The Hobby Boss ZSL-92B is one of several versions of the ZSL-92 wheeled IFV's series fielded by the Chinese PLA to be already released or to be released by Hobby Boss. I can't find a lot of information on these vehicles on the web or in books (granted I haven't scoured the ends of the earth), but it appears that the PLA fields a few versions of this IFV including a strictly carrier version with a 12.7mm MG for the commander, this version for review as well as one with what appears to be a remote turret for the 25mm gun and other versions. The design appears to be in line with wheeled IFV's from the West, which is to be expected as China rapidly modernizes it's military. The ZSL-92B is distinguished by a turret with a 25mm main gun and an anti-tank missile on the top.
In the box there appears 5 sprue's (3 repeat sprue's for the suspension), the upper and lower hull pieces, vinyl tires with manufacturer labeling, a PE fret, clear PVC for the windows, decals, instructions, a color guide for painting and a color print of the box top. There a total of 6 steps to the model, though each step has several sub-steps. The quality of the molding is good, but some of the attachments for the parts to the sprue's could be a bit better designed, such as having the smoke dischargers attached to the sprue at the end of the tube or bottom of the base instead of in the center of the tube, which is at a low point of the tube. This would make clean up easier.
I will start off at the beginning by saying that this kit builds up very nicely and fast. I built this over the course of a weekend. Out of box there is an acceptable level of detail. Of course, more could be added/improved if the builder desires and has good references. In addition, there appears to be some detail sets out there. The fit is overall very good, with one or two minor areas that required some fill work. One improvement area that would be nice is an interior for the IFV. Essentially this is one big open hull. There are a lot of doors and two windows that could be opened up. As is, no interior is included, which is fine as it keeps the costs of the kit down, making this a fun, quick and relatively inexpensive build.
The first step is to build up the suspension. The first thing noticed is that the suspension springs are in two pieces, which of course end up leaving a big seam to clean up when put together. Fortunately, cleaning the up isn't really necessary as the wheels will block them from view when done. If you build the suspension completely OOB, the wheels will be locked into a straight orientation. I removed the ends on parts A8 and rounded the end on parts A17 to allow the wheels to be turned. Also note that the instructions indicate that the suspension arms (parts A26 and A1) go on the opposite side that the should. A26 should go on the right side and A1 should go on the left side.
There are propellers on the end of the lower hull for water operations of the vehicle. The parts are very nicely done. Just make sure you attach the drive shaft for this (A30) to the hull with notch pointing down. I'm not saying I installed this incorrectly (uh-mm) but if you do put on upside down you will need to add new notches.
The tires themselves are three parts; the vinyl tires and the front and rear hub. There is concern that the vinyl from different companies may react with the plastic parts and dissolve the vinyl. I don't know if Hobby Boss vinyl will do this, but any time I work with vinyl I coat the parts that come into contact with plastic with Future floor polish. Once the wheels are constructed, that just fit right onto the suspension hub. Note the last photo shows them all turned. They are not glued on at this point so some are a bit off center from moving around.
The fit of the hull pieces is very good with one or two small spots needing some filler added. The rear hull plate doesn't fit flush with the rest of the hull, and from what I can tell from the photos I have seen this is correct, but I will be glad to be corrected. I can't tell if there should be a weld seam there though. The turret did have some filling work needed, but nothing that was a show stopper. There is a lot of nice weld detail on the parts, so if filling is needed, care must be taken to not remove the welds or they will need replacement.
Two PVC squares are provided for the two windows. If left clear, the empty chasm of the hull can be seen. I wanted to have the window covers up and show the windows, so I painted the windows with Tamiya clear green to hide hull void.
A lot of fine details are included in the kit. There is some PE for the vent screens, a muffler guard and headlight guards. The problem with the headlight guards being PE is that they are round, but this is a common problem with PE headlight guards. I would prefer these parts in plastic, or if one is inclined they could solder a set from brass rod. There are a lot of small details to add which provide a nice feel to the detail of the kit. The coax machine gun is not well defined though, and at least needs to be drilled out if not replaced. The missile on the turret is nicely done, as is the launch rail, but will need some filling with putty. Some parts, such as the hand rails and smoke discharges are attached in awkward way to the sprue, so care is needed when removing them.
The decals were thin and went on easily to the painted model. I didn't trim them very well as I was in a rush to complete the build for a club contest. In addition, they were put on over some weathering so are standing out in the pictures. With better triming and some matte varnish these will look great.
This was a fun kit to build. It didn't take very long, it is reasonably priced, good fit and great detail OOB. In addition it is interesting to build stuff that is coming out of the rapidly modernizing Chinese PLA, and this vehicle is very cool looking. If the builder desires, extra detail or variations can be done quite easily, though most of these would be smaller items.
Thanks to MMD Squadron for the review sample.