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Pz.Spwg. 202(r)

RPM 1/35 Pz.Spwg. 202(r) Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review March 2008 Manufacturer RPM
Subject Pz.Spwg. 202(r) Scale 1/35
Kit Number 35027 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Neat subject. Bonus diorama base in kit. Can be built with tired wheels or steel railroad type wheels. Complete engine provided Cons No part numbers on trees. No crew figures. Only one marking provided for railroad version. No clear parts. No dash board instruments. Instructions in Polish only
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $20.58 to $38.65 + postage

First Look

Pz.Spwg. 202(r)
Pz.Spwg. 202(r)
Pz.Spwg. 202(r)
Pz.Spwg. 202(r)

The BA-20 (Russian: Broneavtomobil 20) was an armored car developed in the Soviet Union in 1936 and used in the early stages of WWII. It was derived from the civilian GAZ-M1 car, which was itself a modified version of a Ford design. It was produced by the Nizhny Novgorod-based vehicle manufacturer GAZ. The BA-20 was produced at the Vykunskiy Factory.

The principal use of the BA-20 was as a scout vehicle. The BA-20’s tires were designed to be resistant to bullets and shrapnel by the simple expedient of filling them with spongy rubber. A variant, the BA-20ZhD, could travel on railway lines by replacing the normal wheels with flanged metal rail-type wheels (subject of this kit).

The vehicle was exported to the Spanish Republican side in the Spanish Civil War. However, the vast majority of BA-20’s that were built served with the Soviet Red Army. They first saw combat in the conflict with Japan in 1939 on the Khalkin Gol River in Mongolia. The BA-20 was used by the Red Army in the Soviet invasion of Poland, later in 1939, and in the Winter War against Finland in 1940. It was also used in the early stages of WWII in 1941. Production was ended that same year, with some 4,800 BA-20’s having been constructed by that time.

During the Winter War, Finland captured a number of BA-20 armored cars and put them into service. In common with most armored cars derived from cars, the BA-20 was largely road-bound. The lack of all-wheel drive, high ground pressure and low horsepower prevented it form moving cross-country except on very firm ground. The armor was too thin to stop anything other than fragments or small-arms fire, and the 7.62mm machine-gun was not adequate to penetrate other scout vehicles. The Red Army produced very few wheeled AFVs in WWII, but replaced the BA-20 with the BA-64B.

The BA-20 is often mistaken for the very similar FAI armored car. The main recognition feature is the flat roof of the BA-20. The FAI had two dome-shaped covers over the driver’s and co-driver’s stations. Early BA-20’s had the same vertical-sided turret as the FAI. Later models had a conical-shaped turret.

Germany captured a lot of the BA-20’s and also some BA-20ZhD types on railroad wheels. They marked them with the German cross and put them to work for their army. The German’s designated the vehicle, in their use, as the Pz.Spwg. 202(r) (subject of this kit).

RPM is a model company based in Warsaw Poland.

The kit comes in a tray and lid type box. The box art shows an ex-BA-20ZhD in captured German service (now called a Pz.Spwg. 202(r ) ). It is moving down tracks in a wooded area and firing it’s gun. There is snow on the ground. The vehicle is in overall Soviet green with a heavy over-painting of white wash that is beginning to wear off. There is only a large German cross on the turret sides for marking. A side panel says that the kit is suitable for ages 6 to adult, what the kit does and does not contain, in 3 languages (including English). Next to this is RPM’s address. The other side panel shows the full color boxarts for 5 other kits that RPM markets: a BA-20ZhD on tracks in Soviet Markings (kit same as this one, except box art and probably decals.

No kit no. given), a French Lorraine L37L tractor (no kit no. given), a Hitler Line diorama kit (no kit no. given), a Stalin Line diorama kit (no kit no. given) and a T-34/85 “Rudy” (also no kit no. given). It is strange that RPM did not give the kit numbers of these other offerings. They never bothered to give this kit a number on the box either. I found out what number it goes under by looking it up on some overseas model shop sites on the internet. Very strange of RPM.

Inside the box is a large unsealed cello bag that contains: 2 large dark green parts trees, 4 indentical chalk white parts trees and the decal sheet. The white trees and decal are in their own smaller sealed cello bag. There is a vacu-formed white plastic diorama base in the kit. It is molded with ruts and a shell crater embossed into it. Neat! The instructions complete the kit’s contents.

The instructions consist of 3 individual 8 ½” x 11 ¾” sheets, printed on both sides.

The first sheet begins with a black and white repeat of the boxart, next to a one paragraph history of the Pz.Spwg. 202(r ) in Polish only. Below this are the parts tree drawings and RPM’s address and FAX number. The back of this page has 4 side profile marking and camouflaged schemes.

1. A Pz.Spwg. 202(r ) of a German war correspondent, from the 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division “Prinz Eugen”, Croatia 1942. Car is in overall Russian green, with a small German cross above a yellow divisional sign on the sides of the car and a white tactical sign on the front driver’s side fender. It is on regular tired wheels. This is the only one of the 3 schemes that sports a license plate number of SS-140504.

2. A Pz.Spwg. 202(r ) of a German police unit, Ukraine 1942. This car is painted overall Russian green overpainted with irregular dark-gray stripes. It is on regular tired wheels. It is marked with hastily applied German crosses on the sides, in white paint that is starting to drip and run. There is a nickname “Greif” in white on the sides of the hood.

3. A Pz.Spwg. 202(r ) of another German police unit, Ukraine 1943. This car is in light sand overpainted with in thin lines of green. It is on regular tired wheels.

4. A Pz.Spwg. 202(r ) used as a car on railway type wheels of a German armored train group, painted in overall panzer gray with a coating of white wash. It carries a rather small German cross on the sides of the turret.

I think it is rather strange that most of the markings provided are for the vehicle mounted on wheels with tires, instead of the railroad type wheels. The kit can be built with either wheels with what’s provided however.

The descriptions of these markings were in Polish only. I want to thank, again, Dariusz Tyminski in Poland for translating the instructions for me.

The second sheet of the instructions (printed on both sides) gives a total of 6 very busy exploded drawings for assembly of the vehicle.

The third sheet of the instructions (also printed on both sides) Gives the instructions on one side for assembly of the railroad tracks and ties for a straight shot. The other side shows how to assemble parts to make a curve in the tracks. Next to these drawings is illustrations of the parts trees that hold these parts. These drawings say to space the ties 20mm apart and the tracks spread 41.3mm.

I think a much better way of setting the width of the rails would be to build the car with the metal type wheels and then set the width with those wheels. Probably will fit the car better.

There are no part numbers on the parts trees. This means constant referral to the parts tree drawings, that are numbered, to find the parts needed for each assembly. This makes for tedious extra work on the part of the modeler and a very bad move by RPM. However, I have run into this numerous times on other Eastern European companies’ model kits. Why they persist in doing this is beyond my comprehension.

Large very dark green letter A tree holds: the vehicle’s frame, tired wheels, leaf springs, steering wheel, engine parts, radiator, bumpers, control levers, exhaust pipe with muffler, drive shaft, hub caps, axles, head lights with solid lenses etc. (42 parts)

Large slightly lighter green letter B tree holds: the vehicle’s floor with fenders attached, body panels, turret parts, cabin doors, machine gun, lift hooks, spare tire, gas tank half, seats, vision port flaps, cabin floor with foot pedals molded into it etc. (40 parts)

There is no dashboard instruments molded into the interior and no decal for a dashboard. This is a sad omission, give the seats and steering wheel and levers that go in the driver’s compartment. Another bad move RPM.

There are 4 identical small chalk white letter C parts trees. These hold the metal railroad type wheels for the car and the railroad ties and rail parts etc. (35 parts per tree)

There are no clear parts provided for the cabs windows or the headlight and tail light lenses. Modelers will probably want to use Kristal Clear liquid or MV brand lenses for this. There are also no crew figures in the kit.

The decal sheet completes the kit’s contents (markings already described above).

This is a neat model of a captured Soviet armored car in German service. Neat that it can be made on either the tires or metal railroad wheels.