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Improving the BMP-1

Dragon ref #3503, 1/35 scale

by Patricio Delfosse © 2003 Modeler Site

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The BMP takes an outstanding place in the history of the armor vehicles. It appeared in 1966, meaning an important development for the USSR, since up to that moment, they had had no tradition in Infantry Combat Vehicles, ICV, being the only exception the BTR-50s, in spite of this, a vehicle that revolutionized all the motorized infantry tactics was designed by them.


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The BMP-1 is essentially a transportation troop armor. Unlike its predecessor the BTR-50 or the American M113 that are Armored Personnel Carrier (APC), its main particularity is that soldiers are able to fire from inside the vehicle through the lateral firing ports hatches.

The kit

The Dragon kit was released by the end of the 80´s, time that fortunately, a great number of soviet vehicles were issued by them. Although it can't be compared with the last products of the manufacturer, you can correct it by adding some details and little work, getting a good replica and result. Thanks to Dragon, the Esci and Trumpeter options would be laid aside.
Among all the vehicles that belong to this family, the model represented in this kit, called BMP-1 1970 Model, is the most manufactured. The main differences between the 1966 model and this one, are the long shaped hull and the chemical protection filtration system.
The version of this kit corresponds to the first units manufactured in the ex USSR. For that reason, if we wanted to get a version manufactured in Czechoslovakia (BVP-1), we would have to achieve just a few modifications.
The BMP family was exported to many countries, this is why we can choose among several paint schemes possibilities, apart from the classic green soviet. I decided to paint my model in the new Black/Grey/Green Russian scheme adopted by them at end of the 90's.

Correcting the chassis of the kit

The chassis' main problem, is that the front is composed of two angle plates, when actually it should be in only one part and straight. This can be solved by placing plastic supplements until getting the approximate shape. Then, with the help of a file, we treat the area in order to get it flat and aligned.

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