BTR-152.K Armoured Personnel Carrier

MAC Automodelle 1:72 Scale Vehicle Review

Soviet BTR-152.K Armoured Personnel Carrier with Armoured Roof

The armoured roof version of the BTR-152 is an important variant which is sure to be deployed in a number of dioramas, and wargame scenarios. The fully enclosed vehicle offers more protection for the crew, and it has roof hatches which may be opened to allow infantry to fight from the vehicle. In wargames, the armoured roof conveniently hides the fact that there aren't any troops inside the vehicle. No need to pile a bunch of plastic figures into an open compartment, this BTR-152 looks perfectly realistic on the approach march. Figures are placed on the table when the hatches open, and the troops dismount for action. The model shown here has been painted Gunze H73 dark green.

Contents

  • BTR-152.K with armoured roof
  • 7.62 mm machine gun
  • 13 sets of decals

Evaluation

Excellent choice of subject. The BTR-152 is a standard armoured personnel carrier which served in many Eastern Bloc countries. The vehicle is similar in appearance to the half-tracked APCs widely used in World War 2, but its 6-wheeled design gives the BTR-152 a distinctively modern look.

Two variants. The vehicle featured in this kit is the armoured roof version of the BTR-152. However, the sprue contains all the necessary parts to build the open-topped APC as well.

Only 54 parts, easy to assemble. The model went together very well, requiring less than an hour to assemble the fully closed down armoured roof version. With the armoured roof installed, and roof hatches closed down, interior detailing is not strictly necessary, requiring only 30 parts to complete the vehicle. Large roof hatches are included, and they may be modelled in an open position, in which case the rear compartment should be fitted with all the kit parts, of course. The vehicle body is completely assembled, and the chassis fits into the lower hull beautifully. Hatches, doors, and windows are moulded on, saving much assembly time, but also making it difficult to model the vehicle with open hatches.

The kit is moulded in dark green plastic, with black wheels and chassis, and a black roof. The vehicle could be used as a toy without actually painting it.

Metal axles are cut to the correct length, and they ensure the proper alignment of the rear springs. Wheels should be glued on with superglue, making sure that the tread is aligned correctly on each side of the vehicle. There are three wheels with one type of hub, and four with another. It's important to examine the wheels to spot the difference. The set of four is for the rear axles, one of the three is the spare, and the other two are for the front axle. The picture on the box shows how the tread should be aligned, a V-shape pointing toward the ground when viewed from the front of the vehicle.

The instructions are written in Czech, Russian, English, and German. Drawings are included, and they require careful study to locate all the parts. Placement of the steering wheel is not show, but should be easy to figure out.

The kit comes with 13 sets of decals, and three batches of vehicle ID numbers:

  • (1) East Germany
  • (2) CSSR
  • (3) & (4) Poland
  • (5) Hungary
  • (6) Afghanistan
  • (7) Syria
  • (8) Israel
  • (9) Bulgaria
  • (10) & (11) USSR
  • (12) Finland
  • (13) Red Cross
  • Vehicle Numbers

Painting and decaling instructions cover an East German BTR-152.K ambulance, a Syrian and a Czech vehicle. All three vehicles are to be painted Humbrol No. 114 Russian Green. We would have liked to see colour reference numbers for some of the other options, particularly of BTR-152s deployed in the Middle East.

Good value for money. This version of the BTR-152 gives the modeller two choices, to complete the vehicle with or without the armoured roof. In either case, some parts for the spares box will be left over.

We found the handwritten part numbers more difficult to read than printed ones.

The instructions do not show how to cut the lamps off the sprue. The vehicle on the box cover has the lamps mounted flush on the fender, but the painting instructions show them slightly raised.

BTR-152.K Armoured Personnel Carrier with Armoured Roof

The manual would have you mount the subdued lights on the outside, and the headlamps on the inside, but the cover photo shows exactly the opposite arrangement.

The instructions do not show an antenna mounting point, important information for anyone without access to a relevant photo. The manufacturer informs us that the BTR-152 carried a single antenna on the right side, or one on each side of the vehicle.

The decals were very brittle. The vehicle numbers broke into many small pieces during the application process. Crew figures are not included.

Possible Conversions

  • BTR-152.V1 armoured personnel carrier with winch
  • BTR-152.V2 armoured personnel carrier without winch
  • BTR-152 anti-tank vehicle with ATGM launcher
  • BTR-152.A anti-aircraft vehicle with twin machine guns or cannons
  • BTR-152 close support vehicle with quadruple heavy machine guns
  • BTR-152.U, command vehicle. The vehicle had raised sides to provide more internal space, and comfort for the staff working inside; it was not armed. This variant and the BTR-152.K would be suitable for several other uses, as an ambulance, signals, and artillery registration vehicle.

The BTR-152 is a good model of a very important vehicle. The original had some clever design features, like central tire-pressure regulation which allowed the crew to adjust the pressure in accordance with local driving conditions. The BTR-152 has a rugged look to it, which will make it a valuable addition to any collection of military vehicles. The choice of decals supplied with this kit is such that the modeller will be tempted to complete a number of different BTR-152s, exploring various temperate and desert camouflage patterns. Wargamers will want at least one motorized infantry platoon mounted in BTR-152 APCs, and it may be difficult to resist the urge to explore several theaters of operation at the same time.

Frequently Asked Questions

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