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GAZ-66 Command Post

Eastern Express

 

S u m m a r y

Stock Number and Description Eastern Express 1/35 Scale Kit No. 35134; GAZ-66 Command Post
Media and Contents: 103 in black styrene, 8 clear styrene plastic, 5 vinyl tires, 1 sheet of vacuformed styrene parts, 1 strip of clear styrene
Price: MSRP USD$24-$33
Scale: 1/35
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: Good truck kit re-released by larger company insures wider availability
Disadvantages: Some annoying mold sinks or incomplete plastic injection; use of vacuform body moldings is retrograde move not indicated on the box; will require advanced skills for best results; only markings included are Civilian!
Recommendation: Recommended with Reservations for all softskin and radio van fans

 

Reviewed by Cookie Sewell


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F i r s t L o o k

 

The GAZ is the current light standard truck of the Russian Armed Forces, and while similar in size to the popular Unimog 1700 series and rated as a 2 metric ton vehicle, is used in much the same way as the US uses its 1 1/4 ton series trucks or the UK 110" wheelbase Land Rovers. It was developed in the mid 1960s to replace the older GAZ-63 series light cargo trucks, and combined its cab-over-engine design with a similar size chassis to create a very useful and reliable truck. While basically out of production now, it is still in widespread use in the former USSR states and many of the former Soviet client states.

One of the many variants used by the Soviet Army and many of their client states was the R-142 radio van or command post. Mounted in an all-metal box body commonly called a "KUNG" (apparently from kuzov upravleniya i nablyudatel'nikh gruppy or "Command and Observation Group Body) these vehicles were used for command and control at battalion and above in units not authorized the armored BTR-60 R-145BM vehicle. It usually held three or more VHF radio sets, one HF radio set, and an HF receiver, along with power supply generators, crypto machines, and office space for the crew.

I don't mind buying pre-established "conversion" kits, but I do when the manufacturer pulls a fast one and does not give any warning of his sleight of hand.

This kit takes very nicely done GAZ-66 from Scale Ltd. whose molds are now owned by Eastern Express and combines them with a single sheet of vacuformed plastic that the modeler must use to form the body of the vehicle. The sheet is somewhat scarred and pitted on both sides, not signs of a well-done mold.

The modeler gets no interior parts for the vehicle, which is a shame as it would be a great centerpiece of a diorama or just by itself if it had anything there. Not only that, the modeler is also left to his own devices on providing the two parts of the CLOTHES HORSE HF antenna for the top of the body.

As for markings, it provides decals for two variants but only one is covered in any detail: a mobile command post belong to the Ministry of Emergency Situations, a paramilitary organization roughly equivalent to Civil Defense in the US. If you want a military version, use the black license plates (2) and the white trim (17) on the rear of the body.

Overall, this kit is as big a disappointment to me as the Italeri M925 with shelter kit was, and it's about the same level (or lack thereof) in detail.

Cookie Sewell
AMPS


Review Copyright 2003 by Cookie Sewell
Page Created 23 February, 2003
Last updated 15 August, 2003

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