Panda Bumerang IFV (Object K-17)
At the 2015 Russian Army May Day Victory parade, the world got its first official view of Russia’s latest family of armored fighting vehicles. This new series of vehicles presented a new doctrine for Russian armament, design and ultimately survivability by creating a modular system to work across multiple platforms similar to what the U.S. Army attempted with their Future Combat Systems. The “Bumerang” is the design of Russia’s newest addition to the BTR family, intended to replace the BTR-80 and BTR-82 designs.
The Bumerang more closely resembles Western LAVs, rather than the BTR systems. The engine has been moved to the front, it has a v-shaped hull to make it more mine-resistant, instead of exiting the vehicle through the sides of the vehicle, as was the case with the BTR, troops exit the rear, and the Bumerang features an unmanned turret.
If you’re not familiar with Panda Model, they are the military vehicle section of the airplane manufacturer Kitty Hawk. Their latest release of kits features many of the new family of Russian armor. The kit is molded in a light tan styrene, on five sprues, with an upper and lower hull, and includes a small clear sprue, a small photo-etch sheet, and a set of black vinyl tires.
The parts are nicely molded, but there is some very minor flash on some of the parts, and a few pieces have really large ejector marks on the inside. The tires are nicely molded, but also have a thin line of flash around the entire piece. I did notice that there is a resin set of replacement tires already on the market. Overall, the pieces cleaned up easy enough, but considering this a brand new kit the presence of these types of flaws was disappointing.
The instructions are printed in a small 15-page booklet, with detailed drawings for all 13 steps. However, don’t be fooled by the small number of steps. Some of the steps, particularly the first few, are very detailed with the first step including installation of 70 pieces. Pay close attention to which side the parts go on, because in some cases, it’s a different part number, with a different fit.
Construction begins on the lower hull with the extremely detailed suspension. While it will take a while to go together, the end result is pretty impressive. The first four steps all include working on the lower hull, and takes most of the time for this kit. I left the wheels and tires off and painted them separately and added them to the model at the end. Make sure when you don’t glue the torsion arms, upper and lower, in place. You’ll need them to have some movement when it comes time to attach them to the axles. Luckily, I just guessed at this and it made final installation easier.
The upper hull is a little more straightforward. Most of the photoetch is attached to the upper hull, but it consists almost entirely of small hooks and gear attachment points. I left as much of the photoetch off until I was finished with the construction, since I ended up knocked off pieces as I was working. Strangely, the engine grills are not provided in photoetch. Once the upper hull is attached to the lower hull, be careful how you handle it. It seems like there are fragile grab handles and photoetch pieces in just about every place you’d want to hold the model while working on it. I found myself having to reattach pieces frequently, but that may have just been my 5 thumbs getting in the way. Still, I left off the 3 hull mounted antennae until construction was complete, and just prior to painting.
The turret is the next piece and it comes with a 30mm main gun, and four nicely detailed “Komet” anti-tank rockets. The turret went together with little fuss, although the mounting brackets for the missiles is where you’ll spend the majority of your time. They are very detailed, and in the end are nearly hidden completely under a PE shroud. Again, I left the antennae off until construction was complete.
The kit comes with two options to build, the version seen in 2015 and the one seen in 2016. There’s very little difference between the two, other than a different bow. The painting instructions are the same for both vehicles, and color instructions are provided for both.
While the kit can be a little trickier than it needs to be in a few places, and it can be a fragile kit to work with during construction and painting, the end result is pretty impressive. Some interior details are provided on the rear crew door and the driver’s compartment hatch, but no other interior details are included so modeling it with open hatches isn’t an option until a better interior is offered.
Overall, the kit is well-detailed with some delicate parts that need care during assembly, but the finished model is nice. I’d recommend this to experienced modelers with an interest in modern armor, or any Russian armor enthusiasts. My thanks to Panda Models and IPMS/USA for this review kit.