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Maquette #3562 FAI-M Russian Armoured Car

Peter Brown

Around 105 polystyrene parts, 25 not used. UK price 11.95

The Soviet Union 1930s produced several light armoured cars during the 1930s using ordinary rear wheel drive car chassis. This gave them poor cross-country ability which limited them to use on roads. These light cars carried a single 7.62mm machine gun in a turret and were all similar in appearance. The FAI-M used the hull and turret from the 1932 FAI armoured car. This was mounted on a GAZ-A chassis which was a licensed American Ford A. The FAI-M used the longer wheelbase GAZ-M1 chassis which made it look as if the hull was too short for the chassis. The GAZ-M1 chassis was later fitted with a longer hull to produce the BA-20 series.

Maquette have in effect reversed this to produce an FAI-M. They use a Start BA-20 kit and provide extra parts for the FAI series hull and turret, the original kit hull and turret parts being included but not used. The new kit uses chassis, engine, radiator and basic interior of seats and steering wheel from the original kit. To fit the new hull parts to the chassis some work is needed. The lower rear corners need cutting off and this described in the instruction sheet. Maybe this is a clue that Maquette or someone else will release a complete FAI kit in the future?

The kit has not been built as yet but it should be a straightforward project. Like many Russian kits the parts have moulding flash needs cleaning up. Close attention will be needed on building the hull as it is made up of flat plates with chamfered edges. Modelling the vehicle opened up easy enough as the hull access and engine compartment side doors are moulded separately. Basic interior parts are included but extra detail work would need suitable references.

No decals are provided, the only colour scheme suggested is plain green overall. FAI-M were used during the early campaigns against Germany and some captured vehicles were also by the Finnish Army which should allow some scope for different markings. If an FAI kit does not become available, the hull and turret parts of this kit combined with a suitable Ford A car kit or at least wire wheels will give you the earlier FAI car.

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