The Russian BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle is designed for the transportation of soldiers and their fire support - its troop compartment accommodates five soldiers, while its own crew consists of three more people. These vehicles are successfully used during assaults, as no other armoured vehicle can surpass the BMP-3 in terms of fire density. The rotating turret is equipped with a 100mm cannon, with the ability to launch anti-tank guided missiles, as well as a rapid-firing 30mm automatic cannon and a 7.62mm PKT machine gun. Two more machine guns are mounted in the front of the hull for forward fire. The BMP-3 can accelerate on the highway up to the “automobile” speed of 70 km/h, is able to swim at a speed of up to 10 kn/h and fire afloat. The BMP-3 is in service not only in Russia, but also in many other countries around the world.
The model arrives in a sturdy flip top box, with an end opening card sleeve. Inside the sprues are packaged in 2 sealed bags, with no obvious moulding issues other than what you would expect to find in the way of minor mould seams and some ejector pins marks. But I do not believe that any of the ejector pins marks will be seen on the finished model. The access to the parts is good, with small gates and if I had a complaint it would be that in some cases there are more gates than I would expect to find. A big negative for me, is the packaging of the clear sprue with the decals due to the risk of damage.
This release from Zvezda of a BMP-3 is a brand new release, with the model only covering the exterior of the model. The hull is a multi part assembly, which has allowed for well replicated detail. But at the same time I would have liked to have seen Zvezda offering an interior or interior kit as it would provide this model with something unique to my knowledge and would have opened up a host of options. The lower part of the hull only really requires the suspension arms and wheels, there are some other minor details such as mud scrappers to fit, but all told this would be a quick area to assemble.
The tracks for the model are link and length in nature, with separate guide horns and so detail looks good for a vehicle shown on a level surface. The guide horn detail is especially detailed in this way which I feel the pictures show well. Link and Length is I feel a good compromise being better detailed than vinyl rubber and less tricky than individual track links. It is the top of the hull, where the modeller will do the most work as that and the rear plate is where most of the detail is added. All of the hatches and doors could, with the minimum of effort be shown open and this is my reasoning for wishing an interior option was available. Due to the number of finishing options that could be replicated in terms or doors and hatches open or closed and with figures in attendance really would bring this model to life. Don’t get me wrong, what is provided is very well done, but it could have been so much more.
The turret of the model is again tackled with multiple panels, but a lot of the detail in this area is added during assembly rather than moulded. The main gun is moulded as a single piece, with the muzzle brake provided separately giving the hollow end - I approve of this methodology. The gun itself is fixed into position and is set level. Standoff armour at the front sides of the turret looks the part and adds a nice detail to the model. Smoke dischargers/grenade launchers are reasonably detailed but could be better. Again the hatches in the turret could be shown open with a little bit of work. What I believe to be an infra red lighting system is also very nicely detailed with optional parts to show the armoured covers open or closed.
Zvezda has offered 3 finishing options for this vehicle, which are:
BMP-3 of the Russian Armed Forces, Victory Parade in Moscow, 2019
BMP-3 of the Russian Armed Forces, 2010
BMP-3 from the 3rd Brigade of the People of Korea Army Ground Forces, 2000
Looking at what is provided by Zvezda in this release, I can only really list one fault as regards the product and that is the placement of the decals and the clear parts in the same bag. Moulding quality is high, but I cannot but help still think that the inclusion of an interior or separate model of the interior would have really lifted the kit itself and Zvezda as a company to a much more desirable level. This is especially true as the BMP has so many large openings for that interior detail to be seen. With that out of the way, I still find this a desirable kit.