ARM: Review - Trumpeter 1/35 scale BTR-60P APC

Kit Review: Trumpeter 1/35 scale Kit No. 01542; Russian BTR-60P APC;
424 parts (367 in grey styrene, 41 etched brass, 8 black vinyl, 8
clear vinyl); retail price US$49.95
Advantages: first kit of this vehicle in styrene; nicely done
driveline and interior
Disadvantages: Very uncommon vehicle due to quick replacement by
BTR-60PA and PB
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for early war Soviet armored vehicle and wheeled armor
fans
During WWII the Soviets quickly realized that the preferred method
they used for moving infantry on the battlefield - the =93Tankoviy
Desant=94, with a squad of men hanging on to the outside of a tank - was
hazardous at best and fatal up against a determined combined arms
defense. After the war ended, they soon developed an open-topped
armored personnel carrier based on the new ZiL-157 truck (sort of a
grandson of the Studebaker US6 Lend-Lease chassis) but it had numerous
drawbacks. For one, in a country with a water crossing every 10
kilometers and a major river every 50 it was not amphibious.
The BTR-50P tracked armored personnel carrier was too expensive and
big to use in great numbers, so a competition was held for what
amounted to a =93battle taxi=94 - an armored personnel carrier with high
mobility, amphibious capability - and cheap enough to build in large
numbers. The first prototype, the 6 x 6 BTR-153, was a flop, as were
Articles 851 and 852. Article 1015-B, an 8 x 8 vehicle, showed some
promise, and it used parts already developed such as the water jet
drive from the PT-76 light tanks.
But the Gor=92kiy Automotive Factory proposed a similar vehicle it
dubbed the GAZ-49. It used twin 90 HP gasoline V-8 engines, a water
jet drive, and easily passed all state tests. On 13 December 1959, the
Council of Ministers of the USSR accepted the GAZ-49 for service with
the Soviet Army as the BTR-60P (BTR - bronetransporter or APC, P -
plavayushchiy or amphibious).
The new vehicle was in production from 1960 to 1963 when replaced by
the BTR-60PA, which added an armored roof. There is no reliable
information as to the actual number produced, but it is probably low
as most of them were soon given to the Naval Infantry and the Border
Guards, two groups that rarely received first-line equipment. Its
replacement, the BTR-60PA, was sealed with a roof and filtration for
use on =93dirty=94 (e.g nuclear) battlefields; three years later, in 1966,
the ultimate BTR-60 variant, the PB with a twin machine gun turret,
came into service and large-scale production. Total of all BTR-60
chassis was around 25,000.
Normally the BTR-60P was armed with a 7.62mm SGMB or the later PK
machine gun, but it could mount either a 12.7mm DshKM or even a 14.5
KPV under some circumstances. A =93firepower=94 variant with a DshKM on
the glacis and twin SGMB =93beam guns=94 was offered to some units.
Nearly 20 years ago DML released kits of the later model BTR-70 and
BTR-80 Soviet armored personnel carriers, but no one ever did a
styrene kit of the BTR-60 series in 1/35 scale until now. Trumpeter
released the P version as its first kit, but has also announced a
BTR-60PB, command variant, and new kits of the BTR-70 and BTR-80 as
well.
The new kit is a very nice effort indeed, and comes with all of the
items that Trumpeter has provided in its recent kits. The parts are
well protected (delicate ones are wrapped in foam inside the poly bag)
and it also comes with a small but useful fret of etched brass. Oddly
enough it comes with the DShKM rather than the more common SGMB
weapon; an SGM from an old kit or one of the DML weapons sprues may be
a better choice for a typical Soviet era vehicle.
Its construction is more akin to recent kits like the AFV or
Trumpeter Stryker vehicles than the old DML BTRs. The first three
steps cover just attaching the bump stops and suspension A frame
brackets to the lower hull. It takes eight full steps before the lower
hull pan is flipped over to start on the interior.
The kit comes with two floors, the =93control compartment=94 and the
=93fighting compartment=94 in Russian parlance. This version has two seats
at the front for the driver and commander, and two long benches for
the rest of the crew. Watch out as the directions spin the hull around
without much indication as to which end is front (the =93pointy=94 end
is!)
Steps 16-19 cover the interior of the upper hull, such as the firing
port cover handles, heater/defroster (!), and viewers. The R-113 radio
(G8, S33, PE-A4 and PE-A5) is nicely done, as is its booster (G32,
G10, PE-A2).
Steps 20-23 cover the outside of the upper hull, and this includes a
lot of the PE for the model. All of the light fit on PE brackets as do
any small hook fittings.
Step 24 shows the assembly of the upper and lower hull sections, 25
the fitting of the wave breaker (shown retracted), and 26 the water
jet propeller; the latter only has the propeller fitting flush against
the rear of the hull and no tunnel is provided to the pickup screen on
the belly of the hull, so it is probably better to cement the two part
door (S12/S16) shut.
The wheels come in during Step 27; the tread pattern is handed so
while the wheels and tires are universal the direction of the tread is
not. 28 covers the DshKM machine gun. Note that the mount for this is
also PE.
Three sets of finishing options are provided: a =93parade queen=94 from
one of the Moscow Revolution Day (7 November) parades with white trim;
a Naval Infantry vehicle (white 355) with Soviet Navy ensign; and an
olive drab vehicle (white 2) which appears to belong to the Border
Guards. (The latter were used at the infamous Daman Island battle in
1969 when the Soviets and Red Chinese clashed over said island in the
Ussuri River.)
Overall this is a nice kit, but most of the =93Cold War=94 fans will be
looking for the later BTR-60PB and BTR-60PU versions.
Cookie Sewell
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AMPSOne
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