The SKOT-2A is an
improved variant of the SKOT
(Średni Kołowy Opancerzony
Transporter which means “medium wheeled armoured carrier”)
which is the Polish version of
the Czech OT-64.
The first prototype was designed in 1959. In 1961 the first test series was produced and thanks to a co-operation agreement between the Czechoslovakia and Poland, joint production started. The OT-64 was introduced into both countries' armed forces in 1964.
Its characteristics included an all eight-wheel drive, two steerable front axles, a central tire-pressure regulation system. It was powered by a Tatra diesel engine with air cooling, which enables a speed of about 100 km/h on the road. The vehicle is fully armored, providing protection to the crew and the whole mechanized squad against small caliber projectiles and shell splinters. In addition, it was protected against NBC threats by an overpressure ventilation system.
The SKOT-2A is fitted with the BRDM-2 turret which was designed in late 1960s. The turret, on top of an elevating base, mounts a 14.5 mm KPV heavy machine gun and a 7.62 mm PKT coaxial light machine gun . Thus the number of soldiers transported in the troop compartment went down from 18 to 10.
The kit issued by Armo comprises 139 resin parts and around 80 photoetched parts. It comes in a sturdy cardboard box with the main resin parts protected with wrapping plastic film and the other parts coming in re-sealable bags. The photoetched parts made by Part come in a large sheet and a smaller one. No decals are included. The instructions consists in 3 sketches, each one on a separate A4 page, representing the 3 building steps. No part numbering is provided which will prove a bit tricky during the 100 under carriage parts assembly.
The pale yellow resin is easy to work with. The details are generally nice with a correct cast. However the upper hull suffered from a broken mold hence some ugly lines on the top of its sides. Most of the under carriage parts present some flash that needs extra work.
The build begins with sorting out the various resin parts. A thorough study of the instructions is necessary to figure out the differences between some parts really close one to each other mainly concerning the under carriage.
The lower hull
Then, I started by joining both hull halves. I first had to put the upper hull in warm water to give it its normal shape back. Once done, I focused my attention on the under carriage. I decided to build each axle as a separate assembly. Take care to glue the inner part of the axle shaft before gluing the large bracket that holds the suspension arms otherwise this will be impossible later.
Then I dry fitted the front ones without gluing the transmission shafts. It was the good solution as no positioning slots or equivalent helps giving the parts the right angle. When I was happy I glued the front axles definitively and went to the rear ones. The process was quite similar but you have to take into account the waterjets shafts and transmission box.
To get the 8 wheels brackets aligned I had to cheat a little bit with the suspension arms angles. I finished by adding the steering rods using plastic rods as the resin parts were useless being either too short or totally warped.
Before going to the upper hull, I added the waterjets protections. Getting them in the proper shape was challenging as Armo give no template at all. This is a pure guess game!
The upper hull
The number of parts is quite low as compared with the under carriage but the devil hides elsewhere. In fact, there were a lot of fit issues. The troop compartment large hatches, the driver and commander hatches, the side doors needed to be adjusted in some way. This was not difficult but the extra work was tedious. The splash board was the next problem to deal with. The board swings thanks to two arms on each side. Unfortunately, one attachment point is missing on the lower hull and one on the splash board is misplaced. The first thing is to make the hull one with a bit of plastic rod glued at the end of the rod that runs along the hull front. The second one first needs to add a triangle shaped part to the top of the board sides. This part extends the board downward with an angle. Then you add the bit of plastic rod as for the hull one.
Now it only remains to fit the various tools and their PE latches. Take note that the instructions show wrong locations and quantities for the shovels and pickaxes. It is useful to find some pictures over the internet (see references below).
The turret is the easy part. Some resin tie-downs were damaged so I made new ones from thin metal wire. The PE part fits perfectly and you just have to ensure a correct parallel position of the both MG guns.
The rear of the vehicle
This is the last
step which concerns 9 parts only! The large doors needed some sanding as there
were too large. One hinge out of the three needed to be thinned too. The build
ended in attaching the rear lights protection. Once again, you have to guess the
correct shape especially for the rounded upper ones.
I ended by making the door handles that Armo omitted.
I started with a base coat of Tamiya Field grey. When dry I sprayed some hairspray as I wanted to try this technique. Then I sprayed a coat of Tamiya NATO green. After having given a light worn look to the vehicle, I applied a wash of black oil that was maybe overdone. Then I used the oil dots technique to break the monotone effect of a single color. I used lighter shades on the roof than on the vehicle sides.
I sprayed a coat of gloss varnish to put the decals coming from an old Dragon reference.
Then I applied the mud over the lower part of the chassis. The mud is a mix of ochre, raw sienna and Van Dyck brown pigments with some Tamiya thinner. When dry, I finally put the wheels which got the same mud treatment on both faces.
The last step was to spray some well-diluted mud all over the vehicle with the airbrush. Before it dried, I brushed some thinner from the top to the bottom of the vertical surfaces to create some stain effect.
This kit represents an original but not fully accurate model. In fact, Armo made mistakes in the shape and size of some parts, more particularly on the roof area. The instructions are very complex and are lacking of explanations which grades this model out of a beginner's skills.