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Michel Verschuere
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BMP-1 in Iraq 1991- in 1:35 – Italeri

December 28, 2020 · in Armor · · 11 · 5.9K

This is my crack at Italeri's kit #6520 of the Soviet-era Infantry Fighting Vehicle () . 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:

Short history:
The BMP is a series of Infantry Fighting Vehicles developed in the Soviet Union. Until its appearance, the 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 !

The kit:
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...

The build:
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:

  1. I started with a coat of rust colored acrylic primer,
  2. I then added a generous layer of hairspray,
  3. after that, I added white on the surfaces most exposed to the sun (pre-shading),
  4. 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.

Reader reactions:
4  Awesome

1 additional image. Click to enlarge.

11 responses

  1. This is a great BMP, Michel!
    Really showing how modeling skills can achieve a great result out of a nt that great kit.
    Congratulations, my friend!
    I love this BMP!

  2. The good old Dragon kit, built their BMP-2 a loooong time ago.
    Turned out nice!
    And yes, it´s sad that there aren´t many LHS left here in Austria...but I guess it´s the same in most other countries.

  3. Good morning, Michel, I watched you take this kit and despite it's age and lack of details, you manage to build an excellent example. I love that the older kits are still fun to build, add a little more to bring them up to standard, an excellent example demonstrated here. Your passion shows in your builds Michel. Thank you for contributing and appreciate an outstanding Iraqi BMP. Thanks for sharing, and wish you and your family a safe and blessed New Year.

    • Hi Chuck! This is part one of my entries to your GB. Since I lived the first Gulf War - operation desert shield - as a 14 year old, I still have vivid memories on it. So to me, it is a very inspiring subject! Thanks for hosting this great GB!

  4. Beautifully done, excellent job, Michel!

  5. Michel, @michel-verschuere
    I have been watching your journal for updates as you built this little 1/35 scale masterpiece. It turned out exceptionally nice, and you did a wonderful job with it. I always enjoy viewing your armor and diorama builds, as you always do such spectacular work on everything you do.

    The last Armor unit I served in was the very first on the ground in Saudi Arabia during Desert Shield. They were deployed along with the 82nd Airborne. I had left the Army several years prior to this happening and felt guilty that some of my friends were over there and I wasn't.

    Then the ground war part started...

    So I started the re enlistment process, but had to get a waiver for dependents since I was now married and had children. By the time this happened, the 3 day ground war was over and I decided not to go back in the Army. In hind sight maybe I should have... who knows ?

    Sandy and I are wishing you and your family a safe , healthy and Happy New New.

  6. Awesome job! Our M-2 BFV ("Delta-26") smoked a couple of these with our 25mm M-242 during Operation Desert Storm.

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