Trumpeter 1/35 BTR-60P APC Kit First Look
Images by Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||September 2011||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Kit Number||1542||Primary Media||424 parts (367 in grey styrene, 41 etched brass, 8 black vinyl, 8 clear vinyl)|
|Pros||First kit of this vehicle in styrene; nicely done driveline and interior||Cons||Very uncommon vehicle due to quick replacement by BTR-60PA and PB|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$49.95|
During WWII the Soviets quickly realized that the preferred method they used for moving infantry on the battlefield - the “Tankoviy Desant”, with a squad of men hanging on to the outside of a tank - was hazardous at best and fatal up against a determined combined arms defense. After the war ended, they soon developed an open-topped armored personnel carrier based on the new ZiL-157 truck (sort of a grandson of the Studebaker US6 Lend-Lease chassis) but it had numerous drawbacks. For one, in a country with a water crossing every 10 kilometers and a major river every 50 it was not amphibious.
The BTR-50P tracked armored personnel carrier was too expensive and big to use in great numbers, so a competition was held for what amounted to a “battle taxi” - an armored personnel carrier with high mobility, amphibious capability - and cheap enough to build in large numbers. The first prototype, the 6 x 6 BTR-153, was a flop, as were Articles 851 and 852. Article 1015-B, an 8 x 8 vehicle, showed some promise, and it used parts already developed such as the water jet drive from the PT-76 light tanks.
But the Gor’kiy Automotive Factory proposed a similar vehicle it dubbed the GAZ-49. It used twin 90 HP gasoline V-8 engines, a water jet drive, and easily passed all state tests. On 13 December 1959, the Council of Ministers of the USSR accepted the GAZ-49 for service with the Soviet Army as the BTR-60P (BTR - bronetransporter or APC, P - plavayushchiy or amphibious).
The new vehicle was in production from 1960 to 1963 when replaced by the BTR-60PA, which added an armored roof. There is no reliable information as to the actual number produced, but it is probably low as most of them were soon given to the Naval Infantry and the Border Guards, two groups that rarely received first-line equipment. Its replacement, the BTR-60PA, was sealed with a roof and filtration for use on “dirty” (e.g nuclear) battlefields; three years later, in 1966, the ultimate BTR-60 variant, the PB with a twin machine gun turret, came into service and large-scale production. Total of all BTR-60 chassis was around 25,000.
Normally the BTR-60P was armed with a 7.62mm SGMB or the later PK machine gun, but it could mount either a 12.7mm DshKM or even a 14.5 KPV under some circumstances. A “firepower” variant with a DshKM on the glacis and twin SGMB “beam guns” was offered to some units.
Nearly 20 years ago DML released kits of the later model BTR-70 and BTR-80 Soviet armored personnel carriers, but no one ever did a styrene kit of the BTR-60 series in 1/35 scale until now. Trumpeter released the P version as its first kit, but has also announced a BTR-60PB, command variant, and new kits of the BTR-70 and BTR-80 as well.
The new kit is a very nice effort indeed, and comes with all of the items that Trumpeter has provided in its recent kits. The parts are well protected (delicate ones are wrapped in foam inside the poly bag) and it also comes with a small but useful fret of etched brass. Oddly enough it comes with the DShKM rather than the more common SGMB weapon; an SGM from an old kit or one of the DML weapons sprues may be a better choice for a typical Soviet era vehicle.
Its construction is more akin to recent kits like the AFV or Trumpeter Stryker vehicles than the old DML BTRs. The first three steps cover just attaching the bump stops and suspension A frame brackets to the lower hull. It takes eight full steps before the lower hull pan is flipped over to start on the interior.
The kit comes with two floors, the “control compartment” and the “fighting compartment” in Russian parlance. This version has two seats at the front for the driver and commander, and two long benches for the rest of the crew. Watch out as the directions spin the hull around without much indication as to which end is front (the “pointy” end is!)
Steps 16-19 cover the interior of the upper hull, such as the firing port cover handles, heater/defroster (!), and viewers. The R-113 radio (G8, S33, PE-A4 and PE-A5) is nicely done, as is its booster (G32, G10, PE-A2).
Steps 20-23 cover the outside of the upper hull, and this includes a lot of the PE for the model. All of the light fit on PE brackets as do any small hook fittings.
Step 24 shows the assembly of the upper and lower hull sections, 25 the fitting of the wave breaker (shown retracted), and 26 the water jet propeller; the latter only has the propeller fitting flush against the rear of the hull and no tunnel is provided to the pickup screen on the belly of the hull, so it is probably better to cement the two part door (S12/S16) shut.
The wheels come in during Step 27; the tread pattern is handed so while the wheels and tires are universal the direction of the tread is not. 28 covers the DshKM machine gun. Note that the mount for this is also PE.
Three sets of finishing options are provided: a “parade queen” from one of the Moscow Revolution Day (7 November) parades with white trim; a Naval Infantry vehicle (white 355) with Soviet Navy ensign; and an olive drab vehicle (white 2) which appears to belong to the Border Guards. (The latter were used at the infamous Daman Island battle in 1969 when the Soviets and Red Chinese clashed over said island in the Ussuri River.)
Overall this is a nice kit, but most of the “Cold War” fans will be looking for the later BTR-60PB and BTR-60PU versions.
- A 32x4 Two wheels, drive line elements
- B 2x4 Wheels
- D 25x2 Seats, suspension links
- E 25x2 Viewers, port covers
- F 9 DshKM heavy machine gun
- G 43 Interior parts
- H 9 Clear styrene
- S 40 Interior, walls, sides, back
- V 37 Interior, bench seats, engine deck
- ‒ 8 Vinyl tires
- ‒ 8 Vinyl keepers
- ‒ 1 Upper hull
- ‒ 1 Lower hull
- ‒ 41 Etched brass