Zvezda 1/35 BTR-80A Kit First Look
|Date of Review||January 2005||Manufacturer||Zvezda|
|Kit Number||3560||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||As nice as the DML BTR-80!||Cons|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$29.98|
The Soviet Union recognized the diversity of the terrain that they may be forced to move over and fight. While the main battle tanks remained tracked, the armored personnel carriers and reconnaissance scouts came in tracked and wheeled versions, both of which retained amphibious river crossing capabilities. The BMP, BMD and later MT-LB series of combat vehicles represented the low-stanced tracked versions while the BTR series covered the wheeled vehicle family.
The BTR-152 was the first in the mainstream of wheeled armored personnel carriers and was little more than an updated halftrack body on a wheeled chassis. The BTR-50 series reverted back to fully tracked mobility, which was abandoned for eight wheels in the BTR-60. This eight-wheeled design would remain as the vehicle was updated with improved armor and drive train through the BTR-70 and BTR-80 series of production runs.
The BTR-60/70/80 series had a common small turret with the 14.5mm KPVT heavy machine gun and coaxial 7.62mm PKT machine gun. The BTR-80 turret was modified to allow gun elevations up to 70 degrees for mountain fighting (lessons learned from Afghanistan). The BTR-80A retains the PKT coaxial machine gun, though the KPVT is replaced with a 30mm long-barreled main gun, bringing its firepower up to contemporary standards for IFV armament. In addition, a new night sight provides visibility out to 900 meters at night. (Thanks to Iwailo Tzenow for clarifying the BTR-80A armament.)
Zvedza has re-released their 'standard' BTR-80 kit (number 3558) with the new turret and details that make up this interesting new variant of the tried and true BTR. Molded in olive green styrene, the kit comes on six parts trees and also includes eight black rubber tires. There is some interesting design similarity of the kit to the now out-of-production DML BTR-80 kit, including the steerable front wheels.
The model has positionable hatches, but no interior is included. The best defense against the dreaded IPMS judges is to position all of the hatches closed as the crew uses periscopes to fight the vehicle under fire.
The guns on the new turret are movable as is the turret. Assembly is very straightforward on this kit and the only caution given, as with the DML kit, is that that the there are a number of grab irons, steps and other parts that make the assembled model a bit fragile. Caution will be needed when transporting the kit anywhere (as I've learned with my own DML BTR-80).
Markings are included for three examples, vehicles 122, 133 and 521. Vehicle 122 is an overall green BTR-80A whilst the other two sport a two-color camouflage of dark and pale green.
Zvezda has released an interesting BTR-80 with this big gun variant. Helicopter pilots won't want to meet this vehicle on the battlefield with its big honking sniper cannon.
For a look at this kit built-up, check out the build review here on Cybermodeler Online!
My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!