Battlefront 1:100 FV432 Review

Today, Lee looks at the latest Battlefront ‘Iron Maiden’ release; the FV432 APC and variants


The British Army of “Iron Maiden” really emphasises Infantry as its core and the Mechanised Infantry is very much at the centre of that.  That means we need plenty of FV432!  This workhorse of the British army fills the “plastic APC” part of the Iron Maiden release whilst also ticking off some other important boxes such as ATGW and Mortar unit too.

Given its so important to the army; is the the kit a crown jewel?  Or does it come up, ahem, short?  Find out!


The FV432 was the APC member of the FV430 family of tracked vehicles which also included the Abbot SP Gun.  It was designed in the late 1950’s and takes the standard APC template of a box with the driver and engine on opposite sides at the front, the passengers in a large(ish) compartment at the back with a large top hatch (circular to facilitate a mortar carrier version) and a large rear hatch.  So far, so standard.  The FV432 utilised three different engines; initially a petrol power pack, then a Rolls Royce multi-fuel opposed piston engine for the Mk.2 before finally going to a conventional diesel power pack for the Mk.3.


Being a true APC, rather than a fighting vehicle, the FV432 featured steel armour sufficient to protect against artillery and bomb shrapnel, and a pintle mounted GPMG for local AA defence.  The FV432 also had a simple paper filter based NPC pack incorporated into its right side.  This was initially mounted external to the side place and them mounted flush on later versions.


Note, given the exhaust pack seems to be on the right hand side – I suspect this photo has been revsersed!

The FV432 was satisfactory but relatively expensive so fared poorly on the export market compared to the likes of the M113.  The FV432 was used throughout the British Army, both as an APC but also as the basis for mortar carriers, Swingfire ATGW launchers and OP vehicles.


The FV432 still soldiers on in the British Army with the up armoured “Bulldog” version of the Mk.3 still providing adequate service for roles that don’t require the more modern Warrior IFV.

The Model

So, in the box we get five sprue of FV432 goodness; unit cards for the transport, observer, mortar and Swingfire; decals and three resin figure spruse – the standard British commander sprue plus one of mortar loader and gunner’s. There is only one pose for the gunner, one the for loader. They look good but some variety would have been nice.


Still, at least it gets a full compliment, unlike the M113…

The sprues contain parts for the swingfire and mortar variants so there is no room for stowage.  Interestingly we get separate open and closed options for the circular hatch, driven by the way the hatch folds in on itself when opened.


Major hull components – not integral tracks

The assembly is a little fiddly compared to, say, the M113.  This is really down to the side parts (with integral tracks) which get glued on first but seemed slightly splayed.


You certainly need to get the back and front on quick to get everything set right and I found I needed to do a little squeezing and prodding of the five bits all together to get it all squared away, although there is a generous locating groove for the front and back plates.  None of this is a huge issue but its not as satisfying as the previous APC.


An empty shell


Once these five bits are glued together, things get easier.  The top plate just drops into place for the most part, as does the commander’s cupola (with open and closed versions).  The side skirts can be added if desired but most FV432 seem to be absent of them,  I found gluing the mortar in before securing the top plate made life easier.


Open-top version not a great idea in an artillery fight


Fitted out with hatches

The mortar barrel is a little chunky in my opinion, probably;y driven by tooling needs, but is otherwise serviceable and looks correct for the FV432 isntallation.


The GPMG (two are supplied on the sprue per kit) are far better than the ones that came with the Chieftain.


Side by side, and the size difference was apparent – the Chieftain’s one look like a .50 cal in comparison!


Chieftain GPMG at top.

Sadly, there is no PEAK enclosed turret included.  This was a GPMG armed turret that was fitted over the top hatch on some FV432 APC.  I imagine this is because there was no space and it serves little benefit in the TY rules.  But it was a fairly common feature so it’s a shame to not have it.

The Swingfire version is slightly more involved, due to its  launcher turret.  The turret (which is more of a fixed superstructure than a true moving turret) is a single piece to which the extending sight, elevated launcher and bull horn structure (is it an antenna?) are added.  The turret then secures into the hatch rung on the cut outs also used for the hatches on the other versions.


Swing into action!

All in all, the panel detail of the kit is very good, with major features captured well – the smoke dispensers are a big improvement over the Chieftain!  The only real detail downer was the absence of an open rear hatch option but this is only really  handy for objective making.


The FV432 always had an odd exhaust set-up and the model captures it in all its glory!


Lifting eyelets and smoke launchers are nicely detailed.  The vision blocks on the commander cupola slightly less so.  Its this angle that, if you know the vehicle, generally shows the height issue off.


The external NBC pack is present


The presence of the extinguishers on the door is a nice touch – its just a shame you can’t open it!


Engine deck, tools and filler caps all present – no complaints on detail there.

There is one larger, or more accurately, smaller issue.  Whilst looking at photos of the FV432 ahead of release I occasionally thought something was…off.  I put it down to the book models (3D printed prototypes) missing the exhausts but building my own kits left me feeling the same way.  The APC looked a little, squished.  Now the FV432 is a little stouter than, say an M113, but this felt more than that.

“Smee” on the forums was the one who pointed it out; the APC is very slightly too small.  With the combined efforts of the BF forum it was determined it should be 1.85m high, or 18.5mm in height on a 1:100 model.  Its actually about 17mm.  It’s a small deviation but, if you are familiar with the Fv432, its just enough to niggle away at you.  Alongside an M113 – which the FV432 should match in height more or less – the difference is more obvious.


(Thanks to the Aussies for posing the two types together!)


Little and large!

Battlefront have noted that the FV432 is a little under height and the M113 a little over so the two alongside makes it look worse.  Thankfully (save the Exactor missile system) the UK has never used the M113 so the two shouldn’t be alongside that often.  This issue is really one of those “ignorance is bliss” situations.

Ultimately, I had no great emotional investment on the APC so the height doesn’t bug me that much compared to the quality of the component detail – which is high.  But I know a few people feel much stronger on this and it does slightly mar an otherwise good kit.

In the Game

The FV432 as an APC is somewhat underwhelming but reflects the British doctrine well.  with thin armour and a 7.62mm pop gun, this thing is purely around to cart the Infantry around. If you are on a static defence then it can stay at home.  it’s not going to hunt BMP and it’s unlikely to survive long enough to be much of an assistance to dug in infantry.

It’s the variants of the FV432 that are worth more attention.

The mortar carrier, with the excellent L16 81mm mortar packs more punch than one would expect of a medium mortar.  Compared to the American M106 107mm mortar, the L16 out ranges it whilst matching it in firepower and being a good deal cheaper; You pay less for 8 L16 than 6 M106!  As a smoke deployer alone, the FV432/L16 combo is well worth packing a 4 gun unit for.

The Swingfire provides a long range  anti-tank punch to an armoured squadron. The 120mm Chieftain doesn’t especially need help but the Swingfire is relatively cheap at 2pts a launcher and provides an AT23 punch out to 48″. The Swingfire also has Thermal Vision; a rare luxury in the 1985 British Army.  The FV432 low armour is a liability but one that can be mitigated by using its range to its best ability.  The “Swingfire” rule also provides a boost in survivability.

The Damage

At £30 for five at RRP, the FV-432 comes in about the middle of the price bracket (QRF at £5.50, Sktrex at £6.50 – both white metal), matching the resin ArmiesArmy version price before online discount is considered.  Whilst the level of detail most likely beats the two white metal offerings (insert normal bitching about photo quality here), it’ll be interesting to see how it compares versus the resin ArmiesArmy model.  With no great price differentiator, the argument for the plastic kit centres around the fact it packs in add-ons like commanders and (middling) decals – plus any detail advantages it may have (offset by the slightly compressed height!).

Sadly I don’t have an ArmiesArmy FV432 to compare and I’m loathe to trust a 3D rendering.  This may have to be answered at a later date in the comments section.


The FV432 is a good, detailed, kit that provides plenty of options but the missing height may put some off.  I imagine that it will easily be the most detailed 1:100 FV432 kit on the market but that does lose some lustre when a major dimension is off, even by a relatively small degree.

If you can get past that, then the kit has a lot going for it.

10 thoughts on “Battlefront 1:100 FV432 Review

  1. Another great IM article, thanks Lee. I’ve built my first 5 and like you, was worried about the way the tracks seem to be at angles at first, but I like how they look. What review is up next? When it’s payday, I’ll be ordering some infantry, Harriers and maybe some Abbots. Would be interested in your take on them, particularly as I’m new to BF stuff and they would be my first resin and metal kits from them.

    1. Cheers!

      Infantry next seeming as I have them sitting on the shelf. I think Tracked Rapier is due soon too.

      Annoyingly someone seems to have dropped the ball on MILAN stocking as the distributor has ran out with Brighton not getting any! It’s only the most important bit of a British infantry force!

  2. I have built and painted five 432. They paint up well. The markings are frustrating with a lack of rear number plates even though the number plate is sculpted onto the rear door (the vertical rectangle in the middle of the door)!
    The infantry models are nice. I have a platoon painted including a Milan section. I look forward to your review.
    Overall yours is a great review. Thanks.

    1. Cheers! Lack of bridge markings and rear plates was very odd on the decals. Especially when the West German ones were so good.

  3. Great review as always, thanks!

    Re the height issue, whilst Smee certainly raised the issue first, it took several of us to get to the nub of the problem, since most sources, including all on the web, give the height to the top of the MG rather than true hull height. It was good old Terry Gander’s 1985 British Army encyclopaedia which gave the true hull height, so from there we worked out the model was 1.5mil too short…Close enought for government work!

    1. Indeed! I have rewordered that bit to spread the credit.

      I think how much of an issue it is will vary by person to person. I tend towards “close enough – it otherwise looks very good” but some – especially if they spend time in the back of one – do appear to struggle to get past it.

      Thanks for the feedback as always!

  4. I assumed that the “bullhorn structure” was a wire guide for when the wire guided missile swung.

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