Zvezda BMD-2 Russian Airborne Fighting
Vehicle, 1/35-scale kit no. 3577
by Cookie Sewell
166 parts (150 in olive styrene, 17 in clear styrene, 4 in grey vinyl);
price about $24-28
Advantages: more complete than Eastern Express kits; more positive "lock"
to suspension arms makes assembly easier
Disadvantages: Zvezda's vinyl tracks are "iffy" fits
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all modern armor and Soviet/Russian fans
F I R S T L O O K
This is the third and latest kit of the by now well-known Soviet BMD series
airborne fighting vehicles. The others were reviewed previously by me
and were from SKIF (BMD-1P) and from Eastern Express (BTR-D and 2S9 "Nona-S").
So that now makes a total of seven BMD series kits now available to the
modeling public – a BMD-1P from SKIF, a BMD-1P and BMD-2 from Zvezda,
and a BMD-1P, BMD-2, BTR-D and 2S9 from Eastern Express.
This kit is the most advanced of the three companies, and has very well
done detail parts in most areas. Like the SKIF kit, as it is done from
"flat" molds it is a flat kit requiring the hull be assembled
from seven parts – belly, sides, roof, rear and two machine gun
ports. (EE provides a Western-style "tub" hull.) Beyond that,
all three kits have nearly identical assembly techniques and parts breakdown.
But this kit has very well defined "D" mounts for the suspension,
so assembly will be much more positive than the sloppy fit on the SKIF
kit. The drivers are also the best detailed.
Zvedza also includes a set of clear parts for the vision devices –
something that SKIF in particular should have thought of! – but
they have to be inserted during assembly, ergo the model must be painted
prior to assembly and that is something many modelers avoid. This somewhat
negates the value of the parts, but on the other hand it does not leave
any gaping holes to fill later.
The model has optional position hatches, but makes no pretense at an
interior and the rear troop hatch only cements down to a flat plastic
surface (e.g. no interior access). This isn't bad, as most modelers do
have vehicles with at most a driver and commander figure in them, so I
doubt it will be a major negative point.
Unlike the SKIF kit, and in common with the EE kits, no fret of etched
brass is included. But unlike the EE kits, the parts that should have
been included from etched brass are provided here in plastic. That's not
so bad for some sections like the rear grilles (which are very fine mesh
and hard to do correctly) but makes for thicker than desirable ones like
the headlight guards.
One minor plus of this kit is that since the wheel and missile section
parts are doubled up (two sprues to provide all parts) you get two complete
AT-4 missile launchers and guidance sets. This permits their use on one
of the other's kits to upgrade them.
The turret is nicely done and matches the "toy tank" appearance
of the one-man turret with 30mm 2A42 cannon of the original. It appears
accurate and has a goodly number of detail parts to complete it (41 parts
in all for a turret about the size of a 1/72 Tiger I).
What is totally up in the air is the fact that unlike the other two companies
Zvedza provides four sections of grey vinyl tracks to make up the tracks,
and in most kits their tracks are tighter than a well-tuned guitar string
and about as easy to install. Both of the others used single-link styrene
which, in the case of the SKIF one, was the best thing about the kit.
While I have not assembled the kit yet, based on past experience (bowstring
taut IS-2 tracks and ones on the T-26 that snapped the idlers completely
off the model) I pass it along as a word of warning.
Five sets of markings are included: vehicle 187 in three-color camo (probably
the first regiment of a division, 3rd battalion, 8th company); vehicle
876 of a 3rd battalion; vehicle 394 (probably the 3rd regiment, 3rd battalion,
9th company); vehicle 339 from the IFOR brigade; and vehicle 117 with
VDV markings. (The colors are keyed to the chart below the markings layout.)
All three companies' kits offer different takes on the same subject:
Eastern Express is probably the most accurate but may be a tougher build;
Zvezda should be the easiest build but the tracks may be a bear to install;
and SKIF offers the most features but also needs the most corrections
to make into an acceptable model.