The BTR-50 is a Soviet APC based on the PT-76 light tank. The BTR-50 was developed in 1952 and entered service with the Soviet Army in 1954. The variant BTR-50PK (K stands for krisha - "roof") is fitted with an armoured roof, the troops can mount and dismount the vehicle via two rectangular roof hatches that open to either side. There is also a rectangular roof hatch at the front of the roof which can be used.
The BTR-50 is amphibious thanks to its flat, boat-shaped hull which is hermetical and ensures minimal resistance when the APC is afloat. It can swim after switching on the two electric bilge pumps; erecting the trim vane which improves the stability and displacement of the vehicle in the water and prevents water from flooding over the bow of the APC. Swapping the driver's periscope for a swimming periscope enables the driver to see over the trim vane. In the water it is propelled by two hydrojets, one on each side of the hull, the inlets are under the hull, the outlets are at the rear. There are also additional assistant water-jet inlets on both sides of the hull over the last road wheels. The rear outlets have lids that can be fully or partially closed, redirecting the water stream to the forward-directed outlets at the sides of the hull, thus enabling the vehicle to turn. It is the same system as the one used in the PT-76.
This update set by Voyager
is packaged in a plastic zip bag stapled to a cardboard holder. The photo etched sheets are protected by self-adhesive plastic and the smaller parts are packed in an additional zip bag. The following items are included
• A4 format instructions (3 pages)
• 4 photo-etched sheets (Sheet F&M: medium thickness, Sheet C: thick, Sheet N: delicate)
• 1 length of plastic rod ř 1mm (10 cm)
• 1 length of plastic rod ř 0.5mm (10 cm)
• 2 lengths of brass wire (10.5 cm)
• 1 length of braided copper wire (31cm)
• Small brass antenna mount
• Small metal spring for antenna mount
Note: Sheet F and sheet C originate from the Voyager update set (PE35411) which is meant for the Trumpeter PT-76B Amphibious Tank (00318). Voyager included these sheets because the BTR-50 is based on the PT-76 lower hull structure. Sheet M & N are new and are used for detailing the upper hull of the BTR-50PK. I have used the Voyager PE 35411 my PT-76 build.
a few details
Tool clamps, hatch hinges, fuel tank straps & antenna mount (p.1):
With this update set you can replace all the kit hatch hinges and the tool clamps. Plastic rod is included to replace the hatch bars. The tool clamps are a bit fiddly to bend, but once installed they look great. If you want to replace the hatch handles you can use the photo etch offering. A disadvantage is that the photo etch offering is flat, and the handles are, in real life, round.
If you want you can replace the straps on the kit fuel tanks. However, this will be a tricky operation because you need to cut and sand the fuel straps on the kit part which is a single molded item.
I can be quick on explaining the antenna mount: you slide the metal spring and the brass part on the brass rod and voila – a great looking antenna mount which definitely improves the kit part.
Headlight covers (p.2):
The Trumpeter kit provides a small photo etch set with headlight covers. However, the Voyager offering is more refined. The headlight cover is made of thicker photo etch to reduce the ‘flatness’ of it. You can choose to make your own headlight cover from plastic/brass rod to replicate the real thing, but in my opinion the Voyager offering looks good enough. Much better than the kit part!
Trim vane (p.2):
Based on photo references the trim vane is a thin metal sheet to prevent water from flooding over the bow and to improve the stability and displacement in the water. It is a tricky assembly but a great improvement over the kit part. One downside is that the trim vane has suppressed dents where they should be raised. It’s up to the modeler to tackle this area.
You really want to replace the kit parts as these are too simplified and oversized. Assembling the fenders is not difficult but the bonding is very fragile so I recommended soldering the parts together. The fenders fit perfectly on the lower hull. I did have some problems attaching the fenders on the lower hull because you only have a very small line of area which you can use to put superglue on. So be careful and take your time. Another aspect on the fenders is that you need to use a pen point to raise the small dents, this can be tricky so I would recommend using a punch & die set for creating the bolts (also for the trim vane). Once attached to the hull the fenders look very good and are a real improvement over the kit parts.
This upgrade set is very useful to raise your BTR-50PK to a higher level of detail. I recommend to use solder instead of superglue to assemble the fenders and the trim vane. The fenders and trim vane are delicate and a bit tricky to assemble, but with care and patience you should be fine. Overall, this update set replaces the basic and oversized kit parts and provides all the necessary parts you need to (super) detail your BTR-50PK. Highly recommended!
Review PT-76 PE sheet C & F by Sven Harjacek:
Review by Sven