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SDV BTR-T Armored Personnel Carrier

SDV 1/87 BTR-T Armored Personnel Carrier Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review May 2012 Manufacturer SDV
Subject BTR-T Armored Personnel Carrier Scale 1/87
Kit Number 87094 Primary Media 41 parts in green styrene
Pros First kit of this vehicle in this scale in styrene Cons As vehicles are still prototypes, not sure of final arrangement or users
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) Approx $14.40

First Look

Since WW I attempts have been made to turn tanks into armored personnel carriers. These included “Supply Tank” versions of the Mark IV and V British tanks in WW I and the “Kangaroo” conversions of Rams and other redundant tanks in WWII. But for many years the Soviets simply used the “tankovyy desant” with troops hanging onto handrails.

As battlefields got more lethal it required that the troops move under armor. But armored personnel carriers were usually lightweight which meant lightly armored and not a good solution. The Israels came up with the best idea – convert a medium or main battle tank deemed redundant into a heavy armored personnel carrier. The result was the Achzarit, which used captured Syrian T-54 and T-55 chassis to produce a heavy armored personnel carrier with reactive armor to defeat ATGM and RPG weapons.

The idea intrigued the Russians, who had taken a pasting in first Afghanistan and then Chechnya from those weapons. With literally thousands of surplus T-54/T-55 chassis lying around only awaiting scrapping, conversion seemed a more useful application. So in the late 1990s the Omsk tank factory (KBTM to its friends) developed a conversion which was dubbed the BTR-T - a Russian acronym for “Armored Personnel Carrier - Heavy”. Prototypes were built and shown for several years at arms shows with different turrets, weapons fit and other detail differences, but so far there have been no sales. The latest variants are now based on the early T-72 chassis.

SDV now offers a nice new kit of this conversion, and like its prototype it uses their neat little T-55 kit as its base. Since SDV designed the T-55 to use a hull pan, fender and glacis set, and upper hull, it was a simple matter to replace the upper hull with the casemate of the BTR-T and its extended side fender panniers.

The model follows normal SDV practice in having the outer wheels separate from the track runs. Having built several of them, I do suggest to ease frustration you cut the locating pins off the backs of the road wheels and instead cut a bunch of .030" disks using a 1/8" punch. Cement the disks to the inner wheels and the outer wheels to the disks and you will get a parallel set of wheels.

The model provides for one of the larger turreted models but this only differs in having a larger turret with a 12.7mm NVT machine gun vice a 14.5mm or 30mm gun mounted. Four sets of three smoke grenade launchers are provided; the early prototype had them spaced as on the model, the later ones are both located at the rear of the panniers in groups of three.

No finishing instructions are provided (as the vehicles were prototypes, any color that the Russians felt would increase sales was used before each show) and only a number jungle set of decals is offered. Current Russian vehicles are in three color camouflage – dark olive green, black, and sand.

Overall this is a neat little kit which captures its prototype very nicely. Now if they could just sell them to somebody...!

Thanks to Jan Podubecky for the review sample.

Sprue Layout:

  • ‒ 1 Fenders
  • ‒ 1 Lower hull
  • ‒ 2 Track runs
  • ‒ 8x2 Road wheels, drivers, idlers
  • ‒ 1 Engine deck
  • ‒ 1 Upper hull
  • ‒ 4 Reactive armor array, bin lids
  • ‒ 2 Skirts
  • ‒ 12 Turret, smoke grenade launchers, machine gun
  • ‒ 1 Headlights