Hobby Boss 1/35 ZBD 04 IFV
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
I have not been able to find any specific information on the ZBD 04 so I'm thinking this could be a ZBD-97 as a photo I found of the -97 looks exactly like the one on the box art. Conversely, it is possible that the ZBD 04 uses the same chassis, but has upgraded systems. There just isn't much out there so here is the info on the ZBD 97.
The ZBD-97 or Type 97 is a Chinese Infantry fighting vehicle. It mounts a turret similar in design to that of the Russian BMP-3, although the chassis is different, with a front mounted engine, and rear troop compartment.
The ZBD-97, or Type 97, has been in service with the PLA ground forces since 2006, in the armored units of the Guangzhou and Nanjing military regions.
Besides the infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) variant, an armored recovery vehicle (ARV) variant is also available.
The ZBD-97 has a crew of three (a commander, a driver, and a gunner) and is able to carry seven troops. The commander and gunner are seated in the two-man turret located in the middle, and the driver with one passenger is located in tandem to the left of the power compartment, located at the front right. Six infantrymen are located in the troop compartment at the rear.
There are firing ports in the left, right, and exit door that allow infantrymen to fire assault rifles or light machine guns from inside the vehicle, even on the move. The vehicle has amphibious capability, designed to swim to shore from a ship. For high-speed swimming, it has two large water jet ports.
The main armament of the ZBD97 is a dual-way stabilised, semi-automatic 100mm rifled gun / missile launcher, capable of firing both HE-FRAG rounds and the 3UBK10 (or its Chinese copy) ATGM. Effective range of the HE-FRAG round is estimated to be 4,000m, with a rate of fire of 10 rounds/minute.
The 3UBK10 ATGM consists of a laser beamriding missile and a container case. The missile is used as a part of the Bastion missile system (NATO reporting name: AT-10 Stabber). As well as engaging armoured vehicles and fortifications, the missile could also engage low-flying helicopters. The missile has a range of 100~4,000m. Hit probability is 80% and the armour penetration capability is 600mm. The system carries eight missiles inside the turret.
The secondary weapon include a 30mm coaxial automatic cannon, with 500 rounds. The cannon can fire both armour-piercing (AP) and HE-FRAG rounds. Rate of fire is 300 rounds/min and range is 1,500 to 2,000m. Like the BMP-3, the ZBD97 also has a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun located to the left of the main gun, but it lacks the two bow 7.62mm machine guns found on the BMD-3.
Ask those who have built recent Hobby Boss armor kits and you'll find a group who is pleased with what they've found. The parts are crisply molded and very nicely detailed. As you'd expect from a modern tracked vehicle, this one has a lot of individual track links to put together. I dare say that a goodly portion of the parts count on this one are track links. However, you'll get those pretty much out of the way early as suspension construction takes up the first two of eight construction steps.
The rest goes into building up the hull and adding all the various bits and pieces to it. The one-piece hull provides a firm and positive locator for the many fittings that are on modern IFVs. The small photo etch fret consists of mostly cooling screens. There are a goodly number of hatches and doors on this, but since there is no interior detail, it is best to keep these closed. The turret and gun are also well detailed and designed to move in azimuth. There are some optional parts, but not what you might think. Some items like the exhaust and a few other minor exterior fittings can be replaced by more aesthetically pleasing pieces for a parade vehicle. These are clearly shown so one needs to be aware of them and plan the build accordingly.
Instructions are well done and provide no painting information. All that is saved for the full color painting guide. There are basically two painting options. One is the very new 'cubed' camo scheme as shown on the box art. This will be a real challenge to mask and paint. Hobby Boss has provided a much larger grey-shades painting guide for this scheme. The other is a more standard scheme that I'd be willing to bet most modelers will choose. There are two decal sheets (not shown) that provide national insignia as well as numbers/letters in two different fonts. A goodly number are provided so you can model any of these vehicles for which you can find a photo.
In all, it is a superbly molded modern military vehicle that will be a pleasant change from the normal stuff that you see being built. I think you'll be very pleased with the build and the result.
Thanks to Squadron Products for providing the preview kit. You can get yours at your local shop or on-line retailer.
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