Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
Kits of Soviet and Russian trucks are now starting to appear on the market in increasing numbers, and in the last few years we have seen kits of the postwar GAZ-66 and Ural-4320, plus kits of the WWII era ZIS-5 and ZIS-6 come out of the former Soviet Union. Now this kit, another one from the increasing number of excellent companies in the Ukraine, has appeared on another of the popular workhorse trucks from the Great Patriotic War, the GAZ-AA.
The first mass produced truck in the Soviet Union, the GAZ-AA was a "Russified" version of the Ford Model AA light truck from the early 1930s. The name of the kit "Polutorka" is an affectionate Russian nickname for A one-and-a-half ton truck, which was the rating of the GAZ-AA on the highway. While the tires may seem very skinny, remember this is a non-tactical Vehicle (or so it was thought) and a 4 x 2 chassis, so they are not required to put up with heavy punishment.
The kit is an excellent little model, as the original was not a large truck, and it is a nice compliment to the SDS/FORT ZIS-5 trucks also produced in the Ukraine. (Note that the ZIS-5 was a two-ton class truck, and the ZIS-6 with its extra axle a three-tonner.) It nicely captures the crude but efficient approach to motorization that the Red Army took in the 1930s, and fills the bill as a troop transport. The kit 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, but for some odd reason, TOKO left the main part of the hood as one piece so the hood will not come off to display it! At least they have included cut lines on the interior of the hood (part E13) so you can do this if you are so inclined. 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, no decals or registration numbers are included. At least a number of sorts should be painted on the tailgate (such as two numbers two numbers two letters), but few other markings are needed or used.
Some of the parts, such as the clear sections, are not used, and appear to go with later van kits. The oddity of this kit is that it is numbered as product 122, but on the side of the box are two other kits, the GAZ-AAA 6 x 4 truck with longer body, and the GAZ-MM, an improved version of the GAZ-AA. The AAA is listed as kit 123, but the MM is listed as 122. While a really minor point, it makes it hard to figure out what the manufacturer intends to release in the future!
The box art shows one good use for the truck as part of the convoys that plied Lake Ladoga in the winters of 1942 and 1943 to help supply the city of Leningrad during the 900 day siege.
Overall, a nice first effort and a really neat little kit.
Review Copyright © 1999 by Cookie Sewell