BMP-1 in Iraq 1991- in 1:35 – Italeri
This is my crack at Italeri’s kit #6520 of the Soviet-era Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) BMP-1. The kit lists by Italeri as from 2014 but the mold is ESCI dating back thirty years, but more on that later…
I got this kit at Modellbau Paul in Vienna, one of the few LHS left in Austria. I recommend this shop to anyone visiting Austria’s capital. The owner is a very skilled modeler himself and sometimes you find the odd kit there, such as this one.
I was actually in Vienna over summer for holidays, not planning to do any plastic modelling, but due to Covid-19, we decided to sit-out a new lockdown in Belgium – my home country – by prolonging our stay there as the situation was better in Austria at the time, at least, the pubs were allowed to stay open there at the time :D.
I was already on the lookout for a contribution to the 30th anniversary Desert Shield/Desert Storm Group Build hosted by Chuck Villanueva @uscusn and I thought that building and Iraqi vehicle would be a nice and off-standard start. I stumbled upon this kit and so decided to build it.
Here is the build report:
The BMP is a series of Infantry Fighting Vehicles developed in the Soviet Union. Until its appearance, the USSR did not quite follow the mobile infantry doctrine as developed by the Germans in WWII with their partially armored half-tracks, allowing for mechanized grenadiers to closely follow-up on the tanks within armored pincers to exploit breakthroughs sooner. This particular BMP (Ru: Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty, or IFV) entered service in 1966 and was foreseen of a low-pressure smoothbore gun (free of recoil, so not really a gun in the technical sense) in a small turret atop the body. It is foreseen of a 6 cylinder 15.800 cc diesel engine developing 300 HP at 2.600 rpm. The vehicle houses up to 8 fully equipped grenadiers in the back that can fight from the vehicle through a selection of vision blocks and pistol ports.
If you want to discover this vehicle in more detail and hear – or even almost feel – the engine sound:
Despite its age, the BMP-1 is still in use today around the world, due to abundance, effectiveness in asymmetrical conflicts, simple layout and low maintenance costs. It was the main support vehicle for the Iraqi ground troops, a bit like what the Bradley is to US Marines. Therefore, I thought it make a nice entry to the Desert Shield/Desert Storm GB. Forgive my delay, @uscusn, @lgardner !
This kit is showing its age. It is no where near the standards we are used to nowadays with molded-on detail, absence of transparent parts and incomplete hull covering. Though we are blessed today in this golden age of (armor) modelling, it was a lesson for me to look back and get avfeel for how things used to be in the old days, really…
The tracks are of length and link type but the plastic for the tracks themselves proved a bit sturdy so again not ideal. If it wasn’t for my despair of not having a kit to build when overstaying in Austria for three more weeks, I would never have bought this kit. In what follows, you see the results of my attempts to improve an aged kit in the best way I could. It seemed a lost battle from the start, nevertheless, so were both Wars in the Gulf for its deemed users: The Iraqi army…
I built the kit OOB without aftermarket parts (why throw good money after a bad 20 EUR…). I added details like tie-downs and hand levers from scratch. Also, I emulated vision blocks from metal foil painted in transparent blue paint. The decals are a mix of kit featuresvand Echelon arabic stencils, the brass antenna is from RB Models.
As for the painting steps:
0. I started with a coat of rust colored acrylic primer,
1. I then added a generous layer of hairspray,
2. after that, I added white on the surfaces most exposed to the sun (pre-shading),
3. then came the eventual paint layer: A mixture of Revell enamels in sandy yellow and yellow
I had a serious issue with the plastic and the adhesion of paint to it. I did wash the model with detergent prior to application of the primer but in some areas, the paint still loosened on the finished model. Since the color was hand-mixed I could not easily repair that damage. Anyway, weathering does away with a lot of the weaknesses of us armor modelers!
The main weathering was done by means of the hairspray technique.
This is the result. Sorry for the clumsy kit choice, I just tried to make the best out of it instead of ritually ditching the entire project…
I hope you like my entry to Chuck’s GB!
Happy Modelling, Michel.