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Zvezda 1/35 BMD-2 Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review October 2004 Manufacturer Zvezda
Subject BMD-2 Scale 1/35
Kit Number 3577 Primary Media 166 parts (150 in olive styrene, 17 in clear styrene, 4 in grey vinyl)
Pros More complete than Eastern Express kits; more positive "lock" to suspension arms makes assembly easier Cons Zvezda's vinyl tracks are "iffy" fits
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) Approx $24-28

First Look

This is the third and latest kit of the by now well-known Soviet BMD series airborne fighting vehicles. The others were reviewed previously by me and were from SKIF (BMD-1P) and from Eastern Express (BTR-D and 2S9 "Nona-S"). So that now makes a total of seven BMD series kits now available to the modeling public – a BMD-1P from SKIF, a BMD-1P and BMD-2 from Zvezda, and a BMD-1P, BMD-2, BTR-D and 2S9 from Eastern Express.

This kit is the most advanced of the three companies, and has very well done detail parts in most areas. Like the SKIF kit, as it is done from "flat" molds it is a flat kit requiring the hull be assembled from seven parts – belly, sides, roof, rear and two machine gun ports. (EE provides a Western-style "tub" hull.) Beyond that, all three kits have nearly identical assembly techniques and parts breakdown. But this kit has very well defined "D" mounts for the suspension, so assembly will be much more positive than the sloppy fit on the SKIF kit. The drivers are also the best detailed.

Zvedza also includes a set of clear parts for the vision devices – something that SKIF in particular should have thought of! – but they have to be inserted during assembly, ergo the model must be painted prior to assembly and that is something many modelers avoid. This somewhat negates the value of the parts, but on the other hand it does not leave any gaping holes to fill later.

The model has optional position hatches, but makes no pretense at an interior and the rear troop hatch only cements down to a flat plastic surface (e.g. no interior access). This isn't bad, as most modelers do have vehicles with at most a driver and commander figure in them, so I doubt it will be a major negative point.

Unlike the SKIF kit, and in common with the EE kits, no fret of etched brass is included. But unlike the EE kits, the parts that should have been included from etched brass are provided here in plastic. That's not so bad for some sections like the rear grilles (which are very fine mesh and hard to do correctly) but makes for thicker than desirable ones like the headlight guards.

One minor plus of this kit is that since the wheel and missile section parts are doubled up (two sprues to provide all parts) you get two complete AT-4 missile launchers and guidance sets. This permits their use on one of the other's kits to upgrade them.

The turret is nicely done and matches the "toy tank" appearance of the one-man turret with 30mm 2A42 cannon of the original. It appears accurate and has a goodly number of detail parts to complete it (41 parts in all for a turret about the size of a 1/72 Tiger I).

What is totally up in the air is the fact that unlike the other two companies Zvedza provides four sections of grey vinyl tracks to make up the tracks, and in most kits their tracks are tighter than a well-tuned guitar string and about as easy to install. Both of the others used single-link styrene which, in the case of the SKIF one, was the best thing about the kit. While I have not assembled the kit yet, based on past experience (bowstring taut IS-2 tracks and ones on the T-26 that snapped the idlers completely off the model) I pass it along as a word of warning.

Five sets of markings are included: vehicle 187 in three-color camo (probably the first regiment of a division, 3rd battalion, 8th company); vehicle 876 of a 3rd battalion; vehicle 394 (probably the 3rd regiment, 3rd battalion, 9th company); vehicle 339 from the IFOR brigade; and vehicle 117 with VDV markings. (The colors are keyed to the chart below the markings layout.)

All three companies' kits offer different takes on the same subject: Eastern Express is probably the most accurate but may be a tougher build; Zvezda should be the easiest build but the tracks may be a bear to install; and SKIF offers the most features but also needs the most corrections to make into an acceptable model.