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BA-3 Armoured Car

Improving the Eastern Express Kit

n Model by Dennis Andersson
Text and images by Martin Waligorski

During the 1930s, Soviet Union experimented with different types of armoured vehicles to increase the mobility and offensive power of the army. Besides tanks, the Soviets developed an entire family of armoured cars. One of the was the BA-3. It was developed at the Ishorskaja factory in 1934.

Rather than a genuinely new design, BA-3 was a marriage of an imported Ford AA chassis with a slightly improved armoured body of a BA-1 car. Field test of the prototype proved that it was significantly underpowered, lacking especially in off-road performance. This despite of the adoption of novel detachable tracks that could be installed over the rear pair of wheels to improve terrain mobility.

Despite these setbacks, main armament of 45mm 20K gun model 32/38 proved formidable (considering the size of the vehicle) due to adoption of no less than a complete T-26 tank turret, and this proved sufficient to warrant series production. After the initial series the car was further improved, most significantly through adoption of new GAZ-AAA chassis.

BA-3s were used operationally in the far east, Finland and Poland. A total of 180 were produced, quite a small number by Soviet standards.

The kit

The only available 1:35 kit of BA-3 armoured vehicle has been produced by Eastern Express of Russia. Like full-size vehicle, the kit is a hybrid. It's basis are the sprues for the chassis of GAZ-AAA originating from the earlier TOKO kit of this truck. Newer sprues added by Eastern Express add parts for the armoured superstructure and turret.

Construction comments

This model has been built by junior modeller Dennis Andersson.

Upon comparing the kit with the photos of preserved BA3 from a Russian museum, Dennis discovered that the surface detail of the kit was too simplified compared with the original vehicle. One of the most prominent features of the car's body were the formidable rivets that held together the entire superstructure.

Dennis detailed the superstructure with about 200-250 new rivets and about 50 bolts. ew weald seams wer also sculpted with Milliput.

The fit between components of the kit was sometimes quite troublesome, requiring a lot of filler  to smooth things out.

The Aber photoetched designed for this kit contained many useful things such as hinges, leather belts and fittings on the rear fenders. These items added a final touch to the model.

Additional images, click to enlarge



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