ICM 1/72 BTR-152V Build Review
By John Kelley
|Date of Review||Januarly 2010||Manufacturer||ICM|
|Kit Number||72531||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Accurate shape and good fit||Cons||No detail on interior walls|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$11.25|
The BTR-152V entered service in 1951 and was the first armored personnel carrier fielded by the post war Soviet army. Based on the ZIL-151 cargo truck, it was a rugged and simple vehicle. The main armament was a 7.62mm Gorjunov or Kalashnikov machine gun. Produced in open and closed top versions, a number of variants were produced from ambulance to command as well as anti-aircraft and anti-tank. It served with the Soviet, Warsaw Pact, and Middle Eastern armies.
ICM released the BTR-152V in 1/72 scale, and it is the subject of this review. Originally issued, I think by Omega K, the ICM kit is an accurate representation of the real vehicle. The kit is molded in white with black tires and has 46 flash free pieces. The biggest disappointment for me was the color scheme of a Czech version on the instruction sheet but no decals! I have an Omega K version that has the Czech markings on it so why ICM did not include them, I don't know. But if you want to do one from Czechoslovakia, you will need to get suitable markings.
All the external detail is molded on and while a little soft, it is still nicely done. However, there is no detail on the interior side walls of the upper hull; not even a scribed line to delineate the doors or visors so if you want to see this detail on the inside, you will have to add it. Looking at various photos on the web of the interior, there is a lot you can add. What detailing is in the kit is quite good, so this makes a nice start for a super detailed model.
Building this kit was not a real challenge as the fit was good throughout. However, the instructions were a bit of a problem as they are vague in a couple of areas, so this is what I will concentrate on. I would suggest building the interior first because the front springs sit on the bumper/winch support arms and not the winch sides as is directed in the instructions.
When assembling the interior, be aware that the rear seats, parts 23 and 21, are attached to the front seats, parts 22 and 20. You will need to separate the front and rear seats from each other as the instructions show them to be separate pieces, but the sprue gate attaches them together.
The interior has quite a bit of detailing and even includes some stowage to put behind the back rest. One thing about the back rest is all the photos I have seen show them to be padded while the kit portrays them as slats like the seat bench bottoms. This is an easy fix as all you need to do is putty the slats and sand until the back rest is smooth and also round off the corners a bit.
The dash board has a notch in the back that sits on the firewall. At least that is where I put it and it seem to fit fine. After the interior was assembled and painted, I began work on the drive train. I followed the instructions throughout and I had few problems. The back axle stub on parts 2 and 3 is about .030 shorter than the front one. I just didn't push the wheels in too deep but made sure they lined up with the front pair.
The front drive shaft, part 16, was about .090 too long, so I cut out about that much and glued it back together then attached it to the model. I then drilled out the holes for the head lamps and assembled these.
I lost the tow hook but I replaced it with a Grandt Line Lifting Eye and this completed the construction phase. One thing to remember is to make sure the tire treads are all going in the same direction. This is shown in the instructions but I still managed to get one on the wrong way
Painting & Finishing
The instructions suggest Humbrol colors, but I prefer acrylics, so I finished the model with Tamiya XF-67 NATO Green and painted the tires with XF-63 German Grey. I picked out the stowage with XF-5 Flat Green and XF-62 Olive Drab.
I gloss-coated the model with Model Master Gloss Coat and gave the model a wash with flat black. After I applied the kit decals, I sealed them with Model Master Dull coat.
At this point, I made a slightly thin wash of thinner and XF-57 Buff and applied a heavy wash on the tires and chassis. I also applied it around the exterior details as well as the interior to give the appearance of a very dusty vehicle. While most of it doesn't show in the photos, it is there. The model was gloss coated and before any weathering was done, I added the decals. These went on with no problems and the decal film disappeared under a flat coat. The kit comes with decals for Syria, East Germany and Poland as well as the USSR, but the instructions and box art only show Czech, USSR and a Middle Eastern one on the box front.
I really enjoyed building this kit and I intend to get the closed top version next. In spite of some instruction and minor assembly issues that I have already mentioned, this is a kit worth buying, especially if you have an interest in Soviet and Warsaw Pact armor. It is a sturdy kit after building and if care is taken, the wheels will touch the ground and the tire treads will run in the same direction. I highly recommend this kit.