|MINIART - GAZ-AAA Cargo Truck|
A look at the other version released by MiniArt!
GAZ-AAA Cargo Truck
Material: Styrene & Photo-etch
Serial Number: 35127
Price: £25.19 (ModelHobbies)
MiniArt from the Ukraine, began making plastic kits in 2003, and has rapidly made a name for themselves, for high quality kits of vehicle, figure and diorama subjects. This kit is of a Russian truck manufactured from 1934 to 1943, of which over 37,000 were produced.
The kit consists of eleven large sprues of light grey styrene, plus five smaller sprues. A small transparent sprue, decal sheet and photo-etched fret. One of the large sprues contains parts to make up the five figures shown on the box art, with everything else in the box consisting of parts for the main vehicle. Six of the eleven large sprues contain parts just for the wheels, and four of the small sprues are two pairs of identical sprues that consist of parts for the suspension and some small fittings such as tie-downs etc. The moulding of all the parts is well up to par for a modern manufacturer, with no flash and no unsightly ejector pin marks, apart from a very few in areas that will be almost impossible to see on the finished model.
The instructions supplied are in the form of a sixteen-page stapled booklet with full-colour glossy cover. The actual assembly steps are of the usual exploded line drawing type, and begin where you expect, with the assembly of the engine and the subsequent fitting of this to the multi-part chassis. The engine itself is quite nicely detailed too. As I said in the review to the MiniArt GAZ MM kit recently, this seems to be getting more and more common in modern truck kits...so much so that it would appear to be unusual these days to see a new truck kit released that doesn't actually have a fully detailed engine! The engine of course includes a detailed radiator, housing and fan too. The chassis is provided in two sides with separate cross-members, so it will pay to take extra care during assembly to make sure everything is lined up correctly and sitting flat, including the suspension components, in order that all ten wheels touch ground, and all the body panels fit together with no awkward gaps where there shouldn't be.
The tyres are once again provided as 'slices', in order that the proper tread pattern can be represented. Each wheel is constructed from seven 'slices' joined and then sandwiching a separate central hub between them. Take care to make sure you don't get the outer 'slices' confused, as the manufacturers logo and markings are only on the outside slice, and not on the inner tyre sidewall. The rear two axles are quite a complicated little assembly, and are fully constructed as a sub unit before being fixed to the chassis. There's a double leaf spring for suspension between each of the two axles, and the detail is absolutely superb!
Once the engine, drive train and very detailed running gear are all complete and assembled to the chassis, the cab area can be constructed and fixed, beginning with the two front fenders that are moulded integrally with the running boards beneath the cab doors on each side. Each of the running boards is moulded with a diamond tread pattern, and although there are some ejector pin marks on the fenders lower surface, these won't be seen once the model is complete. Construction then moves onto the can floor, which is moulded in one piece, and then the separate lower seat is added together with gear levers etc. and driver's footpedals. This assembly can be fixed to the chassis at this stage, although it's probably better if you leave it at this point so that it can be adjusted in line with all the body panels and doors later. The windscreen on this version is provided as an injection moulded frame, onto which a transparent styrene part is fixed. The wiper is supplied as photo-etch, and the motor assembly in plastic, indicated as stage 23 on the instructions, but this should read 34 instead. The windscreen is provided for in two forms, able to be posed opened or closed, and there are two tiny photo-etched sliders supplied for fixing either side of the opening part so that you can fix it to the position you want. The entire windscreen is then fixed to the engine firewall and top and sides of the bodywork. The dashboard is a very simply detailed part; mind you, I've no doubt that the real thing was similarly simple. The dials are moulded flat and there are no decals provided, so if you want detail on these then you'll have to source decals from elsewhere. There are details to be added to the engine side of the firewall, and if you're going to have problems fixing all these panels without gaps, then this is where you'll encounter them, so you might want to take extra care at this point, maybe even leaving parts unfixed until you're sure they will marry up correctly with the rest of the bonnet to be fitted next. Especially if you're going to display the engine all closed up. The bonnet is made from two top parts hinged together, and two louvered side panels hinged either side. The louvres in these panels exceptionally narrow and yet are actually moulded open, and full instructions are illustrated for displaying the bonnet open. The actual walls of the cab are constructed from a roof piece and a rear wall, but since this particular version had solid doors, make sure these fit before everything is cemented into place. The doors are detailed inside and out, and have internal handles and window winders, their glazing being provided on the clear sprue. Since the detail is moulded onto the inner surface of each door, if you want to depict one of the side windows opened, you'll have to actually cut the clear plastic part.
The rear wooden load bed has a wood grain effect, and this is moulded onto upper and lower surfaces. There's a provision on the instructions for a lowered tailgate, although this is simply a case of cementing the part in a different position.
There are six colour schemes illustrated on the instruction sheet, four of which carry markings of some sort, and these are provided on the small decal sheet you can see below. Full details of the three vehicles can also be seen below. Only two of the versions are shown in German use, which makes you wonder about including five German figures?
Which brings me naturally enough...to those figures! As said, there are five in the set, supplied on a large sprue, previously released as 35046 German Feldgendarmerie. Up to MiniArt's usual standards, a bit of fine flash, but this is less of a problem with figures...especially if you're going to be trying to improve their detail a little anyway. Conventional in breakdown, and supplied in a variety of poses as you can see below, we're even supplied with the signpost, although you have to cut the signs out from the bottom of the instruction booklet!
Have to say...I actually prefer this version to the GAZ-MM, there's just something more 'meaty' about it's appearance. Maybe it's that rear wheel arrangement! Whatever the reason, it's surely to be another winner from MiniArt. Great engineering, great moulding, great choice of subject and an overall great package!
My thanks to MiniArt for the review sample!