Russian BRDM-2 (early) Armored Car

Published: October 5th, 2012     
Product Image
Box Art
Reviewed by: 
Andy Renshaw, IPMS# 35806
Scale: 1/35
Company: Trumpeter
Price: $46.95
Product / Stock #: 05511

For the lovers of Soviet cold war armor, decades have gone by without any accurate, readily available kits.  What was out were either resin or very limited run, and usually done from sketchy plans and grainy photos as a reference.  The fall of the Iron Curtain saw the availability of reference material open up some, and a few kits from former Soviet Bloc countries trickled in, but we were still left wanting.  Tamyia, Esci, Dragon, and others started covering the "heavy hitters" during the 1990s, yet that still left many vehicles untouched.

Enter the 21st century market with an onslaught of kits from the Far East.  Trumpeter has been steadily working its way through the Soviet inventory, or so it seems, and after starting a series of eight-wheeled vehicles, they begin the four-wheeled with the release of the early model BRDM-2.

In the Box

Within the sturdy medium-sized box you are greeted with seven light grey sprues, a clear sprue, upper and lower hull, four small and four large styrene rubber tires, decals, an etch fret, and some wire and rope.  Total parts are over 250, with a single color page paint option and printed instructions.  The instructions are clear and concise, with a logical number of parts being called out in each step.  Sprues are very cleanly cast, including a few utilizing slide molds.  The lower hull is very well detailed and includes some of the details found on the interior.  The upper hull looks to be universal for several variants, as the instructions have you fill or cut off many mounting points and alignment holes.  This is somewhat of a pain and holds up construction, so be aware of it when you begin.  However, it does show that more variants are in the works, and a turret-less "command" version is already listed.

The rubber tires are some of the best I've seen, with NO mold seam to clean up.  Somehow, Trumpeter figured out how to place the seam hidden in the tread, or maybe have such tight molds that there is no seam.  The tread pattern is extremely well defined, and the tires fit the plastic hubs perfectly.

Assembly

As mentioned, assembly starts with filling and removing various mounting points on the upper hull that are not used.  Once this is complete, the upper hull is set aside and assembly properly starts on the lower hull and suspension.  There are many parts that go into one of the most detailed underbodies I've seen in a kit in some time; however, it goes together logically and the parts count isn't astronomical like what we see with some other far east companies (think panzer IVs...)  The one small disappointment is the lack of steerable front wheels, as this would add a lot to the finished "out of box" look of the model, but would not be difficult for Trumpeter to start doing within their kits.

Moving into the interior, Trumpeter provides a full interior for the vehicle, including radios and ammo boxes.  There are enough parts to proved a complete representation, which would be a fantastic base for some super-detail work.  Concerning the provided radios, the kit gives standard R-123, but also an R-130, R-323 receiver, and a R-871 Air-to-Ground radio.  There is also a switchboard included integral to part F27.  Comments on the web allude to this full suite being more applicable to a command variant of the BRDM-2 and not the standard scout version the kit depicts.  I tossed them all in the model anyway, as once the top is secured most of the interior cannot be seen anyway.  Areas directly under the driver's and co-driver's hatches could be detailed with some additional cables and such along the hull, but otherwise the interior will satisfy most modelers.

Once the interior was complete, I painted it using Russian Green for the lower portion while the interior of the upper hull received a coat of white.  Seats were painted a black leather color, and a few details were picked out here and there.  An overall wash of black and brown, followed by some oil paint drybrushing, completed the interior.  As mentioned, you can't see much down the two hatches, so I didn't spend much time on the interior.

The upper hull fits fairly well onto the lower hull.  I needed just a little filler in a few spots, but overall I was impressed with the fit.  With the upper hull installed, I continued with construction, adding the various fittings and details called for in the instructions.  I had no fit issues or obstacles, and the kit fell together with no fuss.   A nice addition is the inclusion of some soft copper wire "rope" to make the tow cable.  It works very well, and when coupled to the plastic ends, looks very realistic.  On the flip side, some thread is provided for the cable reel on the opposite side.  The provided thread is best replaced with some nylon or braided wire as the tread is quite frayed and has unrealistic fibers on the surface.

Conclusion

Overall, this is a fantastic kit.  The fit, provided detail, and ease of assembly was perfect.  I had no issues whatsoever with any of the steps, so even a novice modeler could handle this kit and have a fine result in the end.  For those a bit more advanced, the kit offers some great basic detail that can be embellished and improved for a truly stunning model with little expense or effort.  This kit seems well balanced for the price vs. what is provided, and I would highly recommend it to any fan of Soviet armor.  Now I'm eagerly awaiting a Gaskin!

My thanks to IPMS for the opportunity to review this fine kit and to Stevens International for providing the sample!

  • Instructions and color guide
    Instructions and color guide
  • Sprue 1
    Sprue 1
  • Sprue 2
    Sprue 2
  • Sprue 3
    Sprue 3
  • Sprue 4
    Sprue 4
  • Sprue 5
    Sprue 5
  • Sprue 6
    Sprue 6
  • Part detail
    Part detail
  • Upper and lower hull
    Upper and lower hull
  • Front and rear tires
    Front and rear tires
  • Middle tires
    Middle tires
  • PE and string for tow cables
    PE and string for tow cables
  • Clear sprue
    Clear sprue
  • Middle wheels installed
    Middle wheels installed
  • Unused mountings removed
    Unused mountings removed
  • Interior installed
    Interior installed
  • Clear side windows in place
    Clear side windows in place
  • Turret installed
    Turret installed
  • Turret interior
    Turret interior
  • Suspension and transmission from front
    Suspension and transmission from front
  • Rear suspension and transmission
    Rear suspension and transmission
  • Front and rear wheels and tires
    Front and rear wheels and tires
  • Interior basecoated
    Interior basecoated
  • Interior detailed left
    Interior detailed left
  • Interior detailed right
    Interior detailed right
  • Assembled, ready for painting left
    Assembled, ready for painting left
  • Assembled, ready for painting right
    Assembled, ready for painting right

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