|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The ZBD2000 is an amphibious armoured fighting vehicle, developed for the PLA Marine Corps. The vehicle is a counterpart to the Type 63A amphibious tank introduced in the late 1990s. It features a hydroplane, and has been compared to the US Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV).
The ZBD05 armored fighting vehicle was developed from this, as well as a light tank, a command post vehicle, a recovery vehicle and others.
The ZBD2000 uses a planing hull propelled by two water jets achieving water travelling speed much greater than any current amphibious armoured vehicle in the PLA Marine Corps, on top of its enhanced speed it has increased range, allowing it to launch over over-the-horizon assaults.
The vehicle is designed with hydraulic-actuated bow with transom flaps, designed to aid hull skimming across the surface of the water. When activated the bow and transom flaps with the bottom of the hull form a planing surface, allowing the vehicle to go faster from its hydrodynamic drag reduction on the vehicle's hull.
The ZBD2000 features flat, boat-like hull, with 6 road wheels and front/rear rollers. A welded turret is mounted in the centre of the hull, with the powerpack positioned in the front and passenger compartment in the rear.
The light tank variant is armed with a fully stabilised 105mm rifled gun. The 105mm rounds carried consist of armour piercing fin stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS), high explosive (HE), and high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds, and Chinese 105mm laser beam riding guidance anti-tank guided missile (ATGM). The 105mm missile offers the capability to engage shore targets whilst still swimming at sea, where conventional ammunition would perform poorly due to the motion of sea waves.
Secondary weapons include 7.62mm coxial mounted machine gun, 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun mounted on the roof of the turret near the loader, and 2 sets of 4-barrel smoke grenade launchers mounted on either side of the turret. The rear part of the turret have storage rack for additional equipment which also provide additional protection against HEAT rounds.
Fire accuracy is attained by a computerised fire-control system (FCS), including a fire-control computer, light spot commander sight with laser rangefinder input, and light spot gunner sight with passive night vision. For all situation amphibious assault operations, the vehicle is equipped with GPS navigation and thermal imaging system.
The light tank variant is operated by a crew of 4, with driver positioned left-front of the turret, and loader, gunner, and commander occupying the turret.
If wiki is correct, then what Hobby Boss may well have kitted is the ZBD 2000, as what is in the box looks a lot like the photo above of the 2000.
Regardless, this is a very large vehicle and measures over 10 inches in length without the planing section in the front or the ramp in the rear. The kit comes with a full suspension along with the six dual road wheels, idler, and sprocket on each side. You are treated to individual track links with 103 sections per side required. There are large trunks that fit inside. I have to assume these are used to propel the vehicle through the water by drawing water from grilles on the underside and shooting it out through openings in the rear. Covers are provided for these at the exit.
Side skirts are provided and there are plenty of bits for the upper hull. The forward planing ramp can be posed either up or down, thanks to operating pistons. These have steel jackets on which caps are placed. In these caps are holes for the piston rod both fore and aft. This feature is provided for the rear ramp as well.
A nicely molded turret with a two-piece gun barrel is provided. There are the usual flare and smoke launches with well detailed hatches. Since there is no interior, these hatches as well as the rear door are to be built closed, but no reason why the adventurous could not pose these open to have figures in them. The turret includes a large basket in the back for various equipment.
There is a nicely done etched fret that is basically engine grilles, grab handles and a section of forward armor plate. Instructions are well done with no color information supplied during the actual building. A full color painting and markings guide is provided with markings for three differently camouflaged vehicles. No unit information is supplied and thanks to a bevy of individual numbers, you could even do the rather fetching blue vehicle shown in the beginning of the article. I have used Hobby Boss decals and found them to work well.
I am not sure how popular Chinese military vehicles are in the US, but have to say that they have a wide range of interesting vehicles and adding these to your collection simply rounds things out. This is a very nice kit and one that you should seriously consider picking up.
Thanks to Squadron Products for the review kit. You can find this kit at your favorite hobby shop or on-line retailer.
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