ARM: Review - SDV 1/87 BTR-T heavy APC

Kit Review: SDV Model 1/87 scale Kit No. 87 094; BTR-T Armored
Personnel Carrier; 41 parts in green styrene; price 290 Czech Koruna
(about US$14.41); (Note: this kit is also marketed by Arsenal M in
Euros with their own unique kit numbers, but is more expensive)
Advantages: first kit of this vehicle in this scale in styrene
Disadvantages: as vehicles are still prototypes, not sure of final
arrangement or users
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for anyone modeling modern era Russian armor
Since WW I attempts have been made to turn tanks into armored
personnel carriers. These included =93Supply Tank=94 versions of the Mark
IV and V British tanks in WW I and the =93Kangaroo=94 conversions of Rams
and other redundant tanks in WWII. But for many years the Soviets
simply used the =93tankovyy desant=94 with troops hanging onto handrails.
As battlefields got more lethal it required that the troops move
under armor. But armored personnel carriers were usually lightweight
which meant lightly armored and not a good solution. The Israels came
up with the best idea =96 convert a medium or main battle tank deemed
redundant into a heavy armored personnel carrier. The result was the
Achzarit, which used captured Syrian T-54 and T-55 chassis to produce
a heavy armored personnel carrier with reactive armor to defeat ATGM
and RPG weapons.
The idea intrigued the Russians, who had taken a pasting in first
Afghanistan and then Chechnya from those weapons. With literally
thousands of surplus T-54/T-55 chassis lying around only awaiting
scrapping, conversion seemed a more useful application. So in the late
1990s the Omsk tank factory (KBTM to its friends) developed a
conversion which was dubbed the BTR-T - a Russian acronym for =93Armored
Personnel Carrier - Heavy=94. Prototypes were built and shown for
several years at arms shows with different turrets, weapons fit and
other detail differences, but so far there have been no sales. The
latest variants are now based on the early T-72 chassis.
SDV now offers a nice new kit of this conversion, and like its
prototype it uses their neat little T-55 kit as its base. Since SDV
designed the T-55 to use a hull pan, fender and glacis set, and upper
hull, it was a simple matter to replace the upper hull with the
casemate of the BTR-T and its extended side fender panniers.
The model follows normal SDV practice in having the outer wheels
separate from the track runs. Having built several of them, I do
suggest to ease frustration you cut the locating pins off the backs of
the road wheels and instead cut a bunch of .030" disks using a 1/8"
punch. Cement the disks to the inner wheels and the outer wheels to
the disks and you will get a parallel set of wheels.
The model provides for one of the larger turreted models but this
only differs in having a larger turret with a 12.7mm NVT machine gun
vice a 14.5mm or 30mm gun mounted. Four sets of three smoke grenade
launchers are provided; the early prototype had them spaced as on the
model, the later ones are both located at the rear of the panniers in
groups of three.
No finishing instructions are provided (as the vehicles were
prototypes, any color that the Russians felt would increase sales was
used before each show) and only a number jungle set of decals is
offered. Current Russian vehicles are in three color camouflage =96 dark
olive green, black, and sand.
Overall this is a neat little kit which captures its prototype very
nicely. Now if they could just sell them to somebody...!
Thanks to Jan Podubecky for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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