BMD-1P+ Airborne Infantry Assault Vehicle
"Pocomax - (Wolverine)"
Conversion Skif BMD-1 Model Kit #223
Copyright 2004, Jim Lewis/GunTruck Studios
All Rights Reserved Worldwide

Page One

Awards & Honors

The BMD-1 is touted as the world's first fire-support vehicle developed and fielded for airborne operations. It was a small and plucky vehicle that was light enough for air transport and air-drop missions behind enemy lines - reportedly from heights as low as 300 meters through as high as 1500 meters. It was also renown for being droppable in combat readiness - reportedly able to enter combat operations very shortly after landing. The BMD was lighter than its cousin - the BMP.

The BMD (Boyevaya Machine Desantnaya) first appeared to Western observers at the 1973 Moscow Parade and initially labeled M-1970 by the West. The BMD carries a crew of two (commander and driver - but possibly three) and interior accommodations for five paratroopers. As part of the former Soviet Union's formidable Airborne Forces, the BMD would be dropped behind NATO or enemy lines. They were used by the Soviets during the Afghan Invasion and later by the Russian Army in Chechnya.

The BMD-1P entered production in 1978. This model differed from the basic BMD by addition of an ATMS (Anti-Tank Missile System) on top of the turret. BMD-1P carried two ATMS missiles and 4000 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition for the co-axial mounted machine gun and two 7.62mm machine guns located at the front corners of the Hull. The main 73mm Gun had 40 rounds on ammunition. The interior was quite cramped, and Paratroops were often seen riding outside of the BMD-1P.

Made up from welded aluminum-alloy armor plate (likely 20mm thickness), the BMD-1P weighed an estimated 7.6 tons. A six cylinder, 240 hp, 5D20 diesel engine propelled the BMD-1P to a maximum road speed of 61 kilometers per hour with a range of 500 kilometers. The BMD-1P is fully amphibious, with a maximum speed of 10 kilometers per hour waterborne. Each track run is made up of 87 steel links with Drive Sprockets at the rear.

Another interesting feature of the BMD is that it comes equipped with a hydropneumatic suspension system. This allows the BMD to "squat" down lower to fit into cargo aircraft transports - or even to produce a lower profile on the battlefield.

As the second ever Soviet model subject, I chose the neat-looking Skif BMD-1P. I was fascinated by the squat-looking but purposefully menacing appearance of the infantry combat vehicle. It is most impressive for someone one used to modeling American AFV's. Having been spoiled by the excellent Tamiya T-55A Medium Tank, I was expecting quite a bit out of Skif's model kit. In many ways, those expectations were met - in other ways, they weren't. However, all in all, I'd buy and build this model kit again. I liked it and recommend it to other modelers seeking modern Soviet armor subject to add to their miniature collection.

What I modeled here is a fantasy vehicle based on the BMD Chassis. I participated in a modeling activity over at that called for subjects from the popular WW III-scenario Twilight:2000 gaming series. The fun of T:2000 is being able to model near-future ordnance along with contemporary subjects, the more plausible the better for the gaming experience. I wanted to model something that looked Soviet, and this was a good choice to jump off into fantasy. I didn't even set out to model something serious - just a fun piece that I could literally play with - with matching Little Green Army Men. When done, I sat at looked at it, liking it and decided to keep it in the display cabinet. On a whim, I took it with me to the IPMS/USA National Convention and Model Contest in Phoenix, Arizona for grins and giggles - I could put it in the Hypothetical Category with the other flights of fancy. What the heck - why not? Imagine my surprise when the Judges selected it for Third Place. All for a model made just to goof around with in a role playing game...

Skif Model Kit #223 comes cast in olive green plastic. It is soft, but not brittle. The casting is well-done, with light flashing in some minor places in my example - none to complain about. Ejector pin marring is minor and easily removable due to the softness of the plastic. The kit comes with individual track links - four sprues of 48 links. You'll have 18 extra links, in case some are launched into oblivion. There is a photoetched fret with grills, splash vanes, and light guards. I thought them a bit thick until I used them - they're fine, if not crude-looking. Other than that, you'll get two extra Road Wheels, one extra Suspension Arm for each side, and two extra Return Roller Wheels. There are no figures provided in the kit, and you get the basic OVM Equipment for the exterior.

The Hull comes in five pieces to make up the Lower portion - with a single-piece Upper Hull. I was skeptical about joining them without warpage - but this proved to be a breeze. Later problems came in mating the upper and lower Hull parts, though. A lot of filler and sanding came next - more than I expected.

There is a token Interior provided by Skif. Drawback here is that I have no idea what the real BMD-1P interior looks like and the Instruction Sheet really doesn't shed anymore light there. The Spartan interior doesn't convey the sense of crampness that the real vehicle likely does.

Posed with Tamiya's M1025 HMMWV, the small size of the BMD AIFV becomes apparent. It is darned near "cute". I can easily see this loaded onto a C-130 Aircraft - but I can't see a Squad of Solders or Marines crammed inside.

With the Skif kit, you don't get much. Perhaps that's because there isn't a whole lot to the BMD-1. I don't know. So, not wanting to stray too far away from the basic design fielded, I only opted for minor additions that might be plausible for one in service during WW III. My setting was the Soviet Invasion of Alaska - and seizure of the US Alaskan Oil Fields. Spearheads of the Soviet forces would be airborne elite troops in little vehicles like this one.

The biggest visual addition came in the form of a soft armor addition in rubberized, flexible, skirts for the flanks of the vehicle. They would add a little more protection to the Road Wheels and Track Runs, and not a lot of weight like armor plating. They could double as dampers for IR sensors locking on the hot Drive Sprocket and Tracks/Road Wheels.

Trimming them out to sheet styrene, I dragon-teethed the bottom edges for interest, and punched holes in each skirt intended as a step aid for troops ingressing the BMD-1. I made up a mounting frame out of styrene strip and added punched disc bolts heads.

Small Antenna, Armored Caps for ports, and small detail items came from the spares box - in sparing amounts. The BMD-1 is already interesting in its own right - no need to clutter it up beyond recognition.

The Anti-Tank Weapon Station in my Skif model kit was pretty useless - so I dressed it up with brass tubing and some minor details to give an impression of functionality without fanfare - typical Soviet of that era. I added a firing-ready round in the Launcher, making it appear much too powerful for the little carrier.

The biggest drawback in the kit, for me, was the tracks. I contemplated replacing them, but at that time they were prohibitively expensive - especially for a model I was just goofing around with. I opted out of replacing them and worked with what I had.

Lastly, my Soviet Invasion Force would bear no insignia or markings on their vehicles - so none on my BMD-1P+ Wolverine. I contemplated a more elaborate camouflage scheme for it, but it really didn't fit how I imagined the real one would look. So I weathered it up instead. A real scrapper.

All content Copyright � 1998 - 2019 Jim Lewis,,,, and GunTruck Studios.
All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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