Soviet Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle BRDM-2
Zvezda 1/35, Ref. 3638
Entering service in the Soviet army in 1962, the BRDM-2 is an amphibious armoured patrol car used ever since by the Soviet Union and then Russia. Over 7,200 vehicles have been built and were widely exported. BRDM-2s are still operational in over 60 countries literally from A to Z all over the world, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe!
The ‘basic’ variant is characterised by its conical turret and armament, taken from the earlier BTR-60. A number of variants have seen the light of day since 1962 but this is the basic variant that Zvezda has just released in 1/35.
The box is rather large for the contents, but the runners are tightly contained within plastic bags, preventing damage to the parts. There are only 124 parts, including 5 (very hard) vinyl tires.
A small sheet of transparent plastic, a decal sheet, a black & white instruction sheet and a A5-sized full-colour sheet provides the painting and decalling instructions. The vehicle is rather simple, hence the relatively small number of parts, but the chassis and suspension, along with the central small wheels (provided in hard plastic) are well detailed.
A bit of flash is apparent here and there, rather surprisingly considering the quality of other recent Zvezda releases, but it’s nothing to really worry about.
Although no interior is provided (only 124 parts, remember?) the crew hatches and armoured visors are separate items and could be left open. Those hatches were and still are the ‘Achille heel’ of the vehicle, all located at the front, they do not offer much protection to the crew in normal time, let alone during a precipitated exit!
Some annoying moulding rings appear on one side of each of the 5 vinyl tyres and on the underside of the hull. They will not be visible once the finished model is on its wheels though.
Two types of rear hull plate are offered in the kit, only one of them being referenced in the instruction sheet. The differences are few, and my (limited) knowledge of this vehicle does not allow me to explain the second plate’s reason of being just yet! I assume Zvezda will release other variants of the BRDM-2 at some stage… It would make commercial sense, I think.
For those interested in 1/35 post WW2 Soviet vehicles, or exotic AFVs, this release will certainly be very welcome. Some interesting conversion jobs could easily be done, such as the addition of an aircraft rocket-launcher pod above the roof. Those in the mood for derelict vehicles (Chernobyl, for instance!) will also probably be interested by this kit, as pictures of ‘dead’ BRDM-2s abound on the web.
Zvezda offers a number of options for colour scheme, an all green Soviet vehicle from the marine brigade of the Black Sea Fleet in 1980, a Russian vehicle in a three tone camouflage during the 1990s, an East German one, a Czechoslovakian one and a Polish one, all in green overall scheme, the later in 1994. The number of exciting possibilities is rather high if looking a little bit more further afield, some Afghan vehicles coming to mind!
Review by Domi Jadoul; pictures by Domi Jadoul & Zvezda.