followed by two suspension mounts fitted to each end of the axles. The leaf springs are then attached to the mounts, forming a solid unit with the axle/differentials, along with the anti-roll bars. The drive shaft connecting the two differentials is then slid into position. The completed assembly is then fitted to the chassis, along with a three piece storage box and the steering rack gearbox.



The kit comes with a very nicely detailed engine made up of a two piece block to which the sump is added, followed by the cylinder head, crankcase, air intake pipe and coolant pipe. The two part bell housing is attached to the clutch plate housing before being fitted to the engine. This is followed by the fitting of the exhaust manifold various bits of pipework such as the exhaust pipe, auxiliary drive belt, cooling fan and the drive shaft. Rather unusually the accelerator pedal and clutch pedal are fitted to the top of the gearbox cover, complete with linkages and separate pedal pads. The completed engine/gearbox assembly is then fitted to the front of the chassis. The front wheel mount is made up of a three part triangular structure on to which the single cross-mounted leaf spring, along with its fittings is attached to the axle arm. Each of the two inner hubs are fitted with their ball joints and axle link before being fitted to the axle ends, followed by the steering rack between the two wheels. The front wheel assembly is then fitted to the chassis, along with two drop links, the three part silencer and exhaust end, and transfer box cover. Each of the ten wheels are made up of the outer hub and tyre, ensuring that the correct hub is used as there are three different styles depending on where they are fitted. With the wheels assembled they cna be fitted to the axles. The chassis and running gear are finished off with the fitting of the final drive shaft, and the rear suspension upper leaf springs.



The body assembly begins with the fitting of the firewall bulkhead to the chassis which has oil and fuel filters attached, at the same time the large air filter unit is fitted to the engine. The main cab floor is attached to the chassis, ensuring the gearbox mounted pedals are carefully positioned through the gap in the floor. The handbrake leaver is then fitted, as are the gearstick and gear range selector. Each of the drivers and gunners seats are made up of the seat base, squab, backrest with associated supports, which when assembled can be glued into position. The instrument binnacle is glued to the lower coaming panel which is then fixed to the bulkhead. The steering column is carefully slid through the hole in the bulkhead and attached to the steering rack gearbox fitted earlier, and finished off with the steering wheel and indicator/light stalks. The upper coaming panel in then glued into positions, along with eh radiator and front mounted scoop like panel.



With the above assembly put to one side, it’s on with the turret build. The turret is made up of left and right halves which, when joined together are fitted with the turret roof, rear panel, and front gun mounting panel. The outer mantlet is fitted with an moveable internal mount which is fixed to the mantlet via two trunnion mounts. The mantlet is then fitted to the turret, followed by the two top hatches, three eyebolts, periscope cover and ventilation mushroom. Before the single piece barrel can be fitted the barrel support bracket is attached to the mantlet along with a grab handle and two PE eyebolts. With the main gun and machine gun barrels fitted the turret is finished off with a small PE bracket which fits underneath the barrel support.



Finally, we’re on the home straight, with the fitting of the drivers/gunners panel, complete with four part machine gun mount, to the front of the single piece armoured body. The body is then mounted to the floor/chassis and fitted with the rear armoured panel covering the drive train/suspension. This panel is then fitted with the PE number plate, whilst on the body itself the rear access door is attached, as is the PE rain channel above the left hand pistol port. On each side of the drivers compartment the armoured panels that protect the underside are attached. These are followed by the cooling louvers on each side of the engine compartment, two spare wheel mounts, two engine access panels and two armoured radiator doors. The large wheel arches that cover the rear sets of wheels are each fitted with PE strengthening strips on the inside before being mounted on the body. The drivers and machine gunners doors are then attached, along with the roof mounted hatch and front wheel arches. The vehicle is finished off with the fitting of the footstep supports, with PE steps, headlights, with clear lenses, taillights, radiator cap, front bumper, complete with separate number plate, grab rails around the rear of the body, three piece horn and last, but by no means least, the turret assembly.



The small decal sheet is sparse to say the least. What there are, are nicely printed and if previous experience has taught me, quite thin. The turret markings, for use on an overall green machine, include a unit badge and the dotted line that goes round the turret top. Care will be needed for this, not only to get it all level, but doing so without tearing it. The other two decals are for the drivers instruments.


There is something about these large armoured cars. They have an enigmatic air about them, as well as being slightly bonkers, as most of the interwar armoured cars seem to be. Having built an Eastern Express BA-20 armoured car, I can be pretty sure that this kit will be a dream to build in comparison. It will certainly make a nice addition to any collection, along with the previously release BA-10.
Very highly recommended.


Review sample courtesy of

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