I couldn't find much on this vehicle in the short amount of time before the review. Basically it is a tracked howitzer rather than a tank, and it served in many countries. It closely resembles the MT-LB but the chassis is longer than that vehicle. Many are still in use today around the world.
Big gun and low chassis gives this vehicle a really interesting look that this kit captures very well. There are a total of four sprues of white plastic and one small decal sheet. The instruction sheet is well laid out and is very clear, with the only omission being any vehicle history or background. A total of seven options are provided on the small decal sheet, with several in interesting schemes.
Starting with the main hull, this is made up from four main parts: bottom hull, sides, rear plate and front plate. The fenders are separate and are tabbed for perfect alignment. The front fender ends are made up from a couple pieces, while the rear ones are one piece. Both of these are molded a bit thick and probably would look better thinned down or replaced with plastic card. The wheels are well molded and look the part. The tracks are plastic and are molded in several long stretches with individual tracks for going around the wheels.
Moving up, the turret is the next major assembly. The most impressive part of this vehicle is the gun and this kit does a great job of capturing its look. The barrel is molded as one piece and while surrounded by a bit of flash it should clean up well. The muzzle brake is molded in two pieces and once attached gives this big gun its characteristic appearance. The separate brake also makes cleanup easy, resulting in a very crisp piece. The finished barrel assembly fits onto a movable assembly made up of a wheel, mounting discs and a two-piece barrel attachment piece. Careful assembly will result in a movable gun, just like careful work will result in a movable turret.
All that’s left from here is mounting the upper hull to the lower hull, then plopping the turret in place. There are lots of little details to toss on as well, from lights to antenna brackets. With some careful drilling you could replace the light lenses with MV lenses for a very realistic look.
Once all that’s done the fun really begins: painting! Four of the seven schemes are overall khaki green, with a fifth in overall Iraqi sand. The other two schemes are multi-color, one being green and brown and the other being two shades of green and black. Starting with the khaki green examples, the first is that seen on the boxtop, white 962 of the Soviet Army, seen in Afghanistan in 1986. The second khaki green example is from the Soviet Naval Infantry and has flags on the front hull as well as the sides, and a white 664 on the turret sides. Still within the former Soviet Union borders, the third khaki example is a Ukrainian Army 2S1, with a white 341 on the turret and the Ukrainian national marking stenciled on the side of the hull. The final khaki green 2S1 is the simplest of all, being from the Polish Army. The only markings on this one are two diamond-shaped red and white markings for the turret sides.
Moving to the other three vehicles, the simplest one included in this kit is the Iraqi one, being painted in overall Iraqi sand and completely devoid of any markings. The two-tone green and brown vehicle is from the 201 Division, Russian Army, on the Tajik-Afghan border in 1994. This tank has a black 002 on the hull and a black X on the turret. The final scheme is the Finnish example and is easily the most interesting when it comes to camouflage. This one is painted in medium green, dark green and black in a splinter camouflage. Finnish roundels are on the turret and small white stenciling is on the front and rear hull.
Soviet armor isn’t exactly common in 1/72 scale, but hopefully we’ll be seeing more kits like this one in the near future. With the large number of non-Soviet operators of this type, the choices of interesting examples are almost limitless. The simplicity of the kit will make it a fast build, making it an ideal in-between project to work on while the glue is drying on your next contest winner.