M925 Shelter Truck
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
TOKO has now followed up on its very nice GAZ-AA kit with a version of the 6 x 4 GAZ-AAA truck.
The Soviets fell in love with the very simple and sturdy Ford Model AA truck, and liked the GAZ-AA copy that they made of the American vehicle. However, they felt that a 6 x 4 was more useful considering the state of Russian roads, and thus NAMI -- The Automotive Scientific Research Center -- went to work on a version of the popular truck with twin rear axles. They found the answer with Timken axles, also from the US, and the vehicle entered production as the "Ford-Timken" due to the base vehicles. This was later changed to GAZ-AAA, and with the ZIS-6 and YaG-10, served throughout World War II as a standard cargo vehicle.
The GAZ-AAA was little changed from the GAZ-AA, as it kept the same dimensions, cab, and body, but was slightly heavier and slower. It was capable of handling 2,000 kilograms of cargo in normal circumstances, or 33% more than the GAZ-AA, and could carry up to 2,500 kilograms on roads. The vehicle entered service with the RKKA (Workers and Peasants Red Army) in 1934, and nearly 38,000 were built by the end of 1943 when the truck was phased out of production. The chassis was used with minor modifications for the BA-6 and BA-10 armored cars, as well as a number of modifications and special purpose vehicles.
Like the AA version, this includes either a reasonably well done erect "tent" (tarpaulin) for the cargo body, or four very spartan troop seats which sit crossways in the European fashion of the times. It comes with a nice little four cylinder engine, and as before, you have to cut the hood sections open for display. The directions are very clear and also include a nice painting chart which keys to Humbrol paint colors, a good idea for those of us in the west and one which should help out a number of modelers. However, again, no decals or registration numbers are included. This is a shame, for there are a number of pictures extant of these with fairly complex markings. I have one which has bright color blazons for the sides of the body which read "Auto Column of Klim Voroshilov", a subscription purchase of at least 20 of the trucks for the war effort.
Some of the parts, such as the clear sections, are not used, and appear to go with later van kits, as well as the 12th tire assembly. Most of the kit is identical to the AA, but with a new "I" sprue that contains the extra pair of dual wheels and the driveline components needed for the AAA, plus a modified chassis with different spring locations.
The box art shows the truck apparently chasing pigeons on a dark street! However, it is very similar to the artwork on the AA box, and the script and layout are also identical which means that you need to check on which is which in a store to get the right one (AA - 4 x 2, AAA 6 x 4). Also, note that the US armed forces used the Ford Model AA, but the AAA was a purely Soviet version. You may wish to use the AAA chassis with the body of either the of the Commanders BA-6 or BA-10 kits, as it is far more detailed and easier to build up.
Overall, this is likewise a nice effort, with a good deal of potential.
Cookie Sewell AMPS
Review Copyright © 1999 by Cookie