Zvezda Wargaming Models

The BT-5

While I was putting the previously reviewed Hanomag kit together I thought to myself, "What the heck, I'll do the BT-5 as well". And here it is. Another gem, this went together without any problems.

don't do this! the lower hull also connects to the track units 
and should be joined to the chassis before the tracks are put on
sometimes I should actually read the instructions

the lower hull, chassis and tracks assembled 
(I had a devil of a time getting the tracks off so I could join the lower hull and chassis)

a front view of the same

add the upper hull

and the turret

and you are done

     This kit is a breeze and looks great, comparing it to pictures on the web it captures the look of the BT-5 perfectly. Another great kit from Zvezda.

     Very Highly Recommended,     John

The Hanomag 251

    Looking for something quick to build before the Saturday game my eye lighted on the Zvezda kit of the Hanomag sitting on my workbench's "in" pile (which, by the way, is a pretty big pile). I thought to myself, "Ah, that would be fast". Well I wasn't wrong. As has become the trademark of Zvezda kits this one is a sharp bit of work. I did encounter one problem and one oversight. The problem I will explain in the building pictures, the oversight (and I can't think of how I missed it in the sprue shots earlier) is that the top-mounted mg is not present in the kit and the shield is also gone missing, an AA mg is provided but it should be mounted at the rear of the vehicle, not the front. An odd oversight for a company that put lug-nuts on the wheels of it's models. But on to the build;

the chassis and track units 

these went together very tightly

     After adding the wheels I tried to attach the fenders to the lower hull. This is where I encountered the problem. Perhaps it is just me, but try as I might I could not get the parts to fit together. Always having been one for the most direct approach I cut away the portion of the offending part that was causing the trouble (see illustration below) and things went smoothly.

two quick cuts solved the problem

     Once the lower hull and fenders were joined the top hull dropped into place and was ready to be joined to the chassis assembly.

all parts fit snugly enough to not need gluing

     The chassis and hull went together without a hitch and I added the MG to the model for the "as designed" look, I will get some plastic card and fabricate a gunshield for the MG later. The weird part is that the box-art shows it properly while the model is wrong.

Highly recommended,   John

The BM-13 Katyusha
 I was interested in the BM-13 in particular as I had a great deal of difficulty with the Battlefront model that I had attempted. As noted earlier the Zvezda kit is a snap-together model and is very cleanly cast. I decided to start with the part that had given me the most trouble before, the launch-rails and elevation frame. This went together like a dream, despite being made of four tiny parts. The fit was perfect and the parts snapped cleanly into place (I glued them anyways).

the frame and elevation post
be careful to push the frame tips all the way trough the launch-rails
 the pins pop out the top and form the locators for the rockets

Next up was the rear suspension unit, be careful when assembling these parts as there is a definite inside-wheel and outside-wheel (these have the lug-nuts on them).

these snapped on fine, I glued them anyways

be careful cutting the front suspension from the sprue, it is tiny and fragile

Next I removed the rest of the truck parts from the sprues, I carefully bent the hood as shown in the instructions and cleaned off the few mold lines. 

ready for assembly

The rear bed is molded in one piece with the fenders and is held in place by the pins extending downward from the fuel tank into the chassis. Be careful not to trim these off.

the fuel tank attached to the rear bed

the rear bed mounted to the chassis

The cab is made in two parts, a front bit that is the firewall, doors and windows; and a rear bit that consists of the back and top. These fit neatly together and then I attached the engine to the firewall. This then dropped onto the chassis.

the cab ready to be attached

and there it is

The radiator and engine hood were next. The radiator tucks down between the frame members and than onto the lug on the front of the engine. It is a tight fit and some trimming might be needed, The folded hood then clips over it between the radiator and the firewall. There are lugs on the lower edge of the hood sides that lock into slots in the chassis near the inside of the front fenders. These appeared adequate to keep the hood on but I glued it.

the radiator ready to go

there it is, locked in place

the hood worried me at first but it didn't break as I bent it

the fit is tight enough to hold on its own

It was a simple matter to push the suspension units into place. At this point you could stop and add a box-bed for a great model of the standard GAZ heavy truck. I finished the kit as a rocket launcher.

exercise some care when installing the front suspension unit

I added the rockets to the launch-rails before mounting the launch assembly to the truck bed as it seemed easier that way. 
you may have to open the holes a little in the rocket array
 they were very tight on my model

The completed kit gives a very satisfying model. This kit is decidedly pushing the limit for snap-tight models in this scale and I would suggest gluing the parts during assembly. Once finished I must say that I am very happy with the finished kit.

Very Highly Recommended.   John

Painted 1/144 aircraft

 Here are the previously reviewed 1/144 aircraft models from Zvezda. I confess to being to lazy to dig out my airbrush and being too busy to take them to my buddy's house who isn't too lazy to set up his airbrush. I brush-painted them. Not the best job ever but you will get an idea of what they look like in the flesh.

      I can happily report that the decals are very good, thin with a very small surrounding film. The Soviet marking did suffer from register problems the red star being slightly off-center on the white background. I painted my JU-87 and ME-109 for service in the North African or Italian theaters rather than the Eastern Front.

the group shot, they compare well size-wise

the classic ME-109

this model captures the ungainly bulk of the JU-87 well

the terror of the panzers, the IL-2 

the LAGG-3

     My only real complaint is that the models sit too far forward on the base and have an unfortunate tendency to tip over and land on their noses, I will have to glue a buck-shot to the back of the base to balance this out. On future models I probably will end up casting a lead base to glue the upright arm into.