This resin set fills the empty hull of all the plastic kits currently available that derived from the original Dragon kit, including the Italeri, Zvezda, Revell and, of course, the Dragon BMP-2 offerings. The intention of this kit is good, however the final product has not fully reached the goal.
Coming in a sturdy cardboard box, it consists of approximately 80 parts in grey and yellow resin, including a resin lower hull that enables you to detail the troop compartment, the turret and the driver compartment. The parts are wrapped in ziplock bags and the lower hull is protected with air bubble film.
The cast quality varies, some parts present resin blobs and the lower hull is "wrinkled". The level of detail is also varying and certain parts are incorrect.
The lower hull is a copy of the Dragon one in which AEF have prolonged the "wings", and detailed the interior with torsion bars along with some details on the walls. After comparison with pictures, those details are either wrong or only partial. Unlike Dragon, the AEF offering details the bottom of the exterior hull, unfortunately, all the axles for the roadwheels, idlers, return rollers and sprockets are missing. Due to some cast trouble, the surface of the lower hull is totally "wrinkled" which makes the part useless. The engine compartment is represented by the two walls, the base of which fits to the floor details.
The troop compartment comprises the bench seats, the central fuel tank, the vision blocks, the firing ports and the two rear doors. The bench seats are not correct for a BMP-2. Moreover their legs are missing and you need good documentation, which is hard to gather, to figure out how the benches rest on the floor.
The central fuel tank and the batteries compartment are well cast, you just need to bevel the base to set the part in place. The firing ports are well represented for the ports themselves. On the contrary, their supports do not have the right angle. Consequently, they are parallel to the hull sides, although some plastic card will help fixing that.
On the Dragon upper hull, you must move the squad leader firing port rearward before setting the inner part.
The vision blocks have some air bubbles that need to be filled. The rear doors are rather well cast, however they miss some details on the inner face: a protection bar for the vision block, the “plugs” for the fuel pipes and the locking handles. On the outer face, you’ll need to redo the handle protections and remove a type of stiffener. The firing port base must be reshaped and its cover added. AEF did the same mistake as Dragon did by molding the cover in a recess, whereas it should be flush.
The turret is the more complex part and comprises the largest number of parts. The detail is excellent, but the cast often spoils the overall quality. For example, the locating holes are completely filled and in some instances a small resin ball is present. AEF includes the turret basket with the seats, the co-ax MG ammo box and a kind of control box. The turret floor is missing the 30mm ammo boxes, and the co-ax ammo box must be thinned in order to give it a rectangular shape. Lastly, the seats supports are ill-placed and must be moved rearward. A kind of extinguisher and the bracket for the AT missile stowed inside the turret are missing.
Concerning the upper part, it looks like AEF have used their imagination on some parts. The 30m cannon breech is simply wrong, and the co-ax MG cradle is missing. Some parts that are provided are impossible to spot on pictures of the real turret. Furthermore, the instructions are not detailed enough, which makes it difficult to get the proper location of the parts. Thus, it is advised to have at hand a good color documentation to build this assembly.
The gunner sight is also incorrect. Both handles on the sides should be removed. You need to add the controls for one of the two stations, AEF have only provided one set of controls which can be a good template. Do not follow the instructions to glue this part as in reality it is not attached to the turret ceiling!
The vehicle commander sight is also wrong. You need to dramatically thin its front face.
Only one electronic device has been provided for the turret bustle, and the missile controls have been omitted.
A turret ring is also included and needs a cut-out in the plastic upper hull to fit the turret.
The driver compartment comprises a dashboard, a steering device, the vision blocks and, of course, the seats for both the driver and the soldier behind him.
The dashboard is wrong and is missing two of the seven gauges. The steering device does not come with a steering column (pretty complex in reality) and AEF vaguely shows how to glue it. The seats are too wide and their supports are not correct.
AEF added a set of wheels which are quite well carved but suffer from the general cast problem leaving the positioning holes filled. Most importantly, they are not BMP wheels but MT-LB ones, maybe this is due to some boxing mistake!
The instructions are a succession of black and white drawings which are not always clear enough. No painting directions are given by AEF. For both these reasons, you need to get good references prior to building this set. Finished model pictures would often be useful.
AEF is praised for having released this set, as an infantry fighting vehicle is always more interesting to look at with its interior visible. This set is intended to build the interior of any BMP-2 currently on the market (pending the release of the Miniarm one). Unfortunately, too many inaccuracies, wrong parts and unclear instructions do not help the modeler who will definitely need comprehensive reference material to improve the kit parts. Some parts are useless as they can’t be spotted on the instructions or on real vehicle pictures. This set is really disappointing and not to be recommended.
A Build Log
has been started on the forums to show the construction of the kit.