Rescuing the Zvezda BA-10

First off let me say, there is a good chance this post will never see the light of day, so if you’re reading this then a small miracle has occurred.

Back in my Mixed Tankovy days, I ran 5 BA10s.  As a unit they were awesome, I had to learn to use them as recce, so only shooting if they relatively safe and I didn’t need to remove gtg.  However, there were times, when their AT7 was lethal and I had been able to advance them deep into enemy territory thanks to cautious movement.  These guys are fantastic flankers, they’re fast and don’t suffer Hen and Chicks, combine that with a pre-game recce move and you can find yourself thinking “damn, wish I had more of these fellas!”

Enter mixed tankovy 2.0.  I’m starting with the maximum BA10s I can take.  That’s 1 platoon of 5 and 1 platoon of 10.  Unfortunately I’m not made of money, battlefront sell these in blisters of 1, so that’s getting on for £100…not tempting.  Skytrex also make BA10s and the model looks lovely, but again I’m not parting with £7 per model.  So that brought me back to the Zvezda offering and what is possibly the worst model I have ever made…24 parts that send shivers down the spine.  If you haven’t experienced it it’s hideous.  When I sold Mixed Tankovy 1.0, I only charged the same as they had cost me, I was that embarrassed of the model.

So, what the hell am I doing with 15 fresh boxes of them?

My plan is to rescue these terrible models, taking what I learned from my first attempt and a very useful article I read, which I can’t find right now (edit: found it  Wish me luck…i’m going to need it.

So before I get into the how’s and what not, here’s a built model.  Remember you are seeing this larger than life…  I don’t know about you but I’m already much happier than my first attempt all those moons ago.

Lol, front wheels are on backwards…I fix this, see bottom post

Step 1
If you’ve built this model, or know anyone who has, then you’ll know the headlights are a nightmare…let’s fix that first off.

While still on the sprue take your smallest pin vice bit and drill the holes out in the hull and mudguards.  Please take your time, don’t rush…the mud guards are too easy to bend and the holes in the hull are very close to the edge, so take it easy.



Now you can start following the real instructions.  So clip off the parts 3,4 and 5 and clean em up.

Step 2
Absolutely key to this model, is to realise you MUST NOT push the two sides all the way on…aim for the minimum on.

From the Top


Go ahead and put (not glue) the spare wheels on, that’s part 17…which are really badly placed on the sprue :{)

[edit: On second thoughts, you could leave the spare wheels till the end, or even after painting…I’m going to take them all off for the painting step.]

Step 3
Time to get the underside on.  Why oh why are these attached to the sprue like this?  There’s 3 contact points on the front.  Be very careful you don’t bend the mudguards when you are cleaning up the front, it’s easy to do, so watch where you put your thumb.

Use the frame and place it on…you should be pleased that you hadn’t pushed the two sides together.

Step 4
Now the roof, clip em off, clean em up and …

…stick em together.  Yes, these are snap together, but use some glue and use a lot of pressure when you hold them.

If you use plastic weld like I do, then run some along the sides.

Plastic Weld, if you don’t own some, stop reading and order some…it’s amazing. (Another nod to Dirty Jon for the original tip)

Step 5
This is the step that makes the model.  Again use the frame and place the top on…you should have something like this.

Start at the back, get that nailed and looking nice.  If you disobeyed and didn’t buy some plastic weld…good luck!  Lots of downward pressure is needed here and is fairly easy to achieve.

and done

 Now attack the very front

this is harder to achieve, you need to apply sideways pressure and downwards pressure at the same time.  It can get messy, but plastic weld is easy to clean up.  Focus on the edge near the bottom, that’ll be your guide.

I couldn’t explain this in words, so hit the edge where my brush is.  This can be tough as you need to apply diagonally opposing pressure.  Use your best spot squeezing motion (find a teenager to practice on).  It’s real hard to not bend the machine gun.  I took the spare wheels off to help.

Now the top, this should be very easy.

Step 6
Nice and easy, turret on.

 Step 7
Now the rear wheels.
Clip off the main rear axle, there is a bit of sprue in the middle so clip that out.
The suspension bit, shown here on the right, you can leave on the sprue…you don’t want or need it.  Leave it alone.

Axle on, suspension bit bent up to reinforce my meaning.

Clip off the 4 wheels part 14…no more.  Put them on the axle so the hub of the wheel points inwards.

Clip off 4 wheels part 15 and put them on the axle.  I seem to remember this being a PITA first time round, but this seems easy now.  Probably because I didn’t bother with the stupid suspension, which at this scale is ridiculous.

Step 8
Front axle and wheels
Okay, this is the 2nd worst bit of the model, but we’re going to fix that.
With the axle, clip off the two pegs that are intended to go into the hull.  Clip em off, you can’t use them…please don’t try.

Pegs removed and obligatory bend in the axle.

Putting the wheels on is tough.  Once on they’re not coming off.  Use your nails to support the circle (brake pad??) and place the wheel on.  Pay attention to which way these go on, which is hub point inwards.

Place the axle on the hull, with very gentle pressure.  Then use a pin vice to apply pressure on the flat bit.

Now, align the wheels as best you can whilst looking from the front

Glue the axle in place.  If it looks wonky from this angle, don’t worry.  As long as they look straight from the front is all that matters.

Step 8
Clip the lights off, place them face down to clean the sprue off.  Place one in your super sized holes.  This is a bit fiddly even with our massive holes, imagine how impossible this was with the original holes.

A dab of glue and a bit of realigning with a small tool (I use my pin vice) and boom…easy life.

Here’s the end product, with wheels on the right way.  I’ve a bit of cleaning up to do, but overall i’m happy with the end product.

I really hope this helps someone, I’ll show off painting them in another post.  For now I’ve another 13 to build and a Great War German Infantry platoon to finish off.

Take her easy


6 thoughts on “Rescuing the Zvezda BA-10

  1. For me, assembly of these was entertaining. But I like difficult kits, and hate painting, so… 😉

    My only trick was to lightly ream out the headlight holes on the hood and fenders with a No.11 blade. That and the plastic weld. Seriously go get some!

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