Today Lee takes a look at the Armies Army BTR-60 wheeled APC
Armies Army recently sent us some kit for review and I found an East German BTR motor rifle platoon to review. I’ll pick up in the Infantry in a separate article but today we’ll look at the BTR-60.
(Note, its not mentioned in the book, but the BTR-60 is likely the PB version with the enclosed roof, improved turret and NBC system)
The BTR60 was the main wheeled APC of the Warsaw Pact army of the 1960-80s. Cheaper to own and operate than a BMP, it made up the backbone of the motorised rifle regiments with a transport that could provide up to 12 passengers better protection – including NBC – than a softskin truck, whilst having some measure of mobility over broken terrain. Like most soviet non-tank units it was also amphibious – useful when all the bridges are down.
Needless to say having the hatches up somewhat limits the traverse of the turret – but does double as spaced armour – maybe
The BTR60 was provided with a turret based on the BRDM’s (i.e. the gunner has no way of getting out of the top) mounting 14.7mm machine gun with a coaxial 7.62mm for good measure.
The BTR60 mounted the power pack at the back so that the passengers were denied a rear hatch – instead having to make use of a pair of roof hatches or small hatches (not even full height) in the side. On the bright side, the intention was not to dismount under fire, but some way away from the objective. But the enemy can be so damned inconvenient sometimes…
When your APC photobombs your group photo
All in all, the BTR-60 was a fairly typical mid-cold war wheeled APC with a few quirks. It equipped most the Warsaw pact with a few localised variants adding flavour. It was replaced by the BTR-70 and -80 models that improved the armour and armament but largely stayed in the same configuration – including the lack of a rear hatch.
Romanians wonder when they get to be in the game…
The Armies Army vehicles are resin/metal hybrids as most gamers will be familiar with. The hull is made of resin is the lighter, more plastic-y type resin that Skytrex also seems to use. There’s no obvious impact to this compared to the denser stuff that Battlefront use, for example, though it does seem to give a smoother finish, to no noticeable impact on paint adherence.
ArmiesArmy have also adopted CAD sculpting/3D printed master model from the inception of the cold war range which, IMHO, is a big advantage in making vehicles as it helps give hard edges, straight lined tank models compared to the tried and tested traditional hand sculpted master model.
Part count is low as one would expect for a resin/metal kit. Not shown is a small selection of tarp rolls, rucksacks and Jerry cans that also came with the model.
This becomes evident on the BTR-60 which, whilst not the most visually exciting vehicle in the world in real life, does at least have most of its featured capture with good fidelity such as the engine intakes, exhausts, firing ports, a tow rope, grab handles and the propeller cover at the rear. I’d say its rear is probably the nicest part of the model as even features like the driving lights are captured well.
Rear looks very good – probably the best detailed part of the model.
Also provided is the option to have the driver unbuttoned (the commander hatch is pre-moulded closed) and the windscreen covers up or down. Whilst I’d probably have all those closed to reflect a front line condition most of the time (and to survive the tender mercies of a figure case…) its nice to have the option to mark out a Company or battalion HQ or for use as an objective.
The only complaint I could draw is that some fine detail I’d expect, based on what is there already, is missing – the commander search light is absent (though there is a circular patch in front of the hatch that may be meant to mark where it should be) and most of the hatches lack any visible handles or the flanges around the edges that would give some visual interest. It’s small beans but slightly inexplicable given it gets everything else right. There’s also no external tools but an image search seems to be variable about what tools should be on the BTR-60. We do get some stowage to adorn the outside of the BTR with, which is nice and helps variety.
Construction was straight forward. The parts required minimal clean up – with 8 wheels an APC this was very welcome!
The metal turret has only the 14.7 to insert to complete.
The Hull has two metal plates that are fitted to the lower hull that provides the axles for the wheels – I presume this is to give a more durable mounting for the wheels than a brittle resin axle. The plates needed a little bit of flattening to get them to sit flat on the hull but it wasn’t especially onerous as a task. I did find that the wheels were loose on the axle and that the axle didn’t go very deep into the wheel. I’m slightly worried about how well the wheel’s will stay on when subjected to transport in a figure case or being pushed around the table.
Multi-wheeled APC – good for cross country wheeled performance but bad for model constructors patience…
The Driver’s hatch slotted in simply enough, but I did note that it ends up looking smaller and flusher than the already closed commander’s hatch. The Windshield covers were a little fiddly as they seem bigger than the recesses for the windshield and it wasn’t immediacy apparent if there were meant to fit in (they do, partly at least. They are the right width to sit recessed, but too long). I decided that they were meant to sit over them and left to at that and in the end it wasn’t especially noticeable.
Driver’s lights and vision blocks are all present. I found the front a bit bland compared to the rear but that is mostly a function of the real life example and not a fault of the model.
Construction and cleaning was all done in the space of a few minutes, despite the hatch and wheel fiddliness, which some will see as an advantage over a plastic kit.
Detail is generally good though the hatch are a little underwhelming in detail (no flanges around the hatches).
I presume that the octagon in front of the commander hatch is meant to be the commander searchlight, folded down.
Grab handles have a nice depth and good to see a tow rope present! As with the top, the hatches seem a little too flat and under detailed.
I was really impressed with how cleanly moulded the wheels were too.
All in all, a few niggles aside, its a nice kit that goes together relatively smoothly and quickly although with a few question marks on how well the wheels will hold up to use.
In the Game
The BTR60 is very much a bare bones transport option – it has just enough armour to give it a fighting chance versus small and artillery fire but anything bigger than a .50 will slice it up. Its own armament is a threat versus exposed infantry, soft skins and <2 armour but will be bounced more often than not by anything with better. It can, of course, sit back outside of unguided rocket range and put fire down to suppress ahead of an assault by its infantry which is of some use.
(its the plastic BF offering in the picture but you get the idea)
The BTR60 equipped platoons are substantially cheaper than a BMP-2 equivalent (by about 9pts), making them useful as a cheap, numerous objective holder or town clearer for, say, a Soviet or East German tank force. The only problem is, a BMP-1 company is only 4pts more than its BTR equivalent and gives more bang for the buck, Of course, as any Warsaw Pact player will know, 4pts can go a long way… If you really need that pair of Gecko then saving some points on that infantry force may be something to consider.
As always, ArmiesArmy offers a variety of packages to allow one to kit out with BTR-60. Firstly, the individual model retails for £6.50 and it can also be bought as a platoon (3 for £18) or company* (10 for £60), both reducing the cost per figure by 50p. Additional, and as supplied for review, it can be purchased with the attendant infantry East German infantry for even more of saving. Hopefully a Soviet equivilent deal will be forthcoming.
(*I’d argue its 1-2 BTR short as the PKM rides in the eleventh BTR and the ATGW section in the twelfth…)
In comparison to the competition, the Armies Army offering is pretty competitive, especially if ordered in platoon or company strength where the £6 per APC cost equals the BF plastic kit (pre-typical online discount -also need to factor in decals and unit card for TY), equals Skytrex (£6 on basis of 4 for £24) and beats out QRF (£6.50 an APC, no bulk discount).
All in all, if you want a BTR-60 model that goes together with relatively little fuss, at a competitive price then the Armies Army example is definitely worth your consideration.