ARM: Review - Trumpeter 1/35 scale BMP-2 IFV

Kit Review: Trumpeter 1/35 scale Kit No. 05584; Russian BMP-2 IFV; 511 part s (450 in grey styrene, 35 etched brass, 24 clear styrene, 2 black vinyl tr
ack runs); retail price US$67.99
Advantages: new production tooling kit vast improvement over previous two a ttempts; etched brass included; correct lower hull profile and drivers; ful l interior less engine
Disadvantages: one-piece tracks look a bit thin
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all modern Soviet and client state fans          While thousands of BMP-1 vehicles were built before the vastly improved BM P-2 variant appeared in 1981, it must be understood that these were primari ly focused on fighting NATO in northern Europe. The BMP-1 had a number of p roblems to include the squad (and vehicle) commander sat behind the driver and could not see all around the vehicle, nor could he easily direct the gu nner to engage targets. The 73mm weapon also was not able to conduct high a ltitude fire against enemy forces in buildings or mountains (such as was fo und in Afghanistan) nor could it engage the new threat - attack helicopters .
    After several attempts to fix the problem, a prototype emerge as Article 6 75. This now mounted a new 30mm 2A42 automatic cannon using both HE-FRAG an d AP-T ammunition as well as a new 9M113 (AT-5 SPANDREL) ATGM mount. But it s biggest advantage was that the vehicle/squad commander was now in a two-m an rotating turret; his position in the hull behind the driver-mechanic wen t to either a sniper or RPM machine gunner.
    The BMP-2 went into service in Afghanistan and with its 85 degree elevatio n gun was popular as being able to engage Mujahedin in the mountains as wel l as light vehicles and troops. It acquired the nickname "Yezh" (hedgehog) from the troops who appreciated its greater firepower and flexibility. The maneuver squad went from eight men to seven but with better command and con trol that was not much of a change or a loss.
    While the AT-5 was not used very often, reloading it was slightly easier t han the 9M14 (AT-3) in the BMP-1 which took an arm allegedly four feet long to accomplish! But here the gunner had to swivel the mount, flip the rack vertical, removed the expended tube and toss it, and then in a manner like Scots "tossing the caber" run the new missile tube up onto the rack. He did at least remain mostly under armor as he did this.
    While the BMP-3 has been around for about 20 years now the Russian units s till prefer the BMP-2 as their favorite and a new version called "Berezhok" with new missiles and a 30mm grenade launcher is available for conversion.          Twenty years ago two kits of the BMP-2 came out nearly at the same time fr om DML and ESCI. Like their BMP-1 kits these two suffered the same odd hist ory. Both kits suffered from the exact same major errors - the wrong profil e to the hull and erroneous drivers with six spokes vice the five of the ac tual vehicle. While they also had a lot of other problems with dimensions a nd details that were wrong, these two features prompted DML and ESCI to pre pare to sue each other over design infringement. When the lawyers were prep aring their cases, they found out that both companies had used the identica l tooling manufacturer in South Korea and they simply used the same feature s for both sets of molds    
    Trumpeter has now released a new mold kit of the BMP-2 and it is an even b etter kit than their BMP-1 before it (No. 05555). The designers apparently had more than enough access to accurate information and details on this veh icle. Also, as there are tons of good references available today from Russi a and other countries on the vehicle, it is easy to check on its accuracy.
    The lower hull pan has the correct profile to the bow to include the weld bead that joints the front plate to the pressed steel belly pan (which both DML and ESCI took to be a change in angle and put in their kits). Trumpete r packs this separately in the box along with the turret shell. The turret is also just about right and sits in the proper position.
    The bump stops and road wheel arms are separate parts as are the final dri ve covers, and etched brass details are provided for the bump stops. Shocks are included as well as travel guards and other elements. The rear doors ( which contain fuel tanks on the original are nicely detailed with the right door having 11 parts and the left door having 12. However as this kit now sports an interior there are new bits to include the torsion bar tunnels an d interior sides to add.
    Each road wheel consists of two sections to give the proper profile but co me with the odd rubber ridges seen on only a few Soviet vehicles. The idler s come in two halves but need five etched brass stiffeners to complete them . Tracks are the single run vinyl type and while nicely done seem a bit thi n to me.
    All of the main components of the interior are provided to include the cir cular ammo stowage for the 30mm gun and the large main fuel tank/battery co mpartment at the rear of the dismount compartment. The crew hatches come wi th liners and details. The engine deck is a single piece but without an eng ine it also goes begging. The wave breaker may be positioned as closed or o pen. All viewers and weapons ports are separate components as well.
    There are etched brass screens for the radiator vents as well as deflector blades and a screen for the engine exhaust.
    The turret is one piece but comes with add-on supplemental armor and a bas ket with details for the commander and gunner. The missile comes complete b ut the missile rail is shown only in the down-to-fire position.
    The only place Trumpeter took a short cut is that the flotation skirts (fi lled with Styrofoam in the original) are hollow backed, but once in place y ou would need a "snake" type flexible viewer to see it so not a big deal.
    THIRTEEN finishing options are shown on the directions: Soviet BMP-2 in da rk green with Guards badges and "parade" white stripes; Georgia 2008 "Peace keeping Forces" (black/grey/dark green camouflage with "MS" roundel and bor t number 645); Ukrainian Forces Donetsk Area July 2014 (brown/grey/green ca mouflage with twin white stripes with "Stepan Bandera" and black 242); Ukra inian Forces Donetsk Area 2014 (grey/green camouflage with black lining and white stripes with insignia); Ukrainian Forces 2014 (green/brown camouflag e with black lining, Ukrainian flags and twin white stripes); Ukrainian For ces 2014 (brown/grey/black/green camouflage, white stripes and name "Aemul" ); 40th Army Afghanistan 1980s (sand/green camouflage with inverted triangl e and bort number 809); NVA Winter 1988 (grey/green camouflage, markings an d bort number 9531); Chechen War Summer 1995 (dark green with white name "A ida"); Chechen War August 1996 (dark green with "Sokoly Zhirnovskogo" - Zhi rnovskiy's Falcons); Ukrainian Forces 2014 (brown/green camouflage with sin gle white stripes and "real tree" type paint on front of the vehicle); Syri an Republican Guard, Syria May 2013 (sand overall); and Gulf War 1991 Kuwai ti Forces (sand with three white stripes and Coalition inverted V device). All are covered on a medium sized decal sheet (the stripes must be painted in most cases).
    Overall, this is an excellent kit and one which is finally worthy of repre senting its well-known prototype. The interior is a BIG plus! Expect Trumpe ter to follow this kit up with at least the BMP-2D assault variant used in Afghanistan.
Cookie Sewell
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