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Zvezda BMP-1 Infantry Fighting Vehicle

The BMP-1 is a Soviet amphibious tracked infantry fighting vehicle. BMP stands for Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty 1 (Russian: Боевая Машина Пехоты 1; БМП-1), meaning “infantry fighting vehicle”. The BMP-1 was the first mass-produced infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) of USSR.  It was called the M-1967, BMP and BMP-76PB by NATO before its correct designation was known. The Soviet military leadership saw any future wars as being conducted with nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and a new design combining the properties of an armored personnel carrier (APC) and a light tank like the BMP would allow infantry to operate from the relative safety of its armored, radiation-shielded interior in contaminated areas and to fight alongside it in uncontaminated areas. It would increase infantry squad mobility, provide fire support to them, and also be able to fight alongside main battle tanks.

The BMP-1 was first tested in combat in the 1973 Yom Kippur War where it was used by Egyptian and Syrian forces. Based on lessons learned from this conflict and early experiences in the Soviet War in Afghanistan, a version with improved fighting qualities, the BMP-2 was developed.


  • Highly detailed plastic pieces molded in olive green.
  • Detailed hull.
  • Figure included.
  • Waterslide decals.
  • Illustrated instructions
  • Scale: 1/35
  • Parts 272
  • Length: 7.67″ (195mm)
  • Product Number: ZVE3553
  • MSRP: $34.99 USD

The Kit:

I’ve been meaning for quite sometime to add a Soviet BMP-1 to my 1/35 IFV collection. Lo and behold I scored this Zvezda BMP-1 at a local garage sale for $10 still in its original wrapping. As with many Zvezda Models I’ve built over the years, the sprues inside the box are loose (no plastic bags) with some large and small parts playing ‘tag‘ with each other during transport. Good thing at least is that the boxes from Zvezda models are quite secure and the chances of a small part getting lost are almost non existent. In fact, the box in which my 1/350 Zvezda ‘Kursk’ Submarine came in, is used for small styrene scrap and leftovers. Being a long box, it is also useful for my Plastruct and Evergreen styrene products.

There are parts exhibiting some flash and mold lines. Attachment points to these parts are on the thick side. All hatches on the model can be displayed either closed/open. But with no interior detail, there’s no much to see unless the builder along with good will and reference material build some interior detail from scratch. Assembly starts with the lower hull which has a basic suspension and simplicity reminiscent to the old AMT BMP-1 kit from back in the day. The tracks are individual and every single link has an ejection pin mark on it. Instructions to assemble the tracks are very straightforward and it didn’t take me that long to finish this step.

If the modeler refrains from cementing all idler, rolling wheels and sprockets until the very end, it will be a lot easier to install the assembled tracks on the model. I only added the idler wheel and sprocket to the tracks and brought the tracks to the hull. Only then I started to add the rolling wheels one by one. This was done of course after weathering the tracks, wheels and hull. Rear hatches, upper hull and turret are followed with no fit issues to write home about it.

No clear parts are supplied for the periscopes. So I had to add them by using clear colored folder tabs. These can be purchased at your local office supply store. My local hobby shop has colored transparent film from K&S Products which I use for some applications, but in this case this film is too thin and flimsy for this application.


The Zvezda BMP-1 kit includes some nice quality decals. Unfortunately they are no specifics as brigade/batallion/unit provided.

Painting and Weathering:

This kit was a nice canvas for a Syrian camo scheme using the new Yom Kippur Set from AMMO Mig. As with the rest of the AMMO by Mig line of paints, the Sand Yellow A.MIG 030 has a slight level of transparency. Pretty much as the Dunkelgelb from Testors Acryl does. So I would suggest a similar yellow as a base color or Yellow Primer to get the most coverage. All weathering was done with Earth Effects and Enamel Washes from AMMO Mig.

This model is still stocked by local hobby shops and on-line retailers alike. As with any model kit manufacturers, they have good and less than good products in their catalogs. This is a good kit in my opinion. But for the price of the newest Trumpeter tooling and a modest yet effective fret of photo etch detail, I would have no hesitation to pick the Trumpeter offering. I’m not a rivet counter, but if Zvezda decided to spice up this kit with some extra bonus details, I wouldn’t think twice to select one of the 2. Again, I love to get more bang for my buck.


My sincere thanks to the folks over at AMMO by Mig for kindly providing the colors and weathering materials for this build.

George Collazo
George Collazo
George has been hosting review sites and blogging about toy collectibles, travel, digital photography and Nikon digital imaging since 1998. His first model kit build was a Testors 1/35 DODGE WC-54 in 1984.