Customers Build’s & Project's
Soviet Armour from Zvezda with their BTR-80 wheeled APC
This month’s build continues with the 1/100 range of Soviet armour from Zvezda. In this case it’s the BTR-80 wheeled APC. Incorporating many lessons from the war in Afghanistan the BTR-80 was introduced in 1986. It is a wheeled 8x8 armoured vehicle which also has the added advantage of being amphibious. Initially deployed in Afghanistan the BTR-80 has gone on to see service in all of the conflicts of the former USSR republics as well a service in the Middle East theatre of conflict. The basic variant has been developed into a huge number of specialised vehicles including armoured ambulance and command and control vehicles amongst others. It continues to serve in large number and there are now may bespoke modernisation programs available for purchase for the system.
Given the large number of operators and the large number of conflicts that it has been involved in there is a huge canvas of modelling possibilities for your kit.
The Zvezda 1/100 BTR-80 is part of the manufacturers own Art of Tactic 15mm war gaming series. However, they can also be used for the Team Yankee 15mm war gaming series. It includes various US and USSR model armour and trucks and the quality of the models differs across the range. Naturally for a Russian firm they are strongest on the Russian armour and this Shilka kit certainly showcases this strength.
The kit has two sprues containing a very small number of parts. It is made as click fit kit so it does not need glue. However, glue is recommended to use for modelling purposes because it helps in this small scale fill in any gaps when parts are pressed together.
- The build started with assembling the top half of the hull with a grand total of 5 parts being used!!!
- The second stage of the build was the underneath of the BTR-80 and again the parts (all 3 of them!!!) went together with no dramas.
- I left the assembly of the wheels until last as putting them on prior to painting would mean very restricted access to the model.
- At this stage you should now have the BTR80 together with 8 road wheels.
- The model was then airbrush with a light green primer.
- I then had to decide what colour scheme to do. My previous 1/100 series have all been painted in Overall Russian Green with some attempts at colour modulation. However for this build I decided to do a couple of different things.
- A particularly attractive scheme I found during the now obligatory “Google” search was a three-tone black, dark yellow and green scheme (this also appears on the box art) I have included some internet sourced reference below.
- So, first coat on was the lightest which in this case was Vallejo Model Air Dark Yellow ( VMA 71.025).
- This was followed by the Green for which I used Russian Green (VMA 71.017).
- Finally I applied the third tone, black which in this case was provided by NATO Black (VMA 71.251). This was applied as thin strips either side of the green camouflage.
- The hubs of the wheels were painted with the Dark Yellow Colour and the tyres were brush painted with Vallejo Model Colour Black Grey (VMC 70.862). Quick tip here is where the wheels have a well defined hub dilute the tyre paint, so it is able to flow up to and around the rim of the hub. Saves a huge amount of time masking!!
- Apart from the tyres all the colours were airbrushed with the black being thinned down and applied at a low air pressure very close to the model.
- The finished items appears below and I think you will agree that it looks quite attractive. I still however have to master the airbrushing of those thin black lines!!!
- Overall, I would recommend the kit if for nothing else than to practice your techniques for the bigger scales. Cheap and cheerful but with loads of scope for colour schemes, settings and modifications.
This weeks build is the Zvezda 1/00 ZSU23 “Shilka” Anti Aircraft weapons systems. The systems was built by the soviets to deal with NATO low level attacks and incorporates many of the lessons learned from Vietnam where Anti Aircrafts guns and missiles accounted for far more US aircraft than air to air kills. The projectiles that the system fires are 23mm and both the A10 and the AH64 Apache incorporated survivability of key components to withstand those 23mm shells. Low level attack tactics for Nato aircraft were dictated by the need to avoid this lethal systems and the Shilka was a high priority target for NATOs helicopter forces.
Ultimately however the Shilka found a particularly useful role in Afghanistan where the high elevation of its main weapons meant that it could fire high into the hills where traditional armour could not. It is this latter role which has seen the Shilka in the front lines of every recent major conflict including Syria., Libya, Ukraine and many smaller African disputed (which also in turn means a fantastic range of camouflage schemes and weathering choices).
The Zvezda 1/100 ZSU 23 is part of the manufacturers own Art Of Tactic 15mm wargaming series. However they can alos be used for the Team Yankee 15mm wargaming series. It includes various US and USSR model armour and trucks and the quality of the models differs across the range. Naturally for a Russian firm they are strongest on the Russian armour and this Shilka kit certainly showcases this strength.
The kit has two sprue containing a total of 29 parts. It is made as click fit kit so it does not need glue. This also means the fir of the parts is very good. I have started these builds as a way of practicing weathering and painting techniques for 1/72, 1/48 and 1/35 scale armour. These kits are much much cheaper way of practicsing your techniques!!! There is some nice moulded detail like the headlamps and the various chains and tools on the front end of the ZSU. And of course there is the signature 4 gun barrels and radar fitting.
- The build started with assembling the Hull. 8 pieces fitted together with minima clean up. I started the build with the assembly of the hull. A total of 8 pieces that fitted together with minimal clean up. There were some very minor gaps which a bit of filler sorted out very quickly. (for the filler I use deluxe materials perfect plastic putty)
- The second stage of the build was the turret and this was divided into two parts, the guns and then the turret itself
- The gun part of the build was very easy. You do need to make sure you follow the instructions carefully but the guns are well moulded and the stage rewards neat construction.
- The turret goes together by placing the gun assembly onto the turret base. Again any minor gaps were filled
- I left the assembly of the radar unit until last as it is quite delicate and may end up being inadvertently knock off during the building process. You may want to consider enlarging the hole a little bit to ease construction
- At this stage you should now have a hull, a turret and a set of tracks as below.
- The tracks were left off until after the rest of the model was painted
- I then had to decide what colour scheme to do. For this build I decided on a standard scheme for units stationed in Europe.
- I first cleaned the model with a cotton build dipped in methalayted spirits, blew off any remnants with my airbrush and then primed the model with green.
- After another 24 hour drying period I then sprayed the model using Vallejo Russian Green which was sprayed on in two thin coats for a uniform finish.
- The base colour for the scheme was then sprayed on which in this case was Vallejo Russian Green.
- As I said before these small kits allow for a great deal of experimentation and in this case I decided to have a go at some colour modulation. Adding some yellow to the Russian Green for a lighter shade I then carefully sprayed the top of the panels as well as selected parts of the hull.
Here are a few extras