Russian BMP-2 IFV
Trumpeter, 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
|Stock Number and Description||Trumpeter 1/35 scale Kit No. 05584; Russian BMP-2 IFV|
|Media and Contents:||511 parts (450 in grey styrene, 35 etched brass, 24 clear styrene, 2 black vinyl track runs)|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||New production tooling kit vast improvement over previous two attempts; etched brass included; correct lower hull profile and drivers; full interior less engine.|
|Disadvantages:||One-piece tracks look a bit thin.|
|Recommendation:||Highly Recommended for all modern Soviet and client state fans.|
While thousands of BMP-1 vehicles were built before the vastly improved BMP-2 variant appeared in 1981, it must be understood that these were primarily focused on fighting NATO in northern Europe. The BMP-1 had a number of problems 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 gunner to engage targets. The 73mm weapon also was not able to conduct high altitude fire against enemy forces in buildings or mountains (such as was found in Afghanistan) nor could it engage the new threat – attack helicopters.
After several attempts to fix the problem, a prototype emerge as Article 675. This now mounted a new 30mm 2A42 automatic cannon using both HE-FRAG and AP-T ammunition as well as a new 9M113 (AT-5 SPANDREL) ATGM mount. But its biggest advantage was that the vehicle/squad commander was now in a two-man rotating turret; his position in the hull behind the driver-mechanic went to either a sniper or RPM machine gunner.
The BMP-2 went into service in Afghanistan and with its 85 degree elevation gun was popular as being able to engage Mujahedin in the mountains as well 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 control that was not much of a change or a loss.
While the AT-5 was not used very often, reloading it was slightly easier than 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 still 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 from DML and ESCI. Like their BMP-1 kits these two suffered the same odd history. Both kits suffered from the exact same major errors – the wrong profile to the hull and erroneous drivers with six spokes vice the five of the actual vehicle. While they also had a lot of other problems with dimensions and details that were wrong, these two features prompted DML and ESCI to prepare to sue each other over design infringement. When the lawyers were preparing their cases, they found out that both companies had used the identical tooling manufacturer in South Korea and they simply used the same features for both sets of molds
Trumpeter has now released a new mold kit of the BMP-2 and it is an even better kit than their BMP-1 before it (No. 05555). The designers apparently had more than enough access to accurate information and details on this vehicle. Also, as there are tons of good references available today from Russia 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). Trumpeter 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 drive 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 and interior sides to add.
Each road wheel consists of two sections to give the proper profile but come with the odd rubber ridges seen on only a few Soviet vehicles. The idlers 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 thin to me.
All of the main components of the interior are provided to include the circular ammo stowage for the 30mm gun and the large main fuel tank/battery compartment at the rear of the dismount compartment. The crew hatches come with liners and details. The engine deck is a single piece but without an engine it also goes begging. The wave breaker may be positioned as closed or open. 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 basket with details for the commander and gunner. The missile comes complete but 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 (filled with Styrofoam in the original) are hollow backed, but once in place you 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 dark green with Guards badges and “parade” white stripes; Georgia 2008 “Peacekeeping Forces” (black/grey/dark green camouflage with “MS” roundel and bort number 645); Ukrainian Forces Donetsk Area July 2014 (brown/grey/green camouflage with twin white stripes with “Stepan Bandera” and black 242); Ukrainian Forces Donetsk Area 2014 (grey/green camouflage with black lining and white stripes with insignia); Ukrainian Forces 2014 (green/brown camouflage with black lining, Ukrainian flags and twin white stripes); Ukrainian Forces 2014 (brown/grey/black/green camouflage, white stripes and name “Aemul”); 40th Army Afghanistan 1980s (sand/green camouflage with inverted triangle and bort number 809); NVA Winter 1988 (grey/green camouflage, markings and bort number 9531); Chechen War Summer 1995 (dark green with white name “Aida”); Chechen War August 1996 (dark green with “Sokoly Zhirnovskogo” - Zhirnovskiy’s Falcons); Ukrainian Forces 2014 (brown/green camouflage with single white stripes and “real tree” type paint on front of the vehicle); Syrian Republican Guard, Syria May 2013 (sand overall); and Gulf War 1991 Kuwaiti 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 representing its well-known prototype. The interior is a BIG plus!
Expect Trumpeter to follow this kit up with at least the BMP-2D assault variant used in Afghanistan.