Thursday, 4 June 2020

3D Printed BTR-60P

Out of the Box

This is the first 3-D printed model I have ever bought. It was designed and digitised by M Bergman who has made the files available for personal use on Thingiverse. These prints are definitely for the use of  'expert only' but Bergman makes a commercial licence available. This specimen was printed by a vendor (chcha_5648) who sells it on eBay for £12 + P&P at 1:50 scale. That was what caught my eye: the price is most advantageous.

I bought this and a BMP 1. The box when it arrived was so light that for a moment I thought there was nothing in it!

The polymer used is light, incredibly light, but it is hard and very durable. The model comes in one piece, no assembly required. This is an immediate advantage of 3D printing. All the wheel suspension is modelled on the one print. The second thing I noticed was that it didn't need cleaning of mould release agent because, err, it isn't moulded. The paint goes straight on.

The last advantage of 3D Prints is that vendors can afford to keep a large number of digital files on a hard drive so lots of unusual vehicles can be made available. This just wouldn't be affordable with resin mould or, God help you, plastic.

On the other hand prints will never be made en masse. The process can't be easily scaled up (you'd need banks of printers - pricey) so they're really a different niche to plastic or even resin models.

Print Lines

Now the elephant in the room. 3D Printing leaves print lines. There is no way around this - at least not at an affordable price. The design is clever in that the top flat surfaces show the lightest lining, while really heavy lining tends to be on the bits out of immediate sight.

Nevertheless, there is no way around this. Expect print lines and don't buy if this is an issue for you.

As an aside, I undercoated with Army Coat white spray. This is a nice thick paint that goes some way to hide the lines. However, white was a poor choice. I should have used black so I didn't have to chase down white paint in every minor crevice - and there are a lot of crevices in a 3D Print.

Spray paint is not essential. Brushed acrylic will go straight on to the polymer, no hassle.

The Finished Model

And this is what it looks like after painting and weathering. I added a few extras. Some baggage and cans from Tamiya accessories. A spare crewman gunner from a Tamiya kit and a modern Russian Automatic Grenade Launcher from Eureka.

A lick o' paint hides a multitude of sins: it also hides the print lines which are more obvious in the photos than the actual model.

Needless to say, do not use washes!

The Sharp End

The BTR-60P was the first of the famous 8-Wheeled APCs in which Soviet mechanised infantry were to ride on their death march to the Rhine. It was open-topped and had paper thin armour just about capable of deflecting rifle bullets and small shell splinters. Up to two pintle mounted MGs could be placed on the top of the front bulkhead.

The PB version was roofed over to give some protection against air bursts and had an MG in a small conical turret. The Warsaw Pact manufactured around 28,000 and the Russian Federation keeps in the region of 4,000 in storage.


I wanted the vehicle for wargaming skirmishes along the borders of the old Soviet States. It is just the sort of simple lightly armoured machine that might turn up being used as a transport for material: only the maddest or most naive soldiers would ride in it.

The AGL is just the sort weapon that might be mounted on one of the old pintle-mounts so that the terrified crew could try to shoot their way out of an ambush - assuming an RPG hasn't already gone through the cardboard armour.

The stowage represents the slapdash nature of the militia running this transport. Oddly enough the rusty drum of leaking diesel is marked US Army!

 Next up, the BMP - and I am so pleased with my first attempt that I have ordered an LAV and a Cougar.


  1. No washes?!? But, but you saw how well my Tilly turned

  2. Great work John, if spraying with heavy build primer, you can wet and dry the larger areas once the first coat is dry this will help eliminate the pesky lines

  3. Nice Work John regarding the lines I think your paint job covers up nicely the other two things are at wargaming range it becomes less noticable and with our unaided eyesight lines? what lines

    1. The blurring effects of old age makes the paint jobs look better as well......😎

  4. Mr Surfacer has been suggested by John at Justneedsvarnish. I have used PVA with acrylic, filed down afterwards with some success (João Pedro Peixoto's suggestion at JP Wargaming Place)

    Regards, Chris.

  5. Are you thinking about buying a printer ?

    1. Thought about it but they are not really consumer items yet. Still enthusiast only, I feel.

  6. Dear John,

    An RPG-7 or even an RPG-2 will certainly penetrate most APCs. That said, an ACAV (which is just an M113 with a steel cupola enclosing the cal fifty) was still an effective fighting vehicle.

    The name--Armored Cavalry Assault Vehicle--makes the point. If you're driving straight at the other fellow firing from the cupola and one or both of your pintle mounted M60s, the fact that he can put a hole in any part of your exiguous armor may not convince him to stick around to do so.

    Fifty years ago I was in Cambodia. Mostly they didn't stick around.

    All best

    1. It is so much more difficult to aim when the enemy is so unreasonable as to fire back at one 😀

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