by: Olivier Carneau [ ]
The VT72B is the current ARRV in service with the Czech and Slovak armies. It has also been in service with the GDR army. It is based on the T72 chassis and slightly differs from the Russian BREM.
This kit is a multimedia kit as Panzershop names it. It comprizes 377 resin parts, 290 photoetched parts, 2 clear orange flashlights, some plastic tubing, a piece of nylon thread, a small decal sheet, the Friul tracks and sprocket set and one antenna base from Modelpoint. An A4 size sheet is provided with pics of the parts and number to identify them. A CD-ROM is provided as the instructions and reference guide.
The parts are packaged in re-sealable plastic bags and the whole kit being wrapped in bubble wrap to perform a good protection. In fact, only one large part was broken when I opened the box. Some parts were separated from the sprue.
The carving and the molding are of the usual standard with this manufacturer that is very good. Few flash is present and nearly no air bubble except really tiny ones.
Obviously Panzershop got inspired by the Tamiya T72 kit for some parts of which I noticed the hull, the running gear, the rear deck, the engine deck, the commander weapon station and its NSVT (the ammo box seems to be a copy of the Friul DShK one ref A01), the schnorchel.
As usual with resin kits, a time-consuming preparation is required to separate the parts from the molding sprue or what remains of it. Except for some parts, the contact points are well located. And generally, thanks to the molding process, the contact area is quite thin and my first attempts confirm this impression.
The kit comes with a comprehensive interior of which little will remain visible when both hull halves are glued. However, the less courageous can build it hatch down to spare some extra work.
The exterior is impressive and offers few options as the possibility to build the dozer blade lowered of raised, the choice of two lengths for the crane boom. The latter can be raised in the working position or set stowed. To give more life to the vehicle, Panzershop has provided two blankets or tarps, one chainsaw (with PE parts), one remote control box and the commander station windshield.
The dark side, if I may say so, is the instructions. They come on the CD-ROM as a collection of 72 pics gathered in the 6 instruction steps and 37 of the complete model before and after painting. Unlike plastic kits instructions and perhaps due to the number of parts, Panzershop did not organize the stages in a step by step method. So you need to print the whole pics to find out what to do.
Some steps are merely omitted such as the running gear assembly. For the owners of the Tamiya T72 still having the instructions booklet, it won’t be a problem, sorry for the others ! No templates are given for the headlight and flashlight guards building. I would have appreciated too a set of instructions for the setting of the cables in the numerous pulleys.
This being written, the CD-ROM proves to be a gold mine with numerous reference color pics of the real vehicle in display and in the field too.
As a conclusion, despite its complexity and its price, I would highly recommend this kit but only to experienced modelers familiar with resin and PE. By the way such a warning is clearly stated both on the box and in the manufacturer website.
This kit is an original one from a family of vehicles, the ARRV’s, which in my opinion deserves more interest from the plastic manufacturer.