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GAZ BA-20 Armored Car (Late)

Ace 1/48 GAZ BA-20 Armored Car (Late) Quick Build Review

By Mark Nickelson

Date of Review June 2014 Manufacturer Ace
Subject GAZ BA-20 Armored Car (Late) Scale 1/48
Kit Number 48109 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Simple build; interesting subject Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $24.95

Background

Ukrainian kit maker Ace has released a 1/48 kit of the humble prewar GAZ BA-20, a scout car built on a Russian sedan chassis with legitimate claims to U.S. Ford ancestry. The Ford was the Model 40, a 1932 design remembered for introducing the driving public to the vaunted flathead V-8. The Stalin government had struck a technology sharing deal with Ford, resulting in some cars and trucks built in the rodina that look just like contemporary Fords in the U.S.  The Model 40 sedan became a GAZ Emka, another new Ace offering. But this little AFV has a clunky, decidedly eastern-Europe-in-1939 look to it. Its quaint ugliness is its best feature, like certain breeds of dog.

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The Ace BA-20 built up quickly and easily—another way of saying Ace did not overreach and design in unneeded complexity.  They have my gratitude. Serious AFV modelers will find ways to add detail to this project, but I built it quickly just to evaluate the kit and share the news. Hauler makes a photo-etch set that will open up some viewing ports, the crew doors and engine access panels. A pipe rack handrail around the top of the body is seen in some photos, and would be a worthwhile easily do-able enhancement. The little machine gun is barely there, and somebody who knows how it should look could help it with, say, an insulin needle barrel.

The chassis fits easily into the one-piece fender and floor pan. Placement and alignment of the springs and axles requires some attention. I repositioned the front axle twice before I was satisfied, so now I recommend you finish the model and then glue the axle, with the wheels mounted, to the springs. You will want to bore a hole next to the engine pan for the exhaust pipe. There's also a muffler, a one-piece drive shaft and axle tee, and the two rear springs. The underside has, for me, just the right level of detail and complexity.  The hood is not meant to be opened, and the engine is not provided in the kit.

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From the fender pan up, assembly of the GAZ posed no significant problems and required only minimal filling. I bagged all the interior parts; there's no seeing inside this thing as kitted. But if you're going to open the doors and hatches, you can use the supplied seats, steering column, gearshift and brake levers and dashboard. Tires are vinyl and nicely made. The wheels are cast with commendable detail.  The head lamps have a little sink hole in the center of the lens. The surviving examples seen online indicate they should have slitted covers. I left off the tail lamps on purpose.

The AFV can be camouflaged in panzer gelb with green stripes for a captured scout car in Nazi service, or in Russian single color paint.  The Ukrainians call it 4BO khaki green. There's also a German winter scheme with big spots of panzer grau showing through overall white. You will have a few leftover parts on sprues that were common to the scout car and the sedan.

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