by: Adam Phillips [ ]
The Boyevaya Mashina Pyekhota, better known as the BMP-3 is a lightweight tank designed to carry a squad of soldiers. The BMP-3, was revealed to the public in Moscow during a parade in 1990. The vehicles are built by Kurganmashzavod, the same company that developed and manufactured the BMP-2. The main features of the BMP-3 are that the turret is located in the center of the vehicle, the troop compartment at the rear of the vehicle is accessed through the set of doors in the rear. The BMP, like a few other Russian vehicles is amphibious, which when in the water is propelled by two water-jets.
There are a handful of BMP-3 variants but the BMP-3F was designed with the naval forces in mind as an Amphibious Armored Combat Vehicle. This version attempted to increase fire power, mobility and protection of the marines.
Compared to the standard BMP-3, the 3F features increase the floatability reserve factor and the vehicle stability: the self-entrenching equipment is omitted, a light-weight antisurge vane and an air intake tube are introduced; the BMP-3F turret is protected by antisurge vanes as well.
Upon opening the box you will see, in typical Trumpeter fashion, the box is divided into two sections. The main section containing 8 bags for a total of 10 sprue. In the smaller divided section of the box you will find the upper and lower hulls, rear access doors, turret, clear parts, 2 frets of photo etch, clear parts, decal sheet, and a bag of individual track links. Over all the kit consists of over 760 parts, 192 of them belonging to the tracks alone.
One of the very first things that stood out to me was the number of ejector marks on the insides of the doors and hatches. While the marks can be removed via sanding and or filling, it is a disappointment. Iíve seen a few other kits from Trumpeter where they have done a much better job at eliminating the injector pin marks.
The other thing I noticed was that there were no additional steps taken to protect any small pieces. In many other kits Iíve seen released by Trumpeter lately they have gone the extra step to wrap delicate pieces. I was fortunate as the sample I received was in very good condition but I would hate to receive a kit with broken pieces due to poor packing.
That being said, the plastic seems to be very well molded with almost no flash and where seam lines are present they appear manageable. The details are crisp, and while Iím not a BMP expert, they appear to be accurate. Based on the quality of the mold I think this should build up into a nice model.
One thing I could not resist from doing was comparing the size of the BMP-3F to the BTR-70 that Iíve been working on. You will see from the pictures that the two kits complement each other well. I have to admit, I am thrilled to see Trumpeter releasing so many great Russian vehicles.
Of the 16 page instruction booklet, 14 pages are actually dedicated to the build itself. The first page gives your standard ďread before assemblyĒ warning etc. The second page gives a nice parts list. As a small note, there are 23 parts included which are not used during the build.
Construction of the 2 Drive Sprockets, 2 Idler Wheels, 12 Road Wheels and 6 Suspension Arms.
Installation of suspension parts, drive sprockets etc. As a note to anyone who may consider building this kit, Iíd suggest leaving the idler wheels and drive sprockets dry fit at this point to help in attaching the tracks later.
Installation of the road wheels. Again, a simple dry fit may be a good idea to aid in ease of painting.
Gives a very nice diagram of the track construction and even shows a bit of sag in the track links. Iíd suggest you check your reference pictures just to make sure this is accurate. The diagram shows that there are 84 links in each length of track. This is nice as the kit supplies 90 for each side.
This begins the interior construction with the sidewalls and some of the seating for the crew. The kit provides some very nice looking details here. The fire extinguishers are single molded pieces with one sprue gate at the bottom.
One thing that really disappoints me here is the lack of color call outs for the interior. While it is always good to have reference pictures of the real thing I like it when the instructions give a basic indication of what the colors could be.
Installation of major interior components, instrument panel, sidewalls, seating. One thing that Trumpeter did here which is nice, they included decals for the instrument panels which is not the case in all their recent Russian kits.
With the construction of the rear panel, this is the first step where the builder gets to work with the hatches. Itís a disappointment that the instructions donít provide the option of displaying them open. Itís not a big deal for me personally because it wonít take too much work to display them but still a disappointment none the less.
This has the builder drilling holes in the upper hull for parts to be attached later. The diagram is detailed and clear and shouldnít be a problem for most builders. It continues with the installation of a few more sidewalls and periscopes.
Installation of upper hull details, grab handles, forward guns, lights, and more closed hatches. One thing I donít like is the kit has you install a few handles and grab bars around the grill which in step 11 has you installing PE in the location. I think itíd be much more logical to install the PE grill before attaching any handles in the area.
Continues the installation of upper hull details, including rear hatches and the un-ditching log, side mirrors etc. Based on the quality of the molding Iím sure the log will go together well but itís too bad Trumpeter couldnít have found a way to mold it as one piece.
This is the step were the instructions call for the attachment of the PE grill. This is also the step where the upper and lower hull are attached. It appears that the fit of the upper and lower hulls is good enough that the modeler may be able to leave this dry fit. This would allow the builder the option to remove the upper hull from the lower to display the details of the interior.
Attachment of the side skirts.
Turret basket construction. While I cannot comment on the accuracy of the parts, the details of the basket are very crisp and give a nice representation of whatís on the real vehicle. I think, even strait out of the box, most will be satisfied with the results. Conversely, I think it is a great platform for somebody to start with if they want to super detail the basket. Either way, I believe most builders will be happy.
Continues with turret construction and with the assembly of the main gun and other details. One thing that really stood out is that the kit provides PE details for the grenade launchers. Again, the downside is more hatches with injector pin marks.
This step has the builder attach the two turret halves together along with construction of the spare fuel drum and what appear to be two antennas.
This is the last step in the turret construction. Thereís not much to this step as there are only 4 pieces added. The pieces round out the turret baskets and again are molded very well.
Final assembly of the turret to the hull and two more details added to the front of the hull.
As soon as I heard Trumpeter was releasing another BMP I was concerned that there would be a lot of over lapping parts between this variant and Trumpeterís other BMP-3 offerings which could have just been released as one kit with options. Fortunately this is not the case as it seems this kit was designed to truly be an F variant.
Overall, while there are a few areas that could be improved upon, I believe the instructions follow a very logical build process. It would have been nice for Trumpeter to include some basic color call outs for the interior and show options on displaying the multiple hatches and doors open but these are easily remedied. The biggest drawback for me is the multitude of injector marks on the hatches and doors. While these can be fixed it does slow down the build process and can add frustration.
After thoroughly reviewing the contents and the instructions I believe this kit should build up nicely. As is the case with the turret, I feel that strait out of the box, the kit will build up into a great representation of the BMP-3. For those builders who enjoy detailing their vehicles, I think this is a great platform to start with. Barring the issues with injector pin marks and minor issues in the instructions I think most builders would enjoy adding this kit to their collections.