UM 1/72 Armored Self-Propelled Leningrad railroad car
.As usual with things like this, I was unable to find a whole lot about this particular vehicle outside what little is provided by the kit instructions. Basically, this was built in 1941 by the Kirov plant and was part of the armored train 'National Avenger'. Built of 8-12 mm armored sheet steel, there were armored doors and ventilation sections, but it must have been a miserable existence to be inside one of these when it operated. Using BT-2 turrets, each with two DA-2 machine guns and a single DT gun, and two more on the side of the hull, their ability to inflict damage on attacking infantry was considerable. Crewed by 7 or 8 men, these sorts of weapons were effective, especially in the long expanses of the Soviet Union. This particular self propelled car operated until the end of the war.
If you have built many or any UM kits, you'll find that they are generally molded in a green plastic. This one is no exception to that and UM provides three sprues as well as a photo etch sheet. Two of the sprues are for the BT-2 turrets and there are parts that are not used on this and the main sprue, pointing to possibly other types of armored railroad cars. The quality of UM kits is generally very good and so it is with this one. I found no real problem areas aside from the way the section of track is provided. This has a lot of ejector pin marks on the ties that will need to be sanded down as they are on the 'up' side. I was also somewhat disappointed that there was no wood grain detail on the track ties, but since many of them will be sanded smooth, perhaps this isn't such a bad deal.
There really isn't that much to things as there are not any grab handles, tools or other things you'd normally find on a tank. Most of your construction will be with the turrets and adding the photo etch. Etched brass is used for all the doors and the side cooling vents for the engine area. This particular piece will need some careful folding to portray these vents open. In with the photo etch are additional machine gun barrels that look to be a bit better molded than those on the sprues.
Kit instructions are nicely drawn with lots of clear illustrations. Paint information is generic and Humbrol numbers with basically steel, black and olive drab being the main colors. A nicely done decal sheet is provided. This sheet is quite generic and though the instructions show three decals being used on the turrets and side of the car, it gives no indication as to which three they are!
I'm always delighted by things like this and it seems that UM does a whole series of these, including a complete train or two. The only other UM kit I can recall building was an armored car on rails. Looks like this one is destined for the display shelf. Stay tuned.
Thanks to http://www.scale-model-kits.com for the preview sample. Get yours today at a good discount.
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