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Trumpeter 1/35 scale BMP-3 MICV (early version)

The BMP-3 represents the latest development of armored tracked Soviet/Russian infantry carriers. It entered service in 1987.

Kit:No. 00364 // Scale:1/35 // Price:$49.95
Trumpeter, from Stevens International, 856-435-1555
Good detail; main interior components included; good use of photoetched metal
Individual track links a little tedious; minor fit problems; no painting instructions for interior
Injection-molded, 771 parts (14 photoetched metal), decals
Modelers of modern Soviet/Russian armor have longed for a decent kit of the BMP series of vehicles. At last, Trumpeter may well be on the way to fulfilling those wishes. The first of what I hope will be many variants is an early version of the BMP-3.

Molded in tan plastic, the kit features excellent detail. The tracks are individual plastic links with separate guide horns. All of the main interior components are provided. While much more detail could be added, it’s sufficient if you want to leave the hatches open. With all of the work I did painting the interior, I wanted to leave some hatches open to show it off.

The instructions have good assembly diagrams, but there are no painting instructions for the interior parts. A full-color painting guide covers two vehicles, one in three-color camouflage and the other in standard Soviet green. A small sheet of decals is provided for the two vehicles, as well as a small fret of photoetched-metal parts.

I started with the lower hull. Although I added the suspension arms, I left off the running gear and tracks until all of the main painting was finished. Luckily, I found several photos on the Internet of the interior, which helped when painting the parts. While installing the rear tunnel floor (Part C4), I found that the support post molded in to the lower hull was too tall. After trimming it a bit, everything fit perfectly. Pay close attention to part numbers during assembly; there are several similar-looking parts for other versions included in the kit.

Once the hull interior was done, I glued on the upper hull and started adding the details. Step 8 has you opening some holes on the hull, but the two holes near the rear for a spare track link were not marked inside the hull. I simply cut off the locating pins on the link and glued it in place.

If you are new to photoetched-metal parts, you need not fear this kit. The few parts provided are sturdy but easy to bend and really add to the appearance of the model.

The turret assembly is a little kit unto itself. All of the parts fit very nicely. The three rounds provided for the ready rack, however, are obviously too large to fit the main gun. You might want to wait for an aftermarket alternative or simply leave them out of the turret.

Cleaning and assembling the track links was a bit tedious, but the finished result does a good job of replicating the real vehicle’s tracks. I basically built my own link-and-length tracks following the diagram in Step 4.

The tracks fit well except for a small gap on the left-side run; I hid that at the drive sprocket under the side skirts. I also had a bit of trouble getting the side skirts to fit tightly in a few areas.

While it does have some challenges, I think most modelers will be very pleased with Trumpeter’s BMP-3. A modeler of average skill should be able to enjoy building this kit.

Already Trumpeter has announced an up-armored version, and one can only hope more BMP-based kits are in the future. I spent about 32 hours on my model, and the finished kit matches the dimensions I found on


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