In-Box Review
BTR-80A Replacement Wheels
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by: Jacques Duquette [ JACQUES ]


The BTR-80 is one of those iconic vehicles from the 1980's Soviet Red Army that anyone who is interested in modern Russian vehicles would want on their shelf. Having seen action in Chechnya and Georgia, the BTR-80 is still in the news. The BTR-80 was upgraded to the BTR-80A by adding a new turret with a 30mm Auto-cannon and 5.56mm Coaxial MG. New tires for the BTR-80 were also showing up at that time, the KI-126, although it is not certain if they were fielded simultaneously. These replaced the older KI-80 series tires.

These new resin wheels from Miniarm are a large step forward for an accurate model. In the past, there were the basic "squared off" KI-80 wheels from the DML kit that had a tendency to disintegrate. When the DML kit was upgraded with a new turret by Zvezda to make the BTR-80A model, the wheels were also redone in a hard rubber or plastic (I am not quite sure what the material is...most likely a soft styrene?). But they still had the squared off sidewalls and flat tire surface of the DML KI-80 tire and not the newer "bulged" look of the KI-126. Compared to photos of the BTR-80A, the wheels just never looked the part and did detract from built kits.

All previous resin replacement wheels have been of DML KI-80 wheels with re-detailed hubs. Hobby Planet has reproduced the wheels from the old Capitan line, but I have not seen these wheels and I could never get a hold of them to look over, so I cannot say if they were any different than the DML wheels. But now we have the Miniarm release...

the wheels

Just recently Miniarm released 3 sets of BTR wheels: 1 KI-80 for the BTR-70, one KI-80 for the BTR-80, and 1 KI-126 for the BTR-80A. The wheels are solidly cast with almost no air bubbles in any of the parts, they have VERY crisp detail, and they have a MUCH more accurate profile. Even the KI-80 wheels have rounded sidewalls. In fact, the BRDM and BTR KI-80 wheels only differ in the hub detail.

There are 8 wheels with separate hubs and one spare wheel included in the set.

As seen in the pictures at right, there is a SP Designs BTR-80 wheel which represents the original DML style wheel (Cream colored), a wheel from the Zvezda BTR-80A kit (Black), and the new Miniarm wheel (Grey). The differences between the KI-80 and the KI-126 wheels are very apparent in the pictures.

Minarm has reproduced the wheels with 7 triplets of bolts on the rims and with 8 bolts on the hubs. The sidewall detail is nicely represented and appears to be accurate (I have no super close up shots of the KI-126 tire to know if the arrow pointing forward is correct, for example, but the numbering and ribbing appears to be correct). The hubs are of the "spider web" pattern which is the only one I have seen used with the KI-126 wheels. There should be a stem that runs from the hub to the rim, which is missing on the Miniarm set. This is part of the central tire inflation system which is noticeable, and can be replicated with a small square piece of styrene and some copper wire.

The KI-126 has also been refitted to the BTR-80 series as far as I know, so it should be usable with any BTR-80 vehicle.
Highs: Very accurate looking wheels. Excellent detail and a vast improvement over any previous wheel set for the BTR-80A. Usable on the BTR-80 as well.
Lows: Price. Wheels cost as much as the kit.
Verdict: VERY nice set of wheels for any BTR-80 kit you do.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: B35042
  Suggested Retail: $31.99
  PUBLISHED: Nov 08, 2010

About Jacques Duquette (Jacques)

The first model I remember building was a glow-in-the-dark P-38, running around my bedroom in the dark flying it, and stubbing my toes. I do a lot less running around with glowing models now. I mainly focus on 1/35 armor and figures, with Modern Russian military vehicles being my favorite. I a...

Copyright 2021 text by Jacques Duquette [ JACQUES ]. All rights reserved.


Thanks Jacques for the review. I finally got hold of the set through hobbyeasy after months of waiting. It is truly accurate looking and well-casted set. Amazing quality from Miniarm. However, like Jacques pointed out, it was quite expensive. After shipping, it was close to $40 I think- yes, just for wheels.. If I had ordered from a seller in Russia, it was going to be around $50.. I am sure many of us are waiting for Trumpeter's release of BTR-80A. In the meantime, Zvezda + Miniarm wheels are the best we can get.
NOV 07, 2010 - 04:25 PM
One small mistake in the review right at the end. It says that there is a stem that runs frim the hub to the should continue that this piece is MISSING from the Miniarm wheels. This is part of the central tire inflation system and is noticeable and can be replicated with a small swuare piece of styrene and some copper wire. Otherwise the only "problem" with the wheels is the price. I really like them though...they are very tempting to buy several sets no matter the price. And I hope Trumpeter gets these correct, that would be a great help.
NOV 07, 2010 - 05:04 PM
Corrected in the review Jacques, thanks
NOV 07, 2010 - 05:14 PM
Thanks for the review Jacques. I only can second your conclusion about Miniarm products prices
NOV 08, 2010 - 05:37 AM

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