The BMP-1 was the first of a new class of AFV: the infantry fighting vehicle. With a crew of 3 and up to 8 passengers the vehicle carried a 73mm recoilless gun, a coaxial machinegun, optional ATGM launcher, was equipped with an NBC protection system, and was amphibious. Instead of just delivering an infantry squad to the war zone, it was also capable of providing both armoured protection and fire support during the battle. Over 20,000 BMP-1s were produced in the USSR, with thousands more built under license or with local modifications in at least 3 more countries. As with most Soviet-built vehicles BMPs has participated in almost every local conflict since it was accepted, and continues to serve in over 50 armies around the world.
Previous BMP-1 kits in this scale
The BMP-1 is far from being the most popular model subject out there. The most prominent producer of injection-molded plastic 1/72 kits of the vehicle has been ACE Models of Ukraine, which released at least 5 variants using low-pressure epoxy molds with the respective limitations. The molds were updated and upgraded to metal ones in 2013, just in time for the arrival of a new model. S-Models from China released a quick-build kit with wheels and track molded in a single piece for each side (two vehicles are supplied in each box).
Enter Crosshair Models
– a new producer from Bulgaria.
The parts count in the white cardboard box is as follows:
- 203 resin parts
- 30 parts in clear resin
- 124 PE parts
Or about 350 parts altogether to my counting. My guess is that some of the parts (e.g. brackets) are produced in both resin and PE. Additionally, the following is provided:
- 1 sheet of fine stainless steel mesh
- 1 sheet of pre-cut masks for the clear parts
No decal sheet or painting references are included. The instructions are black and white, and use the CAD model of the parts for the building sequence. There’s a list of the symbols used in the instructions. Since all the parts are numbered on the casting block there is no parts plan.
Now, with 2 readily-available, mass-produced kits one would wonder why is it that a brand-new company would risk coming out with a full resin-and-PE kit of a vehicle that’s not a tank or a truck. The problem is that all BMP-1 models currently available do require aftermarket to be brought up to current standards, especially concerning the running gear. The kit in this review is obviously Crosshair Models
attempt to deliver a complete model directly from the box.
As with any AFV the focal point here is the hull. The hull tub and the superstructure (except the rear wall) are a single part. There’s a host of detail already molded on: the louvers for the engine cooling system and the exhaust, boltheads, filler caps, etc. You can clearly see the locating holes for loads of additional parts, including the crew periscopes, firing port covers, various mounting points, etc.
A few points on the hull:
- The wave deflector is a separate assembly, which can be posed in travel position or deployed
- All infantry portholes are recessed, and can be displayed open or closed
- All vision blocks at the top of the hull are separate transparent details
- All marker lamps are provided as separate details
- Bigger light sources (headlamps, searchlights) are also using transparent details; there are optional position able covers and flap/slit filters
- Headlight guards are made of multiple resin bits; there’s a separate page with positioning reference in the instructions. I’d leave them last in my construction sequence, just before paint, to avoid breaking them off
- Both the driver and vehicle commander’s hatches can be posed open or closed
- You can use either the PE grilles, or the steel mesh provided in the box to cover the cooling vents on the upper hull
- The bolted plate to the left of the turret covers the NBC suite. The raised part in the middle is typical for USSR- and Czechoslovakian-made machines, flat panels are characteristic to examples of East German manufacture
- The suspension arms’ travel limiters are molded into the hull
- You get towing hooks and tow cable eyelets in resin, instructions to use 0,5mm wire, but not how much of it – no length is mentioned
- Although present on the CAD drawings seen in the instructions, the boltheads around the perimeter the upper glacis ribbed plate are missing on my example
- The two “windows” for the cooling system in front of the turret must have the same dimensions – they are different in the kit
- The stamped longitudinal ribs at the hull bottom appear to have the correct pattern. Those that run across should only be as prominent on stations 2 and 6; the rest do not protrude as much on the images I’ve found
- There is a small amount of flash on some of the edges, which is easy to remove with a sharp blade
- Rear hull wall has the doors closed, but you can model the porthole in the left door and the vision blocks open or closed
- The turret looks good, with weld seams and locating holes for additional detail. As opposed to the hull all hatches here are molded shut. Detail on the gun and ATGM reloading hatch appear a little soft
The running gear is all made up of separate parts – suspension arms, road wheels, return rollers. The track is link-and-length type, and exhibits very fine molding with all the details present. Both sprockets and idlers are multi-part assemblies, made up entirely in resin. The parts show very fine flash in all their openings, which will need careful removal. I would glue all the track links that go around the sprockets and idlers before gluing the wheels on their stations for fear of breaking details off.
Fenders deserve a separate mention. They are literally semi-transparent, exhibiting beautiful detail. The reason they are so important is that together with the grills (the ladder-like PE assemblies) at the back of the hull they create the so-called “hydrodynamic tunnel” effect. With the tracks turning, this helps the BMP swim forward through water obstacles.
has done a fabulous job on their first model. It provides loads of detail, offers many options for the modeller, and is produced to a high quality standard.
Yes, it does have a few weak points, e.g. the massive number of very small parts; some details would be better off made in PE (headlamp guards, sprockets). Yet it is one of the very few models that doesn’t get you thinking “Is there an aftermarket for this?” (Don’t get me wrong – it’s not a cheap model, it’s simply more thought-through than most in its class.) There are two more redeeming qualities you rarely see in this kind of kit: the part numbers molded on casting stubs, and the instruction that is clear regarding part positioning, and not overloaded with various symbols. Assembly in itself will certainly be a lot of work, and is definitely not for the faint of heart, but will result in a spectacular model.
BMP-1 (1964-2000). Russian Motor Books
BMP-1 Soviet Armored Fighting Vehicle In Detail. Wings and Wheels Publication
- various technical, user, and servicing manuals for BMP-1, issued by the Soviet military, which can now be freely downloaded.
- photo walk arounds, discussions on modelling forums.