|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The BTR-70 is an eight-wheeled armored personnel carrier (Russian: бронетранспортер, BTR stands for Bronetransportyor literally "armoured transporter"), originally developed during the late 1960s under the industrial designatorGAZ-4905. On August 21, 1972, it was accepted into service and would later be exported to the Warsaw Pact and other allies. Introduced as a successor to the earlier BTR-60, it most closely resembles a BTR-60PB. Other improvements include heavier armor plating and tires less prone to puncture. In other respects, the vehicle is very similar to the BTR-60PB, with a more powerful petrol engine configuration and armament of a primary heavy machine gun and secondary PKT machine gun on a roof mounted turret.
The vehicle's designers moved the side troop doors. On the vehicle's predecessor, these doors were located above the beltline between the second and third pairs of wheels on both sides of the vehicle. On the BTR-70, the doors are below the beltline between the second and third pairs of wheels. As Soviet doctrine calls for unloading troops from the vehicle while it is in motion, the door location increases the chances that a soldier will be pulled under a wheel and injured or killed, although it also means that the troops can get out quicker while exposing them less to the enemy.
Like the vehicle's predecessor it is fully amphibious with minimal preparation. A licensed Romanian copy was designated the TAB-77 and had various improvements and changes to make local production easier, including a better turret and different engines.
The MA-7 turret was specifically designed to upgrade APCs. It includes two machine guns, a 12.7 mm Kord weapon and a PKTM 7.7mm gun . It also includes smoke grenade launchers. The turret is impervious to small arms fire.
This kit came in one of Zvezda's newer boxes that has a thin box top, but the box under it has a fold down top that is quite sturdy. Inside, the unbagged sprues and other parts are free to rattle around. The green plastic sprues are well detailed as you might expect. I did notice that the upper hull section had a considerable number of sink areas on the outer surface opposite alignment pins and reinforcements. These will need to be filled as they will be quite visible on the finished model.
A sheet of acetate is provided to place behind the driver's windows. Eight tires are included. These are a very hard material that is not quite styrene and not quite vinyl. Each tire has several ejector pin marks on one side, some of which are quite deep. The kit's hatches are separate and while not shown as such, could be posed open. There is no interior detail.
The suspension is actually rather complex and will take up quite a few of the kit's parts to assemble. The rear section that includes the water drive is separate. This is molded in the 'land' position with the various covers in place. When it comes to the turret, this assembly is very nicely detailed and from the looks of things, can move in both elevation and azimuth. It keys into the upper hull in the standard fashion.
Typical of Zvezda instructions, this set is very nicely illustrated, though it is rather densely packed. Color information is provided through the build process using Model Master and generic color information. The small decal sheet provides a single option for the box art vehicle in overall green.
It is nice to have a reasonably priced option for this important Russian APC. Having the later version with the MA-7 turret is even nicer and I am sure this one will look very nice once it has been built. A nice addition to any modern Russian military collection.
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If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contactthe editor or see other details in the
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