Russian Armored Car BA-64B
Mfg. ID: 32576
Tamiya released this BA-64B Soviet armored car in their growing 1/48 Military Miniatures series. It is an all-plastic kit of the vehicle with a half-figure.
BA-64 was a Red Army armored scout car design. From 1942 they were used throughout WWII and UN forces encountered them in fighting the communists in Korea. It was originally based on an armored GAZ jeep although the prototype did not roll out until five months after GAZ received a captured Nazi Sd kfz 222, from which it appears BA-64 designers borrowed significantly. Turretless, it was armed with a pintle-mounted 7.62mm DT machine gun.
BA-64 variants mounted both heavy and light machine guns, issued with and without turrets, armed and unarmed, and were built with running gear for railways and as snowmobiles. Crews refered to the BA-64 as "Bobik". In 1943 the BA-64B was fielded.
The BA-64B was the successor to the BA-64, and both used sloped armor similar to the German Sd.Kfz.222, plus an open-topped turret fitted with a 7.62mm machine gun. The 2.4-ton vehicle accommodated a crew of 2, and its 50hp engine produced a top speed of 80km/h. The BA-64B's widened front and rear track improved stability and corrected the overturning problems experienced by its predecessor. It also featured longer front and rear fenders and observation hatches on the driver's left and right sides. - Tamiya
In the box
Tamiya has kitted a fine and simple model, held inside a light conventional lid-tray box. The model is held on a single sprue of dark khaki styrene. Parts total 43 pieces including four for the commander. A simple decal sheet of two numbers rounds out the kit.
Molding is to a high standard with no visible ejector circles, sink holes, or flash. Noticeable mold seam lines mar the figure. Detail is sharp and the armor has a slight texture to it. While I don't think the parts are thick it seems that, except for the pioneer tools, Tamiya did not put much effort into making the parts to-scale thin, either. Vision slits in the turret are not molded open.
There isn't much aside from fine hinge detail on the vision ports and hull doors. I noticed that Tamiya molded rivet detail around one turret vision port but not around the other. Wheel hub detail is good, as are the pioneer tools. Down-under the engine bottom is molded as part of the chassis frame. Axles and springs are single parts, with the drive shaft molded to the rear axle part.
Detail of the soldier is good although the arms look too beefy for scale.
My great disappointment is the 7.62mm DT machine gun. The weapon is a recognizable basic representation but the ammunition drum is just a round disk molded over the breech. Except for clean molding it isn't an advance over what one would find in an Aurora or Lindberg kit c.1960s. Tamiya also neglected to include the tow hooks shown under the front fenders in the box art.
instructions, paint and decals
As mentioned the decal sheet consists of a pair of three-digit vehicle numbers, simulating crude application.
Only Tamiya paint is referenced; 11 colors are listed.
Assembly consists of six panels, some with multiple steps. Painting of parts is shown in the steps, and a seventh panel shows overall painting and decal detail. Tamiya includes history and assembly instructions in four languages.
Joining pieces together shows Tamiya is still an industry leader. The model went together easily in just two hours of distracted effort. If the television had been off I think the model would have been assembled in about 45 minutes using CA. All parts mate together with no alignment irritations. Seam gaps filled with just liquid cement, usually without any pressure.
Parts are attached to the sprue with fairly thick runners. Yet removing the pieces from the sprue was almost effortless with sprue nippers. Tamiya recognized this and notes to trim away the burrs during assembly.
This simple model starts with attaching the axles to the frame, along with the towing hitch.
Next, the top and bottom halves of the body are joined, along with the hatches. Then the fenders are attached via low tabs fitting into shallow indentations; fine lines scribed with the inside edges of the fenders serve as alignment guides. However the slots & tabs do not hold the fenders securely while you await the cement to cure. Fortunately the body attaches to the chassis with good pins and slots.
Fiddly parts such as a grab bar and lights are attached, as is the spare wheel rack and the exhaust pipe. (One part was consumed by the carpet monster - have you noticed what piece?) The tools have shallow pins that barely fit into shallow dimples. The headlamp is 'old school'- the lens is separate but not molded with clear styrene - you will have to paint it. Looks cheesy.
Each wheel is the one-piece full tire and outer hub, with separate inner hubs. A weird engineering decision as the undetailed inner hubs are not needed to attach the wheels to the axles; why not make the visible side easier to paint with the outer hubs separate? Inner hubs fit snugly into the tires all the same.
Including the DT machine gun the turret assembly is an entire three pieces - seven with the crewman. Look at the crewman in the photos and decide for yourself if the fit of the arms - shoulder fit is acceptable.
Painting and decaling are the final step. I used dear old Pactra and Polly Scale acrylics for the vehicle and figure; Lifecolor for the dust and rust and grime and other weathering.
It is fun to assemble a neat well engineered model OOB. Tamiya molded a good model. It has some surprising tradeoffs, such as no clear parts for lenses. I am disappointed with the bland DT machine gun and large seams to clean from the otherwise nice figure.
Overall this simple little Bobik
was satisfying to build. I confidently recommend the model to fans of Soviet light armor.
Please tell vendors and retailers that you saw this model here - on Armorama.