MT-LB6MA M1999
Ref : SP Designs #048
Miniarm #B35011 MTLB & 2S1 wheel and  track set

The MT-LB is in service since 1964 and has derived many variants from then. In 1999, a modernization program comprising a new engine, a new transmission and a more powerful armament led to the MT-LB6MA (with BTR-80 turret) and MT-LB6MB (with BTR-80A turret). Both versions have more a reconnaissance role than a IFV one.

The SP Designs resin kit is no more available. It comprises about 80 parts in a pale yellow resin easy to work with. The detail and cast levels are mean especially concerning the tracks. On my model, large holes on the roof and the lower hull were filled. Moreover, both hull halves were heavily warped.
The instructions come in two A4 sheets. The first one shows the parts, presents the handrails templates and one camouflage scheme. The second one presents the building operations and two black and white quite useless pictures.

The building starts with the part preparation. The hull halves are reshaped with a heat gun before being glued. A thorough sanding of the contact surfaces is required especially to install the front "wings".
Then, with some plastic card, we need to fill the gap between the lower hull and the rear plate. When this is done, the hardest part is over! It only remains to glue the various accessories.

The running gear requires to drill some positioning holes for the suspension arms. We need to take care of the proper alignment of the 6 arms. The sprockets and idlers are not fixed. Miniarm wheels replace SP ones even if these are correct compared to the Skif ones. SP "length type" tracks are replaced by Miniarm individual links ones. The latter are superb with a high level of detail. However, the assembly in force of the tiny pins is a real nightmare. Numerous links have to be glued with CA.

The numerous handgrips are made of brass wire. All the positioning holes are drilled further. The headlights protection grilles are done with brass wire too. For this, you need the help of pictures since SP do not give any instruction. The headlights supports are thinned. All the formation lights are drilled and then filled  with white glue.
The towing cables are made of twisted electric wire. The towing eyes are issued by SP but the end near the cable must be shortened. The brackets on the vehicle are in PE fret.
At the back, the swimming deflectors are detailed. Some fins are removed and replaced by thinner ones made from plastic card. The missing holes on the internal faces are drilled out.

The turret is detailed with 3 lifting eyes. The MG base is sanded to lower the elevation. The coax MG is not issued. The issued searchlight brackets are in plastic strip. This one could be replaced by some PE fret to stiffen it.

The decoration is a 3- green tone scheme. The base coat is XF-67 NATO green, the dark patches are XF-61 Dark green and the light ones are a mix of light sand and XF-67. The tracks are painted XF-69 NATO black then get various brown and sand washes before being rubbed with graphite powder.