BA-64B Soviet Armored Car with Crew
Based on the chassis of the ubiquitous GAZ Soviet “jeep”, the BA-64 served in various incarnations throughout most of World War II. Used primarily for scouting and liaison work, the two-man vehicle was robust and durable, if lacking somewhat in creature comforts. It soldiered on after the war, being supplied to various Warsaw Pact countries during the early stages of the Cold War.
This kit consists of 118 parts on 4 sprues of medium grey styrene, two for the actual vehicle, and two for the five figures. This breaks down to 49 parts for figures, and 69 for the armored car. Markings are provided for 4 vehicles from different formations in the 1943-45 time frames. Paint numbers are called out for the Vallejo, Testors, Tamiya, Humbrol, Revell and Mr. Color lines. The color names are given in English and Cyrillic. The single page, folded instruction sheet is in color, on glossy paper, with parts called out by sprue letter and part number. Intermediate painting directions are given when appropriate during construction.
Construction begins with the chassis, steps 1, 2, and 3. There is no engine provided, although the rear of the transmission is. There is also no floor or firewall forward of the transmission housing, so it is possible to see down thru the turret to the ground. This also means that the side doors cannot be left open without seeing daylight, unless a floor is scratch built. I opted not to do this. The interior is sparse, consisting of the driver’s seat, 2 gear shift levers, an instrument panel, and the gunner/commander’s pedestal and seat.
Step 4 has the builder adding rivets/bolt heads to four locations, which are to be shaved off two flattened areas of the “B” sprue.
Steps 5 and 6 are concerned with adding what interior there is, and attaching the lower hull to the chassis. Dry fit the upper hull to the lower to properly locate the steering column brace against the upper hull. (step 7)
Steps 8 and 9 cover the upper hull, its interior, with painting, attachment to the lower hull, and exterior fittings.
A very nice touch in steps 10 and 11; the tires are not supplied on a sprue, and there is no outer seam to remove. They fit snugly onto the one-piece rims, the spare being on a different style.
Steps 12 through 15 complete assembly. My example needed the turret opening shaved a little to allow the turret to seat properly. The seat for the gunner looks tiny, but may be accurate, if so, it would have been uncomfortable for all but the smallest of men. I left off part B-36, the headlight lens, and filled the opening with 5 minute epoxy for a glass look. Otherwise, the overall fit of the kit was very good, the only need for putty being the four large ejector marks on the inside of each side door.
The overall color is Russian green, with the instructions calling for Tamiya Olive Drab. I started with Japanese Army green, followed by a mist coat of O.D. to give a greener appearance. After a gloss coat of Future floor wax, markings were applied for an unidentified unit operating in the Ukraine, winter 1943-44, consisting of big patriotic slogans on both sides as well as the nose. They lay down well without the use of any solvents. The carrier film is very thin, although the slogan areas are thicker, though quite opaque. When dry, a second gloss coat was applied to seal and blend the decals, followed by a flat coat. There is so little surface detail that a wash was not necessary. The base olive drab and green colors were highly thinned, lightened with Tamiya buff and white, and misted onto the upper surfaces for contrast and to suggest fading, discoloration, etc. A medium earth shade was thinned and sprayed over the wheels and lower portions of the car, suggesting road dirt and grime. I messed up drilling out the muzzle of the Degtyarev machine gun, so a piece of phone wire insulation was added as a replacement flash hider.
Overall, this is a very nice little kit. The fit is quite good, given the multi-angled hull. I would have liked to leave the side doors open, but with no front floor, it would have looked funny, so they were closed. The figures are all in standing poses, as if outside the vehicle, and are well rendered, with a variety of clothing styles and types. The poses are relaxed and natural, with good facial features and clothing details. There is a folded map piece for one of the figures, and two full color maps are printed on the instruction sheet to cover it, or for use alone.
I would recommend this kit to anyone interested in Soviet armor.