Tuesday, December 2

Look what just dropped in - Francios builds the BMD-1 from Panda Hobby as a KFOR Peacekeeper.

Francois has taken on the new 1/35th scale Airborne assault tank -  the BMD-1 from Panda Hobby. With some nice K.F.O.R. decals from Star Decal he makes this into a Kosovo peacekeeper
Build Review:
Soviet BMD-1 Airborne light attack vehicle

Panda Hobby Models
1/35th scale
Available from Panda Hobby’s Distributors 

Designed to be used by airborne and mobile troops right out of the back of an Antonov An-12 the BMD-1 is a Soviet airborne amphibious tracked infantry fighting vehicle, which was introduced in 1969 and first seen by the West in 1970.

Monday traffic was hell at the parade ground..Lucky we can car-pool it in!
The Boyevaya Mashina Desanta (Боевая Машина Десанта,) literally "Combat Vehicle of the Airborne” was a low profile armoured tank that can be dropped by parachute or unloaded from a small cargo plne or heavy helicopter Like the Mil 28. Although it resembles the BMP-1 it is in fact much smaller. The BMD-1 was used as an IFV by the Soviet Army's airborne divisions. An improved variant of BMD-1 was developed, the BMD-2. The BMD-1 also provided a basis for the BTR-D airborne multi-purpose tracked APC.
There are two hull halves,three sprues and tracks offered inside the kit box as wlell as a simple photo etched sheet and a decal sheet with simple white markings on it.

..as well as a nice A4 sized poster of the box-art included for your inspiration.
This new release from Panda has all what you can expect from a modern kit: a good fit, nice and accurate details and tracks with individual links. The kit really does fit into the "classic" mould of some of Panda Hobbie's new kits. Simple but very clean moulds with no flash and easy construction. Enough detail to make most people happy with the minimal parts and construction steps to get the model finished. We wanted to show a model being built rather than talked about so we pressed on and left the shots of sprues to other people.

I have to say that if you take your time, the construction of this kit doesn’t give any problem. Time is what you need however to get the tracks done: you have to do them link by link and that’s quite a job! Every little part needs to be cut of the sprue, cleaned and attached to the next one. And this 166 times for each track set.
To make things easier to get the tracks where they are supposed to go, I first glued the wheels. I then glued each track to a long piece of tape to hold them together and draped them over the wheels to get a nice natural flow. Once this as done, I fixed them permanently.  At some places on the tracks on the finished article i would cheat somewhat by adding a little mud to hide the superglue, but that’s okay, right?
 I made sure i secured the tracks down hard to give the look of heavy tracks and sagging links on this vehicle.
I could’ve glued all the tiny little pieces of photo etched parts before painting, but that would have made the kit fragile to handle and I would have broken them off anyway, so I decided to glue them on after painting. By now I was so sick of those tiny track links that I wanted to get the paint out anyway ...

Although I am not a specialist in Russian military vehicles, when I compare the finished kit with some of the photos that I found online, this kit looks pretty much the real thing.
Construction begins with the main bottom and top halves of the hull of the tank and all the little parts that need to be positioned on them. My tools: a magnifying glass, some tweezers and a healthy dose of patience. That was not to difficult compared with the bane of many armour modellers - the track assembly.
The turret is detailed with the handles , the gun is a plastic part, but with some work to get it polished, it’ll look just right. The kit offers some photo-etched parts for the turret and I glued most of them on, except the really tiny ones because they were just too small for me but hey are there if you have the time and the inclination.
Painting started with a layer of Vallejo primer that was quickly airbrushed on the kit. After this, it’s important to give the primer 24 hours to settle. Waiting for undercoat to dry is never the easiest part for me as I like it better when things move fast!
You can see some modulation i worked in here with a darker shade to accentuate the rounded and square surfaces on this little tank.
Next the first layer of paint was “Russian” green, followed by some shading in the Spanish way. After a coat of Vallejo satin varnish, I sprayed on some AK Interactive ‘worn effect’.
This was followed by some grey-green and black for which I used Tamiya paints, sprayed on free hand.Now it was time to get some weathering done; first I used a hard brush to work on those camo-tones. It got me a nice effect with scratched paint. Using a sponge, I painted some irregularities in the camouflage, rendering it more realistic. The next step was to get some future on the kit for the decals. 
Around this time, the StarDecals markings we were wanting to use in this build arrived. This special decal sheet for this BMD-1 in several nations’ colours including KFOR markings. I picked the one that was used in Kosovo which had a three-tone camouflage. I found some photos of it online – which was handy, especially because the instructions that came with the decals only showed 3 sides of the tank.
I found some pictures of what i beleive to be the KFOR tank "119" from the Russian VDV Airbourne unit in Kosovo.
With the decals on, an AK Interactive filter for green military vehicles was used before doing a pin wash with AK dark brown, brought on by brush. 
Dark dust pigments and some flat varnish concluded the painting job for this BMD-1. The lud on the tracks and the hull was done with all kinds of left over pigments and gloss varnish by Vallejo.
With the painting done, it’s time to glue all the tiny parts to the tank. Some are really small and for some I had to make little metal reinforcements, like on those spotlights.
I also made a little base of muddy ground which I used all kinds of herbs that I found lying around. The leaves are made of some tree leaves that were blown into my back garden by the window ...
I should let you know that the Star Decals are of impeccable quality as they settled down into the kit nicely with a minimal of carrier film left over. This was merged with the flat varnish to make a perfect finish on the kit.
So, does this Panda kit do it for me? Yeah! It’s a really nice kit by Panda. I wouldn’t give it to a debutant, because all the track parts might scare them off! Those tracks were a good learning experience for me indeed; I am very happy with the end result and will build the next Panda models with great pleasure.
A big thank you to Panda Hobby for sending us this lovely kit and to Star Decals for the KFOR markings.
Here it is with a little photo trickery involved...in the firsts of Kosovo keepin' the peace - it could be a real photo if you did not know any better.
François Laloux

Thanks to Panda Hobby for sending this kit to us to build -check out their website to see more Panda Hobby kits and their distributors. Thanks also to StarDecals for sending these great decals to use on this kit.