Trumpeter has finally released a kit that has been highly desired and anticipated. The BMP-1 (Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty – fighting vehicle of the Infantry) came out of a design requirement in 1956 for a well armed vehicle that would fully protect its crew and infantry from not only NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) threats but also from enemy fire and artillery. It has to be able to move the infantry at speed and allow them to fire from within the vehicle while NBC sealed. It also needed to be amphibious and be able to attack or defend from similar vehicles or tanks. That was quite the order for 1956. The result was Obiekt 764 that eventually became Obiekt 765, the designation for the first BMP-1 (m1966). Approximately 2000 were produced until, in 1970, a major revision was made that incorporated a chemical filtration system that made it truly NBC resistant, as well as some hull changes in length and angle, that increased its armor protection and made it a better amphibious vehicle. This is the version that Trumpeter has modeled the m1970.
The kit artwork is nice, but it depicts the turret spotlight with a cover for illuminating the vehicle id. I have not seen photos of this in use, and it would face the rear if ever done, so be wary.
The kit comes with 460 parts, the majority of them the individual tracks, on 11 sprues (1 is clear), with the hull top, bottom, and one piece turret separate, and 95 sprues of track link “pairs”. There is a metal gun barrel, a small decal sheet, and a small PE fret. There are the usual instructions with 11 very busy steps.
I used the blueprints from Wydawnictwo as the major dimensions I had of the real vehicle (length and width) matched the blueprints. The Trumpeter kit matches the blueprints almost exactly and, to the best of my ability with my calipers, is nearly true 1/35 scale. I have no access to photo's or measurements beyond the basic dimensions, so I want it understood that I am assuming a lot based on the blueprints. Also, since it will come up, I measured out the DML/Italeri/Zvezda and AMT/ERTL/ESCI BMP-1 kits and the dimensions they have come out to roughly 1/32. So this means almost all of the current aftermarket BMP-1 parts will not work on this new kit as they will be too big.
Also, the turret scales out correctly both by blueprints and photos. The earlier BMP-1 kits turrets were oversized.
starts with the running gear. The idler in particular has received a lot of attention and looks really good. There are PE “cross pieces” for the two halves that are a bit thin compared to the prototype. Plastic may have been the better choice for the correct thickness, but they have a nice look to them when built. The road wheels are a two piece affair, molded with rubber “wheel” on the front piece and a back interior “insert”. The road wheels look very good, though I am not sure if they are early or late style. There is a picture on page 38 of the Kagero BMP-1 walk around that shows both style of road wheel on the same vehicle, so either is fine. The mold seam lines on the rubber, present on the real vehicle from the vulcanizing process of adding the rubber to the wheels, is present and, while finely done, is still over scale. I am not sure it could be more finely done and still show up, but if it bothers you, you can easily sand it off. There are a LOT of lower hull details added at this point too, and all of it makes the lower hull and suspension areas look MUCH more detailed and refined. The hull stops in particular, including the front and rear ones with the PE brackets, are a nice touch compared to the older kits. At this point I would leave parts B27, the idler mounts, unglued so you can adjust the suspension later.
The sprockets look very good for plastic and measures out for 1/35. I am sure there is some improvement that could be done, but the kit sprockets are very acceptable for thickness and level of detail.
The lower hull itself is very nicely done with all major shapes and contours represented accurately. The contours seem a bit exaggerated for the exterior of the hull, but good for the interior.
continues with the rear hull doors and suspension area. The rear doors feature simplified interior detail BUT part B33, the rear periscopes, are NOT clear. The rear doors are a good base but will benefit from super-detailing if left open, BUT there is NO interior to this model. The rear swim fender is better than past examples, with a very thin look from the rear, but it is thicker on the idler side and there is a molding seam on the interior surfaces. This would have been better as PE. The shocks and road wheel arms are very nicely detailed and seem to allow for a vehicle that has combat weight without passengers. If desired, the locating holes could be rounded out to allow the road wheel arms to be positioned as desired. The return rollers are nicely done, but the lines in the rubber are WAY overdone and would be best removed.
adds the road wheels, idler, and sprocket. All pieces fit snug.
is the construction of the tracks. I am impressed with the kit tracks. They seem to scale out correctly, they are workable tracks, and they are not too delicate. One shortfall is that the BMP-1 has double pinned tracks, but the kit tracks only have one of the two hinges workable. I have no problem with this, but the purist will want to know this. The instructions list 85 links per side.
is detailing the upper hull. The rear upper “troop” doors have minimal interior side detail consisting of part B16. If you want the doors open, there is a lot of detail that will need to be added. The firing port doors are separate and the “regular' doors even have the weld seem for the pivots. The larger firing port doors that are nearest the front do not. Part A8, the formation light, is very nicely reproduced. G7 is the commander's hatch and G46 is the driver's hatch. Both are decently reproduced but neither has a interior side, so leaving them open will take detailing, and both hatch's hinge details could use some extra work (Pgs 14 and 16 - Kagero).
is more upper hull detailing. The periscopes are clear plastic and are offset as they should be. The front trim vane is nicely detailed, and can be positioned up or down. All the vents are thinned down to a scale thickness at the opening. Part B6, a lift ring, will need to be hollowed out.
more upper hull details. Hinges for trim vane are added depending on if it is up or down. The hinges are actually very nice in plastic as the real ones are fairly robust. Drivers periscopes added and note the drivers forward facing periscope is F3, it is different from the F6 periscopes. I have a serious problem with part G8 and it is one of the major shortfalls of this kit. G8 is the air inlet. It should be a grate with a 6 spoke skeletal frame. It is a blank piece of plastic, almost a plug, provided by Trumpeter and a true disappointment. With so much other detail to attention in this kit, including the engine grilles and exhaust slats in this step, to see a major stumble of piece G8 is bizarre. If it was not so easily spotted right in the middle of the model, it might not be so bad. But it is front and center, so it is bad. The engine grilles and exhaust slats are PE and look very good. The headlights have separate clear lenses and very delicate guards that look the part. Behind the commander's hatch, on the top hull, is a molded-on round cover with a “line” that goes to the cover of the chemical filtration system. This seems to be incorrectly shaped and is missing a wire “hook” that is present in many, but not all, photos like HERE
is adding some final details and joining the upper and lower hulls together. The detail and setup of the searchlight for the commander’s hatch, with both PE and plastic parts, is very well done. There is room for the super-detailer, but the average modeler will be quite happy with the kit representation out of the box. I would have joined the hulls together after step 3 but the seam between them is minimal and well hidden.
side skirts, rear details, and front flaps. The front flaps are OK, but are very basic and could use help with hinges and reinforcing ribs. The side skirts match well with the real thing but there are only two mounting “posts” on the upper hull rather than 3 (the one missing is over the last road wheel before the idler – Kagero pg35). This will only matter if you want to show off the model without the side skirts, or with them lifted (if you do this, the interior detail will have to be added to the side skirts as there is none). The detail on the side skirts is a bit simplified in that the smaller rivets are well represented but the mounting bolts are anemic and could be replaced with larger bolt heads. If you consult references you will see differing styles of embossing for the side skirts.
the turret: While the turret overall looks to be very close to correct in diameter and dimension, the reload hatch for the AT-3 and the gun mantlet seem to be a bit too narrow. I would say the mantlet needs 1mm of material on each side, and the reload hatch needs to be about 2mm wider. It is not a major issue, but it was noticeable to me. The mantlet to turret area is also simplified; see pages 18 and 19 in the Kagero book. There are no tie downs on the turret nor are there pieces provided or the ubiquitous trap straps. The “hump” at the rear of the turret top seems too canted in and by my references (Kagero, Squadron, and Internet) should be more rectangular. The lift rings, part A6, need to be hollowed out completely.
The periscopes are clear and appear to be in the correct spots and angles. Sights, lights, and vents look good. Main hatch is good for shape but has no interior detail. The main gun offers you two choices, the very nice turned metal barrel with a 2 piece plastic collar or a one-piece hollow molded plastic barrel. Both barrels measure out accurate but neither barrel choice has the notching in the collars that is prevalent between the barrel and collars. The AT-3 is a good replication, but the fins are a bit thick. The launch rail/mounting base is the best so far in plastic, but it is still simplified and would need work if shown without the missile or rail in place. The coaxial MG barrel is correctly done and hollow molded.
add the turret to the hull, admire your work. Paint guides show green as the only color option with markings for Soviet/Russian, Czechoslovakian, and East German vehicles. There is one option for white stripes on the vehicle, but no explanation as to why to have them (most likely used for war games and training).
I am doing a BLOG
of this kit in the forums: