Tuesday, October 10

Construction Review: Paul gets to build Panda Hobby's new 35th scale Kurganets-25 IFV Object 695

You have already seen the APC variant of this kit built up here on TMN, today in his construction review Paul gets to build Panda Hobby's new 35th scale Kurganets-25 IFV Object 695 - see how he went - from plastic to paint and weathering in his one-stop-shop article.

Construction Review: Kurganets-25 IFV Object 695
Manufacturer: Panda Hobby
Scale: 1/35th
Type: Multimedia kit
Price:£33.16 GBP/ $43.22 USD/ €37.09 EUR/ ¥4,720
Available from HobbyLink Japan
The BMP family of IFV’s were revolutionary for their time when they were first introduced and have seen widespread service around the world, although it is hard to believe that it has been fifty years since the first BMP-1 appeared and sent shivers up the spine of NATO. The Kurganets-25 is a modular platform being trialled as a replacement for the BMP and a number of other vehicles in Russian service.
Weighing 25 tonnes, the design is a clear departure from the Soviet Cold War era design philosophy of simple and cheap to the much larger and more complex designs of Western-style vehicles. The vehicle is amphibious and features a crewless turret that is armed with a 30mm auto-cannon which also has a co-axially mounted PKT machine gun. A pair of Kornet-EM ATGM’s adorn both sides of the turret which gives the Kurganets some protection against MBT’s.
The kit came in a nicely illustrated box with all of the sprues sealed up in small plastic bags.
Panda is the first manufacturer to release a kit of this vehicle and I was looking forward to starting the build, unfortunately, I was not able to dive straight in due to a nasty surprise in the shape of some serious warpage issues. Doing a bit of dry fitting, the rear of the upper hull revealed a slight twist to it but didn’t seem to be a major issue.
The front of the hull would not be as simple to fix however with a significant amount of warping at the front hull plate which gave it a significant underbite. The saving grace is that this area will later be covered by a dozer blade so corrective surgery won’t need to be an intensive job.

With that in mind, all I did was find out which areas would affect the fit of the dozer blade, and then cut them away and replace with plasticard. A multitude of elastic bands later to hold the upper and lower halves together and fix the rear of the hull and the problems were solved. Unfortunately, while I was pre-occupied fixing up the warpage issues, I forgot to install the periscopes so I’m just going to have to settle for clear plastic sheet later on.

With the major surgery out of the way, I can now get into the meat of the build. Going with the instructions, you start with the lower hull. You get two structures on the inside which I think are water propulsion units, but they will be completely invisible so not really necessary. The suspension arms fit quite well into their sockets although there is still some movement so you may want to glue them.
The tracks are a job and a half and come in three pieces per link with the link itself, trackpad, and the guide horn. The guide horns and track links click together and the fit is tight so they do not fall apart once clicked into place, but is quite a fiddly affair so be prepared for several hours of tedium. With the large side skirts, I didn’t bother assembling the full run of 89 links per side and used about 60 to get over the sprocket and idler. The trackpads were also difficult to remove from the sprue because they were moulded so closely to the sprues. The result, however, is a pair of fully working tracks and fit perfectly onto the sprockets.
The fit of the rear doors is perfect although the rear hull plate did need a small amount of filler, but considering the warp on the hull to start, I was quite happy with this.
The top of the hull is adorned with these cylindrical structures which are the active protection system against incoming ATGM’s. PE grills on the upper hull and all goes together quite easily so nothing really of note.
Due to the warpage issues, the key to the whole kit becomes the dozer blade which covers the front of the hull, and shows that once you cut away the offending areas, you could even get away with not patching it up at all if you don’t want to.
The side skirts are a chunky affair and really do bulk up the hull when you put them on. I accidentally installed the larger triangular forward section of the side skirt instead of the smaller one with its accompanying sensor unit but I’m not too concerned by this.
The “revolutionary” crewless pizza box like turret again poses no problems except for a small amount of filler at the seam at the front of the turret. A PE section is folded around the sensor unit on the side of the turret, however, one of them fell apart after I cut it off the PE fret. It wasn’t difficult to glue them on the applicable areas, but I didn’t notice the spare that was provided still sitting in the bag. One feature that I’m not really a fan of are these clip in turrets which Panda seem quite fond of because you can’t remove the turret once you clip it into place.
The two Kornet-EM missiles arrays are fiddly, especially the frame beneath the missile tubes so take care with alignment. The instructions show a jig being used to bend the PE covers into shape, but no part numbers are shown for the jig and they are not illustrated in the box contents or found in the box. The mounts for the missiles are quite small so they are quite fragile with one breaking off after clipping the turret into place later on.
With construction over, I was tempted to do a camouflage scheme, but I thought the all over green gave this giant vehicle an intimidating look about it. However, I’m not a fan of the stars and bars decorations seen on the sides so I found some number decals from the spares box. As usual, I started with Mig’s 931 Russian Dark Base for the lower hull and turret areas followed by 0083 Zashchitniy Zaleno on the exposed sides of the vehicle. I sprayed the tracks black, and then added a couple of drops of white and gave a light coat over the trackpads to give it a slightly worn colour.
I then used Mig’s 933 Russian Light Base on the upper surfaces and then applied a gloss coat before applying the decals to the sides. The colour turned out to be a bit lighter than what I had planned, however as you can see in the pictures at the start of the article, the green can vary quite substantially depending on the light conditions.
Modern vehicles typically don’t show a great deal of weathering so I started my one with a brown overall wash followed by some streaks down the sides as well as a black pin wash to bring out the details.
Photos below show the lens’ on the two sensor pods on the turret to have a golden colour so I painted them carefully with Mig’s Metal 198 Gold which worked ok, but I think would have been better with clear parts for the lens’.
I sprayed some Mig 0070 Medium Brown on the sides and wheels to simulate some dirt, and then Mig 105 Washable Dust over the entire vehicle but focussing on upper surfaces, and also the tracks. I finished off the tracks with an Abteilung 125 Light Mud wash to get into the recesses to finish off the dusty finish. The obligatory matte coat and the Kurganets is finished.
Here is the top turret - the main difference in this kit in close detail...
The Kurganets is certainly an imposing vehicle and looks bulky but the figure from the collection really does emphasize how giant this vehicle actually is.

A walk around showing the whole thing...
This is a hard one to give an objective review because, with warpage, you just don’t know how prevalent the problem is, whether it is just my review sample, or if the whole batch is warped like that. While it was an easy fix, that should never have passed quality control and I certainly wouldn’t be happy to find that in the box if I had paid for it. However, warpage issues aside, the rest of the kit actually goes together quite well and finishes up as quite an impressive model. 
Overall, I think this is a good kit and can recommend it to those who really want a model of the Kurganets because the warping is a relatively easy fix. For those that could be interested, I’d be interested to see if anyone else gets a warped hull like I did.

Paul Lee
Thanks to Panda Hobby for sending this kit to build and review.