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Rebel BMP-1.

Štefan Pásztor recreates an unfortunate field conversion from the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Images of armoured fighting vehicles from the current Syrian conflict are fairly widespread. Some time ago I came across several interesting photographs (dating back to 2013) of a BMP-1 that had been fitted with ERA blocks. Unfortunately, reference material was pretty scarce, but my friend, Marián Bunc provided some useful information on the subject. Evidently, the vehicle in question belonged to the Ahraral- Sham (a coalition of Islamist and Salafist units fighting against Syrian Government Forces). The Reactive Armour Kontakt-1 (a Soviet type of ERA) had been taken from two destroyed T-72AV tanks … in theory, a good idea, but one that spelt disaster for the BMP. Shortly after the photographs were taken, the vehicle was totally destroyed in its first encounter. Clearly, whoever had the notion of fitting this type of additional armour to the vehicle had not understood just how weak the BMP-1’s panels were; when the ERA blocks exploded, they caused extensive damage to the vehicle, and serious injuries to the crew.

The Model

1 The only worthwhile kit for this project was from Trumpeter, but even this needed certain modifications and improvements. While attempting to remove the fenders and hinges, I inadvertently scratched the upper surfaces, and had to apply putty and a light sanding to these areas.

2 Along with items from ET Model’s photoetched detailing set (ref. E35-170), I also added weld seams, bolt heads, grab handles and other smaller items. These were based on an example of the BMP-1 at Cosford RAF Museum, and various online walkaround images.

3 The side skirts were taken from Voyager Model’s photoetched set, designed for the T-72AV (ref. PE35675). The upper L-shape sections were soldered to the main panels, and other parts attached with CA glue.

4 Using my punch & die tool, I made lots of tiny cylinders (0.3mm high, and 0.6mm in diameter). These would be attached in pairs to the lower part of each ERA block.

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About Military Modelcraft International

MODERN ARMOUR SPECIAL Inside this issue we talk about modelling and reference on contemporary AFVs.