ARM: Review - Vision Models 1/35 scale BA-64B Armored Car

Kit Review: Vision Models 1/35 scale Kit No. VM-35002; BA-64B Armored
Car; 92 parts in olive drab styrene; price US$34.95
Advantages: clean, petite kit of a small armored car; well done DT
machine gun
Disadvantages: some details skimpy on the inside of the turret and
hull
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for Soviet fans and anyone wanting a weekend project
The Soviets always loved armored cars, and from the beginning made
great use of the Austin-Pulitovs during WWI and the Civil War. This
continued into the 1930s and the advent of the Soviet armor industry
with both light four-wheel and heavy six-wheel armored cars in service
by 1941. However, most of them were obsolete by the start of the war
and also suffered from poor mobility.
When the war started, the most promising of the new generation of
trucks was the GAZ-64, a small field car very similar in concept to
the US =93Bantam=94 and Jeep vehicles. It was a =93vezdekhod=94 or all-whee=
l-
drive vehicle and as a result was soon converted into an armored car
as the BA-64 (BA for =93broneavtomobil=92 and 64 for its GAZ-64 parent).
But the BA-64 had a narrow axle track which was not suitable for the
heavier armored car, and it tended to bog down off road where it was
easily tipped over.
In 1943 an improved model, using the broader track of the GAZ-67B
field car, was produced as the BA-64B. This was a much better vehicle
and proved to be far more popular in service. Roughly one of out every
two was fitted with a 12RT radio set for use as a scout vehicle. By
the war=92s end 3,901 BA-64s and 5,160 BA-64B basic models were built;
after the war all of the BA-64s were quickly scrapped. The BA-64B was
also issued to client states and were encountered in some numbers in
Korea. The vehicle began to leave the Soviet Army in the early 1950s
and the last one in active service was retired in 1954.
There were a number of variants, including two different railway
variants, one with a 12.7mm DshK machine gun, and one with an armored
roof.
This nice new kit from newcomer Vision Models is a petite model with
some well done details, many reminiscent of AFV Club kits (Vision is
also out of Taiwan and could be using the same mold maker). It is a
great step ahead from the old Alan kit of some years ago and while
sparse (there is not much in a BA-64B at the end of the day) is nicely
done.
The chassis and components are all separate parts, but for some odd
reason there is no engine even though space has been left for one.
This is odd as there is no provision for access to one so normally
model companies give you a dummy oil pan and that is the end of it.
There is also no firewall at the front of the compartment (there may
not have been one from some information) and the driver sits astride
the transmission, which is correct.
While none of the ammo racks and the fuel tank are present in the
rear of the hull, once the turret is in place it is very hard to see
so should not be missed.
The turret mounts very close to the prototype, with a =93Rube
Goldberg=94 (Heath Robinson to non-Americans) arrangement of a pedestal
with a revolving frame and a bicycle seat to permit rotation of the
asymmetrical turret and DT machine gun. Modelers who are not
interested in turret rotation may wish to cement this in place or the
turret appears to be able to fly off at a moment=92s notice.
The cross-country tires are molded separately but have no sidewall
data or other markings; at least they are nearly seam free. They do
match one of the patterns used on BA-64B armored cars.
The little car fits perfectly on a set of plans in the Yevgeniy
Prochko book =93Vezdekhody RKKA=94 (All-Terrain Vehicles of the Workers
and Peasants Red Army, Armada #7, 1998).
The model comes with a total of seven different finishing options;
alas, all are wearing 4BO green paint. Unidentified unit, Ukraine
1943-1944 (4 -N3 - 7, =93Vpered Zapad!=94 (Forward to the West)); 13th
Guards Mechanized Brigade, 4th Guards Mechanized Corps, Ukraine August
1944 (white donkey); Unidentified unit, Razdel=92naya Railway Station,
Ukraine, 1944 (white stag over RR); Unidentified unit, Unidentified
Ukranian Front, Germany 1945 (bar shape 4); Czech 1t Armored Brigade,
Prague 1945 (=93Marenka=94); Unidentified Unit, Unidentified Ukranian
Front, Germany 1945 (=93Kavkaz - Berlin=94 ( Caucasus to Berlin), =93Slava
Stalinu=94 (Glory to Stalin) with white trim); 1st Guards Mechanized
Corps, Vienna, Austria, April 1945 (white 249 - diamond 50).
Surprisingly the decals were taped to the bottom of the box!
Overall this is a somewhat spartan but quite nice little model, and
without brass or other bits it is a nice little weekend project.
Cookie Sewell
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AMPSOne
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