Vision Models 1/35 BA-64B Armored Car Kit First Look
|Date of Review
|BA-64B Armored Car
|92 parts in olive drab styrene
|Clean, petite kit of a small armored car; well done DT machine gun
|Some details skimpy on the inside of the turret and hull
The Soviets always loved armored cars, and from the beginning made great use of the Austin-Pulitovs during WWI and the Civil War. This continued into the 1930s and the advent of the Soviet armor industry with both light four-wheel and heavy six-wheel armored cars in service by 1941. However, most of them were obsolete by the start of the war and also suffered from poor mobility.
When the war started, the most promising of the new generation of trucks was the GAZ-64, a small field car very similar in concept to the US “Bantam” and Jeep vehicles. It was a “vezdekhod” or all-wheel-drive vehicle and as a result was soon converted into an armored car as the BA-64 (BA for “broneavtomobil’ and 64 for its GAZ-64 parent). But the BA-64 had a narrow axle track which was not suitable for the heavier armored car, and it tended to bog down off road where it was easily tipped over.
In 1943 an improved model, using the broader track of the GAZ-67B field car, was produced as the BA-64B. This was a much better vehicle and proved to be far more popular in service. Roughly one of out every two was fitted with a 12RT radio set for use as a scout vehicle. By the war’s end 3,901 BA-64s and 5,160 BA-64B basic models were built; after the war all of the BA-64s were quickly scrapped. The BA-64B was also issued to client states and were encountered in some numbers in Korea. The vehicle began to leave the Soviet Army in the early 1950s and the last one in active service was retired in 1954.
There were a number of variants, including two different railway variants, one with a 12.7mm DshK machine gun, and one with an armored roof.
This nice new kit from newcomer Vision Models is a petite model with some well done details, many reminiscent of AFV Club kits (Vision is also out of Taiwan and could be using the same mold maker). It is a great step ahead from the old Alan kit of some years ago and while sparse (there is not much in a BA-64B at the end of the day) is nicely done.
The chassis and components are all separate parts, but for some odd reason there is no engine even though space has been left for one. This is odd as there is no provision for access to one so normally model companies give you a dummy oil pan and that is the end of it. There is also no firewall at the front of the compartment (there may not have been one from some information) and the driver sits astride the transmission, which is correct.
While none of the ammo racks and the fuel tank are present in the rear of the hull, once the turret is in place it is very hard to see so should not be missed.
The turret mounts very close to the prototype, with a “Rube Goldberg” (Heath Robinson to non-Americans) arrangement of a pedestal with a revolving frame and a bicycle seat to permit rotation of the asymmetrical turret and DT machine gun. Modelers who are not interested in turret rotation may wish to cement this in place or the turret appears to be able to fly off at a moment’s notice.
The cross-country tires are molded separately but have no sidewall data or other markings; at least they are nearly seam free. They do match one of the patterns used on BA-64B armored cars.
The little car fits perfectly on a set of plans in the Yevgeniy Prochko book “Vezdekhody RKKA” (All-Terrain Vehicles of the Workers and Peasants Red Army, Armada #7, 1998).
The model comes with a total of seven different finishing options; alas, all are wearing 4BO green paint. Unidentified unit, Ukraine 1943-1944 (4 -N3 - 7, “Vpered Zapad!” (Forward to the West)); 13th Guards Mechanized Brigade, 4th Guards Mechanized Corps, Ukraine August 1944 (white donkey); Unidentified unit, Razdel’naya Railway Station, Ukraine, 1944 (white stag over RR); Unidentified unit, Unidentified Ukrainian Front, Germany 1945 (bar shape 4); Czech 1t Armored Brigade, Prague 1945 (“Marenka”); Unidentified Unit, Unidentified Ukrainian Front, Germany 1945 (“Kavkaz - Berlin” ( Caucasus to Berlin), “Slava Stalinu” (Glory to Stalin) with white trim); 1st Guards Mechanized Corps, Vienna, Austria, April 1945 (white 249 - diamond 50). Surprisingly the decals were taped to the bottom of the box!
Overall this is a somewhat spartan but quite nice little model, and without brass or other bits it is a nice little weekend project.
- A 12 Fenders, turret, doors
- A 1 Upper hull
- A 1 Lower hull
- B 73 Chassis details, DT machine gun, 8 large and 16 small rivets
- C 5 Tires