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Soviet BA-20 Armoured Car. 1:35

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Soviet BA-20 Armoured Car
Hobbyboss 1:35


The BA-20 was then used in the early stages of World War II. The BA-20 armoured car was developed in 1934 for use by HQ staffs, reconnaissance and communications units. It was derived from the civilian GAZ-M1 car using its chassis, which was itself a modified version of a Ford design, produced by the Nizhny Novgorod-based vehicle manufacturer GAZ. Full production of the BA-20 started in 1935. The chassis was built at the Nizhny Novgorod factory; the body was built at the Vyksinskiy plant, where final assembly of the BA-20 occurred as well.

The principal use of the BA-20 was as a scout vehicle. The BA-20's tires were designed to be resistant to bullets and shrapnel by the simple expedient of filling them with spongy rubber. A variant, the BA-20ZhD, could travel on railway lines by replacing the normal wheels with flanged metal rail-type wheels.

The vehicle was exported to the Spanish Republican side in the Spanish Civil War, although the vast majority of BA-20s built served with the Soviet Red Army. They first saw combat in the conflict with Japan in 1939 on the Khalkin Gol river in Mongolia (see Battle of Khalkin Gol). The BA-20 was used by the Red Army in the Soviet invasion of Poland later in 1939 and the Winter War against Finland during which 18 vehicles were captured, designating them as PA-6, as well as the early stages of Operation Barbarossa in 1941. Production was ended that same year, with some 4,800 BA-20s having been constructed by that time. Some had flamethrowers instead of the DP-28.

In common with most armoured cars derived from cars, the BA-20 was largely road-bound. The lack of all-wheel drive, high ground pressure, and low power prevented it from moving cross-country except on very firm ground. The armour was too thin to stop anything other than fragments or small-arms fire, and the 7.62 mm machinegun was not adequate to penetrate other scout vehicles. The Red Army produced very few wheeled armoured fighting vehicles in the war, but replaced the BA-20 with the BA-64B.

The Model
Having released several versions of the Russian six/ten wheel armoured cars, Hobbyboss have now released the first of the four wheeled vehicles. This kit is quite small and the box reflects this, adorned with an artists representation of a pair of vehicles travelling at speed on a dirt road, (dry, fortunately). Inside there are seven sprues and one separate part in a creamy beige styrene, one sprue of clear styrene, five vinyl/rubber tyres, a small sheet of etched brass and a smallish decal sheet. As usual the mouldings are superb, with no sign of imperfections or flash, but quite a few moulding pips to clean up. In comparison with the previously released BA-3 and BA-6 armoured cars this looks to be a nice “simple” build.




Construction begins with the engine, which is a nice little representation of the real thing, just a shame it won’t be seen when the model is finished. The block is made from two halves to which the separate head and sump are attached, followed by the gearbox and bell housing. The ancillaries, such as the starter motor, idler bearing, alternator, fuel pump and filters are fitted, along with the drive belt and fan. The chassis comes as one part, making life a whole lot easier than the multipart chassis in the BA-3/6. The chassis is fitted with two crass braces of the mounting the gearbox, after which the engine assembly can be fitted.



The wheels are next on the op list, with each tyre being fitted with inner and outer rims, brake assemblies. The front wheels also having steering mounts attached. The wheels are then fitted with their respective suspension beams, each of which are fitted with a pair of leaf springs, and the front fitted with the steering rack, whilst the rear suspension beam incorporates the differential and is fitted with the drive shaft. The wheel assemblies are then to the chassis, along with the exhaust silencer, gear linkages, and another cross beam and is put to one side whilst construction moves onto the body work.



The single piece floor pan, which incorporates both front and rear wheel arches is fitted out with the headlights, storage boxes, seat squabs, gear stick, two piece seat backs and the engine firewall, which itself is fitted with the dashboard, coaming, steering column and wheel. On the underside of the floor pan, the petrol tank and battery box are attached to the rear, followed by the chassis assembly, followed by the exhaust pipe, and front mounted heavy duty crossbeam. The radiator is attached to its five piece mounting beam before being glued into position.




The single piece armoured body is fitted out with the two front mounted vision ports, each of which is fitted with an operable hinge and can be posed open or closed, although there isn’t a lot of interior detail to see, so probably best to keep them closed. The access doors and engine hatches are then attached to the outside of the body, along with the towing eyes and pioneer tools. The modeller has the option of fitting a large aerial that fits around the top of the body for the command vehicles. The aerial is first fitted with the six support arms before being glued in place. The two front mounted radiator doors can also be posed in the open or closed position once the body assembly is attached to the floor pan/chassis assembly. The small turret is fitted with the single machine gun and it’s ball mounting and plate before the turret base is attached. The completed turret is then attached to the mounting ring on the rear of the body completing the build.

The small decal sheet is very nicely printed, with very little carrier film, and good opacity, (a good thing since they are all white). Whilst you get the option to build any one of five different vehicles, or more, if you include the various numbers provided, they are all in the same Russian Green overall scheme. I’m sure there are other schemes that the modeller can paint this vehicle in, it’ll just take a bit of research.


This is actually a very pleasant change when compared with the big six wheeler armoured cars. The suspension is so much simpler and nicer to build and on the whole a lot less of a bind. All in all a very nice little kit that most modellers could build in a weekend or less, depending on their abilities, great for keeping the mojo. Very highly recommended


Review sample courtesy of

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I know what you mean Antoine. :D Unfortunately I have been unable to find any books on them.

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  • 1 month later...

Just finished building this one, and there are some shape issues with the kit, though by no means makes it unbuild-able.


The crew cab should be wider at the the front, and tapers towards the rear.  The turret should by asymmetrical, and is generally a bit on the small side.   The hinges on the top of bonnet are not properly placed, possibly copied from the one in the Finnish museum, which had this area reworked at some point, (possibly post war?).






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