BRDM Comparison

ACE versus S-Model

Article by Simon Barnes
Edited by Marc Mercier

ACE burst onto the small scale scene with a range of much needed modern Soviet vehicles, one of the first was the BRDM 2 (hard to believe over 11 years ago now) followed by the BMP. Since their release (despite the growth of Eastern European companies) there has been very little modern Russian released in plastic, until now with Model Collect and S-Model both releasing Modern Russian Vehicles.

I am not going to go into detail about the history nor commenting on the box art as this information can be found elsewhere. This will be a direct comparison between the ACE BRDM and the newer S-Model kit, with the BMP being dealt with in another article. I have also realised that the ACE BRDM has never been reviewed at "ontheway", so this will fill that gap. I should, at this point, state that ACE are only short run moulds which cause a bit of flash, and S-Model use steel moulds producing a sharper model, although I should also point out that S-Model is a wargaming kit and simplified around the drive area as you will see.
The ACE model is long out of production, so this is for those who already have it, but not built it yet or, for those that already have it, but want more.

So what do we get? Well the ACE kit comes in its usual form of soft-ish white-ish plastic, the surface shows good detail, the sprue attachment points are a little crude and there is a slight amount of flash, but nothing major or problematic. The S-Model comes in a harder green plastic which shows good detail.


Both kits measure out to 1/72nd scale when completed, however there are some notable differences in the layout. I have used the M Hobby Drawings as a reference, as they are considered to be the most accurate. Both vehicles fit these drawings, with just the details being the difference.

The pictures are a bit misleading as both hulls are closer to the camera than the plans and so seem larger. The M Hobby drawing is of an earlier version (as can be seen by the engine deck) as I have, so far, found no drawings depicting the later type. As can be seen there is a big difference between the two both in the size of the engine deck and position of the turret. According to the drawings the
S-Model is correct, this is backed up by photographic evidence as to the position of the turret. During Alex Clarks excellent build of the ACE model that appeared in AFV Modeller No2 he also moved the turret about 2.5mm to the rear. Apart from the turret position and the subsequent length of the engine deck, the other main difference are the red and yellow marked angles on the superstructure. On the S-Model these angles are nearly vertical, whereas they are more slanted on the ACE model, here the ACE model is correct, as can be seen by the drawing.

Here the angles are more clear to see. The problem with the engine deck lies in the blue rectangle, the access cover is too large in the ACE kit thereby putting everything else out, it is a problem that persisted through the whole series made by ACE as can be seen on the AT 5 below.

This shows how far back the turret sits on the real vehicle.


Both turrets are very similar, the main difference between them is that the S-Model gun is moveable, whereas the ACE must be glued in place. The
S-Model turret also has an extra roof mounted periscope, this is a later edition as a result of events in Afghanistan. However both type continued in service. The only other part to the turret are the guns, the 14.2mm KPVT and the 7.62mm coaxial.

The guns are fairly similar as you would expect, the S-Model has the typical barrel handle, which is missing in the ACE kit.

Both coaxial guns are hidden away on the sprues, the ACE is rather large (looks more 12.7mm) whilst the S-Model is better, although care will be needed when removing it from the sprue.


This is where the two differ the most, with the ACE having a highly detailed and complex assembly, whilst the S Model is split into 8 parts.
Starting with the vehicle underneath.

Here the difference can be seen with the ACE model showing more detail, but somehow missing the intake for the water jet propulsion. The ACE model also has cutouts for the drive shafts that are missing from S-Model, other than that they are fairly similar.

Here are the multiple parts that make up the ACE suspension with the two differential axle being on another sprue.

Here are the 8 parts for the S-Model with the springs and axles being one piece, wheels are also one part as are the two supplementry wheels and thereby lies a problem! With the S-Model the belly wheels can only be built with the wheels lowered. However this is not normal operation : the two wheels should only be lowered when travelling over boggy and difficult terrain, so for them to be raised requires a bit of work. The belly wheels are also too fat, which is a minor problem considering their position.

wheels against the drawing. Next to the ACE wheel

Coming back to the main wheels, early ACE kits provided them as two halves to be glued together, however doing this also meant losing the tread pattern, later releases came with rubber tyres, which had goo tread pattern but were slightly on the small side. The S-Model wheels display a tread pattern albeit incorrect, but it is very faint and not as chunky as it should be.

A comparison of the three wheels together.


The S-Model sprue. This is the same sprue as for the AT 5 version with just the hull roof being different, so you get either the AT 5 launcher and tubes or the turret and gun as spares. Not much use for the launcher although the missile containers will be handy, but a lot of use for the spare turrets, given that they were also mounted on the BTR 60 and BTR 70 and used in a number of conversions for the BMP 1.

The other ACE sprue minus the hull pieces.

The rear plates. the exhausts


The S-Model PE fret, showing the light guards, tow hooks, hand rails and mirrors. ACE didn't provide any PE with their kits.


S-Model provide a set of generic decals, but showing only one scheme for a naval version in the instructions. They are, as far as I can make out, a generic set of numbers : Soviet ( Naval , Airborne version and Guards), Polish, NVA, Czech, Romanian and one presumably Russian unit as the red star has a hammer and sickle but a yellow outline. Unfortunately I don't have the ACE decals to hand, (as they are somewhere safe!) but ACE provided decals for 4 variants Naval Inf, Soviet Guards, Czech and NVA. ACE decals were usually very well printed, they didn't however include any numbers.


Since the AT 5 version is the same sprue as the gun variant with just the hull roof differing between the two, all comments about the gun variant apply here as well.

the new roof and parts for the launcher.

Because of the problem with the ACE engine deck being too long, it has slightly altered the top plate. The launcher is in the correct position, but this has made the reload hatch too small.

The ACE hull looks slightly bigger due to it being on wheels and so closer to the camera. However you can still see that the reload hatch is smaller than the S-Model hatch.


Given the 11+ years difference between the kits, it is obvious that the S-Model would benefit from this and the fact that it is made with steel moulds, rather than the short run moulds of ACE. Despite being a wargaming model, there is enough detail to satisfy most modellers. The open hatches are a bonus as are the spare parts. The PE is a nice touch, the light guards are useful, but some will want to replace the hand holds with wire as they are 2 dimensional. The generic nature of the decals means that you might want to source different ones when making specific vehicles. Overall the S-Model makes a nice BRDM2 that would benefit from some new wheels.


The main reference for this comparison, was done using the M-Hobby BRDM drawings, which are considered to be the best.
There are plenty of walkarounds on the internet for those wishing to add more.

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Article Last Updated: 05 July 2013

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