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Tamiya 1/48 scale BA-64B Russian armored car

RELATED TOPICS: ARMOR
Kit:32576 // Scale:1/48 // Price:$20.50
Manufacturer:
Tamiya America, 800-826-4922
Pros:
Good detail; easy assembly; figure provided
Cons:
Thick hand saw; no clear part for the headlight; no interior; marking for only one vehicle
Comments:
Injection-molded, 34 parts, decals
FSM-NP1213_55
FSM-WB0314_BA64_02
FSM-WB0314_BA64_03
FSM-WB0314_BA64_04
FSM-WB0314_BA64_05
FSM-WB0314_BA64_06

Manufactured in Nizhny Novgorod by Russian automaker GAZ, the BA-64 light armored car was based on the GAZ-64 jeep. A little more than 9,000 were produced from 1942-46. The vehicle’s angled side armor recalled Germany’s SdKfz 222, though it later had an open turret more like the SdKfz 234. Top-heavy and prone to rollovers in rugged terrain, the BA-64, nicknamed “Bobik,” was better-suited to urban combat than off-road action. An improved variant, the BA-64B, had a wider track for greater stability. After World War II, the vehicle was more likely to be found in Soviet bloc countries. It is still used in North Korea.

There have been a few releases of this vehicle in 1/35 scale, but I believe this is the first in 1/48 scale. The kit provides a vehicle commander figure, separate doors, rotating turret, and one set of markings.

Building the chassis was no problem. I painted it with Tamiya NATO green. The tires are painted with Tamiya NATO black, better than a pure black for rubber.

Even though the doors are separate so you can leave them open, there is no interior to show if you do. 

Like the chassis, the body is painted with Tamiya NATO green. Leaving the fenders off for easier masking and painting, I “pre-highlighted” the Bobik’s distinctive angles by painting the edges Tamiya flat white before applying the NATO green.

The headlight is a disappointment — the lens is not clear, same as many of Tamiya’s 1/48 scale vehicles. You can repair this detail with a lens from M.V. Products.

After assembling and painting the turret, I mounted the machine gun. I strayed from the directions to paint it Tamiya semigloss black instead of Tamiya gunmetal. The half figure that stands in the turret is built and painted per the instructions, then stationed on a platform within the turret. Omitting the commander would leave the turret open to the empty interior.

The decals went down easily over a clear coat. Judging from a photo I referenced on the Internet, the tactical markings are missing from the decals. (The photo is a little blurry, but there appears to be a marking on the hood.) I weathered with Tamiya pastels.

It took me five quick hours to build and finish this model, which would make it a good starting point for any beginning or returning modeler. More-experienced modelers will keep an eye out for an aftermarket interior to add appeal to those beckoning open doors. But all armor modelers will enjoy imagining the possibilities in dioramas featuring this little armored car.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the APril 2014 FineScale Modeler.

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