Ref: Dragon#3508
AEF#KT111 &KT112
Armour Tracks Model#TK-01

The BMP-2 is an infantry combat vehicle variant of the BMP-1 that incorporates a major armament change. It has an enlarged two-man turret which mounts a 30-mm automatic gun, model 2A42, with a long, thin tube and a double-baffle muzzle brake, along with a 7.62-mm coaxial machine gun. On top of the turret is an ATGM launcher that can fire either AT-4 SPIGOT (FAGOT) or AT-5 SPANDREL (KONKURS) missiles the latter being the standard ammunition.

The vehicle commander now sits in the two-man turret, along with the gunner. Because of the enlarged turret, there is room for only two roof hatches in the rear fighting compartment, rather than the four of the BMP-1. The BMP-2 can accommodate one less passenger than the BMP-1; there also is one less firing port for an assault rifle on each side. However, a new machine-gun-type firing port on the left side of the hull, forward of the turret, indicates that an infantryman now occupies the BMP-1 vehicle commander's position.

To the turret rear is the infantry compartment which has only two roof hatches compared to the BMP-1's four. It carries six infantrymen. In either side of the rear troop compartment are three firing ports.

The BMP-2 is fully amphibious and has a NBC system.

The -D version entered service during the Afghan war due to the shortcomings of the vehicle in terms of protection. It has applique armor plates bolted to the sides of the hull and rear of the turret and newly designed side skirts better covering the running gear. It can also be fitted with a mine clearing plow.

The kits

As I wanted to build a kit with an interior I decided to go with AEF offering #KT111. In addition, as many are aware of, the Dragon kit main flaw is the misalignment of the troop compartment roof hatches. For this, you get at least three options : making some surgery work on your Dragon kit or using one of the two aftermarket correct upper hull (AEF or SP Designs). Here again, I decided to go with AEF set.

The Dragon kit (misnamed BMP-2E) comes in a cardboard box with the 6 sprues and the lower hull of the original BMP-2 kit (#3504) plus two supplemental sprues for the up-armored version. To put it in a nutshell, Dragon obviously missed first hand data (despite the co-operation of Mr. Zaloga) to create the master and accuracy is far from being the main quality of this kit. So you'll need a good documentation to start this model if accuracy is important for you. The web will help and I also used the Kagero book.
The details are a bit heavy or oversimplified. Dragon provide us with moveable hatches which was useless at the release date as no interior is provided and no aftermarket sets were available.
A lot of injection marks are badly placed and need some work to be filled. The injection seams require a thorough sanding. The fit is generally correct.

The instructions are divided in two booklets, the original kit one plus a new one covering the -D version. You must read the latter before starting the build as some parts of the standard are to be left apart. The instructions are clear enough even if sometimes there is a confusion between symmetric part numbers.

The decals enable two decorations but one only is correct for a -D version.

Concerning the AEF kits, I have already covered their description in reviews here and will comment when needed during the build part.

The build

The lower hull

AEF provide a complete lower hull with belly and interior details and correct angled sides. Unfortunately, the resin was totally wrinkled and the part was useless. So I kept it as a template to modify Dragon hull. The tricky part of this stage was to cut the troop compartment sides and glue new ones at an angle. Then I sanded the AEF floor until only the torsion bars remained.
Once the hull is prepared, then you just have to glue the engine compartment walls as well as the central fuel tank. The rest of the details are added thanks to pictures I got in the reference book or on the Internet.

The driver compartment is simplified by AEF as you only get a dashboard which wrong, a steering device and a driver seat. The dashboard has been redone with a bit of plastic card and the steering column with its levers has been made with various plastic rods and the help of drawings from the WWP book about the BMP-1.

The rear doors are AEF ones but their interior is detailed. They also get the fuel hose at their bottom.

At this stage I added the running gear. Dragon sprockets are wrong as they have 6 "legs" instead of 5 normally. You cannot do anything at it except using aftermarket sprockets. Armour Tracks Models BMP track set provides you with resin correctly shaped sprockets as well as roadwheels and idlers. The problem is the sprockets are too large. To fit them, you'll have to cut two teeth at the top of the inner ring. This being fixed, you have to move the first shock absorber which is not properly angled.

The track links are of the individual type with separate side connectors. The shape is right but the pattern of the links is not the mostly seen on the pictures I referred to. The ATM instructions tell you to assemble 76 links per side. 72 or 73 are enough in fact.

The upper hull

The upper hull build is divided in two steps : the interior and the exterior. As many errors are still present on the exterior of the AEF so-called correct upper hull, I started by modifying the location of ill-placed details, to name a few: the vision blocks, some air intakes. I also filled the panel lines of the NBC system compartment and the access hatch near the driver. Once done, I engraved new panel lines to give them the right shape or location. Finally I took from the Dragon hull the air intake and the fuel tank cover behind the turret that AEF omitted too.
Inside the hull, I glued the various vision ports but before doing that I had to sand the AEF part inner side to get it thin enough and parallel to the outer side !
I also added the firing ports. Concerning the MG port behind the driver, be careful to place it accordingly with pictures and not to Dragon add-on armor plate which is wrong. The port cover is cut in Dragon upper hull as AEF omitted it.
Then you can add some wires, tubes and hoses as visible on pictures. I got an official BMP-2 manual that helped a lot in that step.

It's time to close the box ! Once again, it is not a piece of cake. AEF upper hull is a little warped and too short by 2mm. After struggling to get both halves aligned and glued, I filled all the gaps with plastic card or putty. Then I started to add the lights, hooks and other details according to Dragon instructions. Each time, I tried to detail a little bit more the kit parts.

So I modified and detailed the headlights guards. I added a kind of connection box behind the lights as well as the power cable. I added the securing device to the towing hooks.
The exhaust was detailed too. At first, I erased the molded ribs and only kept the central one. I covered the exhaust with a bit of Aber mesh.
The tools latches were detailed. The spade should be changed as it is not of a Soviet type. It must be more square and the handle longer.

Now you can go to the add-on armor. Dragon give the side skirts, the hull armor plates and the rear turret armor. There again a lot of work is necessary to get a faithful rendition of the original armor added to make a BMP-2D.
First of all, you need to cut all the hinges of the side skirts. The front ones are just cut and lowered. The rear ones are wrong and must be redone with styrene strips and rods.
The front part with the bolt heads is cut away as it is not like the real one. It is made from plastic card according to pictures. Don't forget to add to the hull the welded attachment points on which those parts are bolted.
The hull add-on armor plates have numerous bolt heads of which very few are correctly placed and thus they all are sanded away. The replacement bolt heads are placed over a kind of roundel made from a bit of sprue.
In the same way, the attachment points that are molded on the inner face are removed and then relocated.
As Dragon misplaced the MG port on the left side, a new armor plate must be made from plastic card using the kit one as a template.
All the plates get two vertical weld seams.

The turret

The interior

AEF interior comes with many parts but the instructions doesn't help locating them. Once again, if you do not have enough pictures, it will quite impossible to use the set.
I started by the turret floor. I made the 30mm ammunition box all around the floor with thin plastic card. Then only I used AEF seats but I replaced the supports which where too large and at the wrong place. I relocated the kind of box under the commander seat. The 7.62mm MG ammunition box between the two seats has been thinned and heightened. The control panel at the bottom has been slightly thinned too.
Then I added some details omitted by AEF: the stowed AT missile, the fire extinguisher and a kind of rectangular shaped electronic device.

The upper turret and turret ring also needed a long study of pictures as the instructions were not accurate at all. The commander sight is wrong and need to be cut to fit the turret roof. The gun breech is pure fantasy when compared with the real one. A new one is made from it. The co-ax MG cradle is added as well as the gunner controls. AEF only provide the commander ones. I ended with a scratchbuilt AT missile control system. To be honest, it is not perfectly accurate.
Some boxes are added too before the upper turret and the floor are linked.

The exterior

At first, you must fill the smoke dischargers locating holes as they are not at the right place. In the same way, the holes for the hatches hinges are filled.
On the gunner side, the vision blocks are moved forward as well as the whole hatch. The sight is detailed with its armored shutter. The small searchlight is moved rearward.
On the commander side, the kit sight is replaced by one of a more common type which is made with plastic card. The little sight in front of the cupola gets its cover. The searchlight bracket is thinned and improved.
The smoke dischargers brackets and their wiring are made from scratch. The tubes are those of the kit.
The turret rear armor is modified. The rods which represent the brackets are removed and replaced by brackets made from thin plastic card. The bolt heads are replaced.
The right antenna support is enlarged, the left one is omitted and its locating hole filled. The antenna base comes from the Armo range.
The cannon mantlet is detailed with a bolted retaining strip. The IR light bracket is thinned and detailed. The power cable is added. The muzzle brake is drilled out as well as the co-ax MG one.
The AT5 missile comes from the Zvezda BMD-2 kit.

The painting

The base color is Tamiya XF26 Deep Green over which is sprayed the sand grey camouflage. This one is made with XF14 JA Grey.
The various hatches and doors are glued in place only at this stage before starting the weathering.
The usual filters of sienna and umber are brushed over the model and the light dusty look is made with sienna pastel chalks.

Internet References :