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Shar2

BMR-1 Early Type with KMT-5M. 1:35

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BMR-1 Early Type with KMT-5M

MiniArt 1:35

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Based on the SU-122-54, which MiniArt have also produced, this kit is of the first version of the armoured mine clearing vehicle. The main gun has been removed and the fittings of the attachment of the KMT-5M mine roller system. Where the top hatches would normally be, there is instead a round cupola fitted with a single heavy machine gun. The forward section of the lower hull was fitted with much thicker armour to prevent penetration in the event a mine exploded under the vehicle. Surprisingly these vehicles were still in use during the Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion in the 1980’s.

 

The Model

As with the TOP engineering vehicle this is typically Russian in style, tough, rugged and with the singular purpose of clearing mines. As with most MiniArt kits the box, with an artist’s impression on the front is full to the brim with sprues, a total of seventy one in grey styrene, one in clear, a small sheet of etched brass, two lengths of chain and a small decal sheet. The way the sprues are moulded is how the company gets so many versions of their kits out, as there is a lot of commonality. The mouldings are extremely well executed with no sign of flash or other imperfection, but there are quite a few moulding pips which increases clean up time. Whille the build looks fairly simple there are a lot of parts used to build up the suspension and particularly the mine roller system.

 

Construction begins with the lower hull, which is fitted out with the torsion beam suspension fixtures and you have the option of fitting the whole torsion beam or just the end part. Each suspension beam/axle plate consists of seven parts and there are ten axles to fit. Once the suspension is assembled the lower hull is built up from two side plates a rear plate and the internal firewall for the engine bay, the engine being available separate should you wish to fit one. The suspension bump stops are then attached, as are the drive gearbox covers and idler wheel axles. The large armoured olate is then fitted to the forward underside of the hull. The superstructure is next and is made up from separate plates which require holes to be drilled out before gluing together. In order to help get the plates the correct angles there is a small internal part the helps with this and give the structure strength and rigidity before the roof and mantle are attached. The roof is fitted with two, spades, with their respective clamps and the commander’s cupola is fitted with three vision blocks.

 

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The superstructure assembly is then glued to the lower hull, along with the track guards, and three multi-part engine deck covers. The rear of the superstructure has a single large hatch glued into place, as well as other unidentifiable fittings. The commander’s cupola is made up from no less than nineteen parts if you include the searchlight. There is a much simpler second hatch on the right hand side of the super structure. The front and rear mudguards are then assembled and fitted along with the very complex PE engine deck grilles, with separate shutters are built up and fitted. On the sides of the superstructure there are a lot more grab handles and brackets to be attached, while to the rear there is the five piece exhaust outlet fitted to the right track guard. The twin headlights fitted to the left and right sides of the glacis plate are assembled from thirteen parts including the base and all the support beams. On each front track guard there is a visual width pole fitted which are also fitted with reflectors. The turret ring is then fitted to the roof, while on the left side of eh superstructure the canvas roll is fitted with PE straps. The glacis plate is fitted with a selection of brackets, towing hooks and four pairs of spare track links. Two large stowage boxes are assembled and glued to the track guards, one per side.

 

The BTR style conical turret is fitted with the 14.5mm heavy machine gun and a co-axial light machine gun via a separate mantle before being covered with an additional circular turret and fitted wot the turret ring on the roof. There is an aerial mount and aerial fitted to the front left of the superstructure and a further three pairs of track links fitted with their brackets, also on the left hand side. Each of the road wheels are glued into pairs and fitted with a small hub cap, as are the sprockets and idler wheels. Once assembled these are all glued into place, as are the large towing cables. Finally the tracks are assembled and draped over the running gear. With this kit you get the newer link and pin system that MiniArt have started using.  This system is so easy to use and you can get a full length of track within minutes, even with 91 links per side.

 

With the vehicle complete it’s on to the raison d'être of the tanks mission, the mine roller system. Now these are quite complex, so take care in reading the instructions carefully as it could easily go wrong. The rollers themselves are of three wheels on a common shaft, these are then fitted with two axle plates and hub covers. The axle plates are also fitted with two beams onto which the thicker of the two chains are attached. The main support arms are each assembled from thirty nine parts and are fitted to the lower glacis plate of the tank. The roller assemblies are then attached to the support arms and fitted with the smaller sized chain and some cable with simulated spring units. Between the rollers there is another length of chain with a smaller roller fitted at the mid point.

 

Decals

The decal sheet gives the modeller four options, all of which were used in the war against Afghanistan. The decals are beautifully printed, are clear and in good register with a slightly matt finish. The options are:-

 

  • BMR-1, No.004, Soviet Army, Afghanistan in the early 1980’s
  • BMR-1, No.11, Soviet Army, Afghanistan in the early 1980’s
  • BMR-1, No.165, Soviet Army, Afghanistan in the 1980’s
  • BMR-1, No.059, Soviet Army, Afghanistan in the late 1980’s

 

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Conclusion

Continuing their march through the various T-55 variants, MiniArt are producing some really interesting vehicles.  Although the mine roller system is quite complex to assemble it will look superb once complete.  This is another vehicle that’ll make an interesting stand alone model or great in a diorama.

 

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Review sample courtesy of Miniart - Distibuted in the UK By Creative Models

 

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