MiniArt/Vision 1/35 Panzersphahwagen BA-64(r)
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The BA-64 armoured car was a construction initiative of GAZ chief designer V. A. Grachev. Design work started in July 17, 1941. The designer's team also included F. A. Lependin (general layout), G. M. Wassermann (leading engineer), Yu. N. Sorochkin, B. T. Komarevskiy, V. F. Samoilov (armoured hull) and others. On April 10, 1942, Grachev was awarded the Third Grade Stalin Prize for creation of the BA-64 armoured car and GAZ-61 light jeep.
The initial BA-64 model was based upon the GAZ-64 jeep and fitted with sloped armour that had some similarities to the German Sd kfz 222 design. One captured Sd Kfz 222 was transferred to GAZ for examination and analysis on September 7, 1941. The first prototype was tested on January 9, 1942. It had an open roof, with a pintle-mounted 7.62mm DT machine gun. The vehicle was operated by a crew of two. The next day the BA-64 prototype was shown to Kliment Voroshilov. The official presentation was in the Kremlin on March 3, 1942. The State Defence Committee adopted the BA-64 for Red Army service on March 14, 1942. It was top-heavy and could easily overturn on rough terrain.
The improved BA-64B model was introduced in 1943, based on the GAZ-67B jeep, with a wider wheelbase. This model also had a small machine-gun turret added. The mass production of BA-64Bs continued through the rest of the Second World War and ceased in 1946. The last 62 vehicles were completed in that year.
BA-64Bs were also used by Polish and Czech units, raised in Soviet Union. After the end of the war, some BA-64Bs were transferred to the police of the GDR. There were other post-war transfers of BA-64Bs to North Korea, China and Yugoslavia. The BA-64 remains in use with the Korean People's Army Ground Force.
This particular kit has 'Vision' on the box so I have to assume that what we have is a reboxed Vision kit with the addition of some MiniArt figures. The packaging is very unlike MiniArt's norm with all of the parts in at least one polybag, which itself is in a polybag. Sort of like bags in bags sort of thing. The figures are separate in the box and unbagged.
Molding on the kit parts is really very good with crisp detailing. There are ejector towers inside the large parts while others like the fenders have them on the inside. Easy enough to deal with. I also found some sink areas, notably on the frame. Practically no flash at all, and that includes the figures.
While it is a curbside, thanks to the open top, the interior is quite well detailed and that includes a transmission and transfer case. A full chassis with suspension is part of the package and will take up a goodly portion of the construction. There are tools and a few things like light and a spare tire to fit on the outside of the body. I like that the wheels and tires are separate, which makes for easier painting. The turret is well equipped and can be rotated. The addition of five crew figures is very welcome and adds value to the kit. Typical of MiniArt figures, they are very well done.
Markings are provided for four different captured vehicles in either Soviet Green, Sand or with a winter whitewash. The decal sheet provides basically insignia with some unit markings for the sand colored 4th SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment 'Der Fuhrer' at Kursk in 1943. All the other markings are from 1943 as well and most are unknown. Paint references are from a variety of paint makers. The instructions are very well printed and easy to follow with detail drawings where needed.
A superb kit of what isn't really a very big vehicle, but compared to the others I've seen, this one is by far the best in terms of detail and molding.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours at your favorite model shop.
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