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Unimodel 1/72 BT-42 Assault Howitzer Tank Build Review

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review January 2006 Manufacturer Unimodel
Subject BT-42 Assault Howitzer Tank Scale 1/72
Kit Number 339 Primary Media Styrene & Photo-Etch
Pros Nice detailing Cons  
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $9.98


The first BT-42’s appeared in the Finish Army in February of 1943. A captured BT-7 Soviet tank was altered to be used in assault support. The turret used was from an older Finish tank, that had an increased height. It housed a 114mm English howitzer Mk.II with a new muzzle brake.

The tank was powered by the aviation engine M-17T of 500 h.p. The BT-42 weighed in at 15 tons, had a maximum speed of 52.3/72 kph. The crew consisted of 3 men. In total, 18 machines were manufactured. Toward the end of 1943 the German Stug 40 gradually replaced the BT-42.

The Kit

I have to tell readers that this is the very FIRST 1/72nd scale armor kit that I have ever tackled, my preference being 1/35th usually. So, don’t look too closely at any mistakes. It was kind of simple to build. The only problems being the tiny parts with my tri-focaled eyes.


BT-42 Assembly began with putting together the floor, inner side walls, nose side walls, outer side panels, curved rear hull plate and one road wheel axle (part 13A) that gets trapped between the inner and outer side walls.

Next came the road wheel axles, the idler wheel arms and drive sprocket wheels. This step also says to mount the road wheels now. I glued the inner and out of these together, but left them off until they were painted separately later.

Step 3 is for the link and length type track assembly. However, I jumped over this step as I wanted to paint things first.

Step 4 had me assemble the upper hull parts, glacis plate, exhaust pipes, fenders, 2 air horns (these are to face rearward), drives access hatches, fender lockers, engine air intake parts (which included a PE screen, attached with CA).

BT-42 Step 5 was the assembly of the howitzer. A small perforated piece of PE is rolled into a cylinder and added as the muzzle brake with CA glue.

Step 6 completes the turret assembly: the main body, rear part, base plate and turret ring.

The instructions have you whittle off 2 triangular areas on the corners of the base plate. Be sure to do this, so the turret body fits above it right.

Now I fired up the air-brush. I shot the whole tank with Tamiya light gray paint. Then I painted the tires on the road wheels with Testors panzer gray. The treads were painted while still on the tree, as the single tread pieces are very tiny and I did not want to loose them into the rug perhaps. The color used was Testors German armor red brown with a flat black wash, then highlighted with Rub-N-Buff. (all paints used were acrylics)

BT-42 I then glued the road wheels and treads onto the tank. I used CA glue for the treads. Most of my other gluing was done with Tenax liquid glue. The treads were a real bear for me to assemble and did not go together well for me…mostly because of my eyesight. I’m sure mistakes there will show and I will hear about it…sigh.

BT-42 The finish decals were missing in my kit, so I resorted to painting the blue Finish swastika markings on the turret by hand with Testor’s dark blue. I used a permanent black ink Sharpie pen, with a fine point, to outline some of the panels and hatches. The headlight lenses were done with a spot of Rub-N-Buff.


This was a real adventure for me. I have to say that by and large the experience was enjoyable. The subject is rather an obscure vehicle, but…hey…I like obscure stuff. It is a welcome break from all the Pz.Kpw.III’s and IV’s, Tigers and Panthers.

Detail is very good for this scale and I recommend the kit to those that do 1/72nd scale.

My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!