The BA-3 armoured car was produced from the early 1930's in the Soviet Union. A development of the BA-1, it was for the time, heavily armed. It was found to lack off-road mobility and in an effort to improve this the rear wheels could linked by tracks. Large diameter rail wheels could be fitted over the road wheels to allow the vehicle to travel by railway track.
The kit comes in a box with a colourful picture on the front and painting guide on the back. The parts are all held in a plastic bag which also holds a small re-sealable bag containing the tyres. There are eight sprues molded in green plastic plus the aforementioned tyres. There are some small areas of flash but overall the molding is crisp and clean. There is some nicely molded raised detail on the body and turret parts and the turret hatches are depicted by engraved panel lines, although there is no option to show these in the open position. On some parts there are mold "lugs" that need removing, more on them later.
The instructions are of the usual exploded line drawing type. Small icons give special indications, for example when to repeat the assembly on the reverse side and when parts need cutting. There are two options for building this kit, the diagrams are marked "I" and "II" to indicate seperate assembly steps. There are two diagrams showing decal and painting instructions and all paints are given as Humbrol enamel numbers. >/p>
There is a sheet of decals, they are nice and thin and matt but there are large areas of carrier film around each one. All of them are cleanly printed and in register.
I should point out that I'm rather new to building in this scale so I had to follow the instructions carefully. Two options can be built as mentioned earlier, the standard vehicle, with or without tracks, or the railroad version. I chose to build the latter. I started with the axles, steps one and two. I built them as indicated but left the wheels off as it would make painting easier later. When cutting parts 28A and part 29B from the sprues care should be taken, as the exact places to cut are not perfectly clear. when the rear axles are assembled care is also needed to get them aligned properly, as there is some play in the assembly until the glue dries. I pressed it down onto a perfectly flat surface and used a ruler to square it up. I glued the axle assemblies into place on the chassis. When fitting the rear assembly I found it to be slightly wider than the chassis. Although it did glue fine, the areas of contact were not large.
Next came the turret. The parts fit together nicely but I accidently broke part 48D as I cut it from the sprue. Luckily it fits snugly against the front of the turret so it was easy enough to get the two broken pieces lined up together.
I then started on the main body shell. It was here that the mold lugs mentioned earlier became a problem. Six parts (2 crew doors, two engine panels and two body panels) that attach on each side of the body have these lugs on their reverse faces. The parts glue flat against the sides so the lugs must be cut carefully away and the rear faces and the faces sanded perfectly smooth. I did this by placing some wet and dry on a flat surface and after cutting away the offending lugs placed the parts down on it and rubbed them back and forth to get a flat surface.
The front mud guards are on one part and the instructions indicate the undersides require cutting to alter the profile. The insturctions are somewhat vague on the correct shape required so I 'guestimated'. Rather than cut away the plastic I used a needle file to get the correct shape. The mudguard part was then glued to the upper body along with the body underside part. The two butt up against each other with no locating guides at this joint. I tacked them into place and then flooded the butt joint with liquid styrene cement to get a strong joint. The instructions again call for cutting, in this case removal of 6.5mm of the rear of the chassis frame. I measured the required amount and cut it away, but a test fit showed it needed a couple of extra millimetres removing. As the chassis in this area is hidden it is not a disaster if slightly too much plastic is removed.
The rest of the assembly was completed without any problems apart from the headlights. Both are molded onto one curved piece. The instructions indicate the removal of the tips of this part and the centre section of it, leaving each headlight as a seperate piece with a small amount of the curved piece protruding. The curved piece forms the mounting bracket for the headlight and it is this which is glued to the body of the vehicle. It took a lot of trimming and test fitting to get them into place and even then I didn't get them perfect.
The painting guide calls for an overall matt olive drab Humbrol 155. I primarliy use Xtracrylics for painting so I mixed a close approximation to the box artwork. The body, turret and wheels were primed with auto primer. When dry I sprayed the base colour. After 20 minutes drying time I mixed some burnt umber oil into some white spirit and applied a pin wash around all the raised detail and into the recesses. When dry I then started drybrushing. The base colour was lightened with a small amount of yellow and all the surfaces were drybrushed, I also scrubbed the colour into the base colour in areas to age the paint. Then I lightened it some more and drybrushed the upper surface detail. The railtrack sleepers were painted dark brown, the rails mid brown and the upper surface silver. I applied a wash to dirty them up a bit. The vehicle headlights were painted silver and the two machine guns were painted black and dry brushed with silver.
It was here that I had a problem. The instructions call for using only three decals, both decal number 2's on the turret sides and decal number 1 around the turret. However, the three choices of decal that fit around the turet are numbered 10, 11 and 12. It was time to get surfing the web to try get some reference pictures. None of the photos I found had markings around the top of the turret so I simply omitted them. Before applying the decals I ended up using, I trimmed away as much of the carrier film as I could. I then applied them without the use of any decal solvents as they didn't fit over any rasied or recessed detail. They dried nicely with no silvering and as they have a matt finish I had no need to apply a varnish.
Final assembly was simply a matter of fitting the tyres over the wheels, fitting the rail wheels over the tyres and glueing them into place. I should point out that on the inside of the tryes is a slight step that corresponds with a step on the wheel. I had thought that I might have had a problem removing the scrap mold from inside the tyre, but it simply pulled away leaving a clean interior. Care should be taken when fitting the tyres. The vehicle was then placed onto the rail track. Although the wheels did fit into the track section it was tight, and with hindsight I should have done some test fitting and adjustment to get a nicer fit before painting.
I enjoyed building this kit. There were some problems, partly when the instructions were unclear but also down to my inexperience of building in this scale. I would say that it is not a kit for the beginner but the fit of parts was in the main, quite good. I would recommend doing some research before building this kit to overcome the problems with decal placement.
My Thanks to Squadron
for the review sample