Saturday, June 10

Build Guide: Macson shows us how he made his Panda Hobby 1:35 Kurganets-25 BTR Object 693 in 35th

Macson has already given us a wonderful Rhino SPG gun build here on TMN. He returns, this time with a Panda Hobby kit in 35th scale. The Russian Kurganets-25 is a new Russian infantry fighting vehicle that looks pretty cool - but did Macson capture the realistic elements on such a new AFV? Check it out in his build guide here.

Build Guide: KURGANETS-25 BTR OBJECT 693
Manufacturer: Panda Hobby
Product No #PH35024
1:35th scale
Kit Type: Plastic injection-molded
Product Link on HobbyLink Japan
Price:¥4,640/ $43.01 USD/ €38.48

Modeller: Macson Tan (KL, Malaysia)

The Kurganets-25 is a new Russian infantry fighting vehicle. Sometimes this vehicle is simply referred as Kurganets. In 2011 Russian Ministry of Defense issued a requirement for a successor of the BMP-3 that becomes outdated. Shown off for the first time in public in May 2015 at the Russian May Day parade The new IFV was developed alongside a Bumerang wheeled armoured personnel carrier. The whole project was kept in high secrecy. The Kurganets-25 was first publicly revealed in 2015. It was planned that Kurganets-
25 will replace the ageing BMP-1 and BMP-2 IFVs in service with the Russian Army.

Opening The Box
The kit I used for this project was PANDA 1:35 KURGANETS-25 BTR OBJECT 693 which was released in Nov 2016 (No.2052) Painting and marking guide – RUSSIAN Moscow May Day Parade- overall medium green vehicle. Later I decided to paint it in Modern Russian Camouflage.
Panda Hobby is producing the Armata and Kurganets combat vehicles with this Object 693 is the latest in the series. The kit is moulded in tan styrene and presented on 5 parts moulded in tan, 1 parts moulded in clear, and 1 photo-etched parts. All details included- detailed turret, upper & lower hull, Three-piece track links with 89 links each, Photo-etched grilles on the engine deck, Clear periscopes & etc. Overall the detail is very good.

Assembling The Wheels
Construction is very straightforward but it still helps to be well organised. The detail on the sprocket & road wheels is excellent. The outer surface of the idler wheels was roughed up with a coarse sanding stick. This also eliminated the faint raised moulding seam.
I made two sets of sprocket wheels follow by fourteen sets of road wheels (each site seven sets) and the last rear wheels make two sets.

Assembling The Track Pads.
Assembling these elements of a tracked vehicle is easy, but time-consuming as we expect from individually linked tracks. Plan your build in sections to know how the best way to links on the pads. The tracks were broken down into 3parts which is a track shoe, centre guide tooth and a trackpad. They snap together easily once you know the trick.
You need to clean-up a little bit for the sprue attachment. It’s much easy to removing all the parts of the track and separate them into small containers for assembly
I applied glue to the pin holes from outside the link. Once the glue is on, I pressed the section down with a straight edge to keep the tracks flat.   There are eighty-nine links per side to be installed and the tracks fit very nicely indeed.  I completed these in less than four hours after I started them.  If you want to avoid the problem in the first place, it will be worth test-fitting the tracks against the idler wheels set in various positions before you glue them together - of course after finishing painting the tracks.
The Lower Hull
Construction starts with the building of the lower hull and suspension in the classic kit assembly order. The lower hull tub is also a one piece moulding part, which is after all the best for alignment with upper hull. 
The axles are locked into a position with a pin, the separate suspension arms are keyed for accurate alignment. But there is still a little play in them, so be cautious.
The fourteen sets of road wheels, idler wheels and sprockets assembled and ready for installation. The wheels and sprockets are simply pressed into place. I intentionally glued the idler wheels and sprockets in place so that the tracks would not move.

The main element of the rear door come together quickly. There is some error with the fitting the cover door but with a little bit of sanding helps solve the problem. Be careful not to cut the small hinges off the bottom of the rear door. I thought they were sprue remnants.   
Assembly of the Turret
I found assembling the turret to be challenging. If I follow the instructions given by Panda hobby which (I did at the first place) it sent me up the wrong path - it seems they want you to install the lower PE mounts (PE16,17,10,19) incorrectly as an oversight they are reversed!!! If you follow the directions, you'll install the bolt detail to the inside, instead of the outside when you bend it. After properly understand the instructions I just basically swap the sides 17 and 19 and 16 and 10 are supposed to be mounted to.
This was the biggest and only problem with the kit so far. Other than that the build was just fine for me. 

The Side Armour Arrays
I had lost both H19 small parts while cutting it from the sprue. So decided to replace them with 0.07mm brass. The side armour arrays come with one piece pre-assembled parts with only few ejector pin marks on it to remove and these are on the inside, You need to clean them up a little bit if you want to assemble the fit nicely to the body/hull itself.
Test fitting of the upper and lower hull to make sure everything was in the correct place is next, and I found that it fitted together extremely well. 

The kit includes clear periscopes. I sprayed all the clear periscopes with 2 coats of a diluted mixture of Tamiya X-25 Clear Green. Then I left them aside to dry properly before masking them with Masking Sol Neo. Already the entire build was almost complete…Now it was ready for the painting to begin.
Ready To Paint
The first thing that I did was to airbrush a few coats of primer over all of the kit especially the brass details. After a black shadow coat was sprayed onto what would be the shaded areas of the model using the black and white technique.
Airbrush Colours:
Vallejo Surface Primer (73.602 Black) + Highlight (70.951 White). + Medium Grey (70.987). 
I used the Black and White shading method to process of airbrushed colour mixture to the 2nd part of the model which is the upper turret and side armour arrays. I spray the whole model with Vallejo Medium Grey(70.987) to fading the hard edges. I repeated the process with Vallejo White(70.951), but this time only on the edges for more contrast with hand paint 
Camouflage Scheme & Masking:
The painting option is for an overall medium green vehicle. There is a full-colour painting guide, but the only colour it mentions is the overall FS 34102 green.

After discussing it over with a modelling friend, I decided to paint the Kurganets-25 BTR in Modern Russian Camouflage & with some reference pictures were given by him and some that I had gathered from the internet. With any camouflage schemes, it’s always a good idea to start with the lighter shades is always recommended to ensure a good coverage. In this case my base coat already one of the camouflage tones.

So next I followed on with the green camouflage strips with the help of some Blu-Tack masking and plastic tape cover in a large coverage area. I then airbrusedh little by little. Some free-hand retouching is needed to complete the Camouflage scheme.
As usual, I swapped the gunze colours of the camouflage pattern shown on the internet to mostly Vallejo Model Colour by using the online app call “Hobby Color Converter”

Lastly with the Black colour by freehand airbrushing.

Airbrush colours:
Vallejo Buff (70.976) + Sand Yellow(70.916) Vallejo Gunship Green (70.895) + Uniform Green (70.922). + Medium Green (70.920). Vallejo Black (70.950) + Bronze Green (70.897)
The Decals
With an overall coat of clear varnish applied, I was ready to be applied to the simple decals given by Panda Hobby. The decal supplied is for Russian May Day Parade. With the reference given. I cut out the red star & left out the horizontal red stripe.
Oil Paint Rendering
When they dried I then focused on the last of the weathering effects – Oil Paint Rendering. This was done with light and dark shades of green/yellow and some small amounts of black.
Some of the elements were tinted with oils – yellow, green and grey. I focused on the horizontal surfaces adding to the dimensional effect. Peeling off the masking and showing the nice Modern Russian Camouflage revealed that I was on the right track and now the paint scheme was starting to take shape.
The Tracks
Once the camo was done I focused on the tracks. First, they were airbrushed with a basecoat of Vallejo black with a touch of silver to add a metallic sheen. This was airbrushed
and allowed plenty of time to dry. Then with the wheels, I sprayed a pre-dusting cloud of Vallejo US Field Drab(70.873). This is a very good shade to prepare the base for pigments and other weathering work.
A light coating of Vallejo Buff(70.976) & Model Air Orange Rust(71.130) added a dusty feel and toned down the contrast of the brighter rust. The trackpads were now picked out in Vallejo black(70.950).+ Natural Steel(70.864)
The chassis was now ready and I put all the elements together. I dusted top surfaces with European Earth/Dark Mud and Yellow Ochre pigment. I finished with wet stains mixing Dark Brown wash with Engine Oil effect and Fuel Stains all thinned in different ratios.

A final touch was some dried-on mud and dust done with small applications of pigment powders. The tracks were now ready to mount onto the running gear. For the wash, I mixed Natural Umber and light brown/green and applied onto the model previously dampened with white spirit. I did it carefully in the places where details needed highlighting with the shadow. The excess was wiped out with a brush soaked in thinner.
A light dry-brushing of the base colour to emphasise the raised details or just to tone down the previous wash.

This Kurganets-25 BTR were completed very close to actually seeing combat or training purposes, so weathering with regards to chips etc was kept minimal. I used a variety of filters and washes from MIG to bring out the details, and add a little colour interest, then the dust on the side armour arrays.

Before and after in the shots below.
The weathering was started by AK Interactive and Mig Production’s weathering pigments around the lower surface as stained the body over the usage of this vehicle.A little of mud splashes were applied up to the rear of the vehicle, created through the use of AK pigments with a brush. After satisfied with all the paint jobs & weathering effects, I sealed a final satin matt coat with an airbrush.

The Panda Model 1:35 Kurganets-25 BTR Object 693 offers us a very nice kit that satisfying to build kit can be created without the need for extra parts or aftermarket material.
The assembly is very simple and a good choice for a newcomer who wants to engage in an easy to complete model build. As I know Panda Hobby also producing kits of these new vehicles and this one was released at the same time as their Bumerang IFV kit (PH35026); that kit shares its turret with the T-15(PH35017).

Lastly here we are with a small base I completed to add to the kit.
Macson Tan

Thanks to Panda Hobby for sending me this KURGANETS-25BTR OBJECT 693 to make up for you all. It was a fun build! Check out their new stuff on the Panda Hobby/ Kittyhawk Facebook Page.