Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Zvezda British Bofors

I  decided that January would be 'Anti-Aircraft Month', but I'm only just getting round to making my first AA gun (so expect this project to creep into February)!

The model I had chosen to represent the Finn's '40 ItK/35-39 B Bofors' (Finnish designation for the imported Swedish Bofors) is Zvezda's 'British Mk. I/II'. I'll be honest, I bought this because it's cheap(ish) and simple, but good. I've been very impressed with all the other Zvezda models I have bought, detail and moulding is always crisp.

(I could get exactly the right 'Swedish' (style) version - minus gun-shield - if I really wanted and was willing to search one out, but the Zvezda version is readily available. An option might have been to go for the 'First to Fight' Polish Army Bofors 40mm, but they weren't available when I looked.)

Superb original colour photo of a Finnish Bofors unit on the outskirts of Nokia
township in April 1944. Source: SA KUVA
Anyhoo, I reckon, to make the gun 'Finnish' I need only remove the gun-shield, source some different wheels (easy as I have plenty spare Gaz/Zis wheels which look about right) and change the figures. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy!

So, let's begin by having a look at the instructions...

First thing I noticed is that, this isn't the usual Zvezda simplified wargaming model, there are actually quite a few parts to this kit. And, as usual, I take their claim that this is a 'snap together' kit with a pinch of salt.

My impressions that this model is a little more than an 'easy build' was further reinforced when I started to examine the sprues. For starters, there are four sprues containing some quite small and detailed parts...

The crew sprue! Four figures, but for the Rapid Fire game rules I only need
to model three crew. We shall cross that bridge when we come to it.

The kit comes with this base for modelling the deployed gun. Also, here we
have the 'British wheels', I will have to replace these for the Finnish variant.
The Bofors, plus gun-shield (won't need that) and a wee flag! :)
As I said, plenty of parts, which should build into quite a nice little model. And, because I am building this under the Rapid Fire game rules, I have two of these kits - one to represent a deployed AA gun and another in the transportation mode (I was thinking of building this and adding some sort of canvas cover, maybe).

Finnish AA crew pose on a 1937 Ford truck, with a medium AA gun  (possibly
a 76 ItK/29 B, Bofors) in tow. Note the canvas gun cover. Source: SA KUVA
I'm hoping this will be a 'quick build' which will be completed about the same time as I finish my Hunor Ford M39 truck project (as this will be the towing vehicle for this gun). Luckily, the HUnor kit is turning out to be such a start and stop build - due to all the problems with the kit - that I should have plenty of time to get the Bofors built and painted...In theory...

The two versions I will be building; transportation mode and deployed.


  1. Build the under tarp one using just the wheeled frame (with new wheels) then use spare sprue and bits t get the correct shape and tarp that over. That way you get a spare gun you could mount on something else if you need it someday. How is the Zvesda plastic? I bought some guns in the past but I got put off by bendy plastic, is this any better?

    1. Great idea (re: the tarp), thanks! Hmmm, the plastic is a bit strange...It's sort of halfway between the soft plastic used for plastic soldiers and normal 'hard plastic' used for kits. It's a bit oily, and bit messy when filed or sanded, but it's OK. My main complaint is the gun, it's quite bendy (as you say). I am still in two minds as to whether to replace it with a Millicast brass barrel (£3)! I'll finish the kit and see how I feel...I don't like bendy guns! :D

    2. Tell me about it. I was quite happy to find a Italeri Autocanone 3RO, only to find out the truck is hard plastic but the gun is cast from the same flexible rubberplastic as the crew for some utterly stupid reason (aka costsaving). I wish I had ordered a Polish Bofors in my last order, I could have shown you its usefulness (or not) for your Finns.