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ZIS-42

Fort 1/35 ZIS-42 Soviet WWII Halftrack Truck Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review January 2006 Manufacturer Fort
Subject ZIS-42 Soviet WWII Halftrack Truck Scale 1/35
Kit Number 35005 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Unique subject Cons  
Skill Level Basic MSRP (AU$) $23.40

First Look

ZIS-42
ZIS-42
ZIS-42
ZIS-42
ZIS-42
ZIS-42
ZIS-42
ZIS-42
ZIS-42

During the first few days of WWII the Soviet Army lost a large number of various cars and trucks. Although almost all cars and trucks in the Soviet Union were taken over by the Red Army, it still was not enough to replace the lost ones. The most needed was a medium light-weight truck of simple and reliable construction.

Engineers of the ZIS factory in Moscow tried to find a solution in the re-engineering of existing ZIS-5’s. The goal was to reduce production time and resources to produce a reliable truck. Research resulted in a truck based on the chassis of the original ZIS-5 with a wooden cab and cargo space. The engineering effort, to save material, resulted also in reducing the number of headlights to just one. The converted truck was known as the ZIS-5V. Production started at the Uljanovsk factory in 1942. The ZIS-5V was later produced in Moscow too. Large numbers of different variants were based on the original ZIS-5V, like a mobile repair vehicle, an ambulance and a fuel truck etc.

A half-track cargo truck (subject of this kit) was produced on the basis of the ZIS-5V. It was designated as the ZIS-42. It’s 415 mm wide rubber tracks were equipped with metal shoes. Brakes with a mechanical drive, acted on the back driving axle, from which the turning torque was conveyed to the driving sprockets of the tracks by means of two chains.

Due to the fact that the ZIS-42M version consumed 55 to 60 liters of fuel per 100 km traveled on roads, the trucks were equipped with a 300 liter capacity fuel tank.

The ZIS-42M was the result of modernization of the ZIS-42. It was produced in 1942 –1943, and had a more powerful ZIS-16 engine and a number of small improvements (for example: a protective style grill in front of the radiator and headlight). From 1942 until 1944 production of ZIS-42 and ZIS-42M trucks amounted to 5,931 pieces.

The kit comes in a very sturdy tray and lid type box. The box art shows 2 ZIS-42’s traveling down a snow-covered road through a forest. A side panel shows 3 other ZIS truck variants marketed by Fort: a fully wheeled version, an ambulance (which I also have), and a fuel truck.

The kit contains 4 large, 1 medium, and 2 small gray parts trees. There is also a tree of clear parts, 3 black styrene tires (2 are for the front axle and the third is a spare tire) and the black vinyl rubber-band type tracks. The decal sheet and instructions complete the contents. All the parts were in one common cello bag.

The instructions consist of a single sheet that is folded in the center to create 4 pages.

Page 1 of the instructions begins with a history of the vehicle in Ukranian and English, followed by the parts tree drawings. Some parts are X’d out on these drawings, indicating that they are excess or not needed to complete this kit.

Page 2 through the top of page 4 gives us a total of 9 assembly steps.

The bottom of page 4 gives a two view drawing for painting and decal applications. There are 3 marking choices shown. However, these are only changes in serial numbers that go on the cab doors and the rear of the truck. The color called out to use, overall, is khaki. I disagree with this and think it should say dark green, the usual color used on most WWII Soviet equipment.

The parts trees have no alphabetic label or part numbers molded on them. For the part numbers you have to keep referring to the parts tree drawings on the instructions. This is time consuming and a bad move by Fort.

The first large tree of parts holds the front fenders, the frame, front wheel parts, leaf springs, steering wheel, rear axle etc. (37 parts) Six of these parts are marked as being excess/not needed on the parts tree drawings.

The second large tree of parts holds the cab parts, hood parts, engine, radiator, exhaust system, drive shaft, front axle etc. (33 parts) Four of these parts are marked as excess.

The third large tree of parts holds all the wood cargo bed parts (13 parts). Two of these parts are excess.

The fourth large tree of parts holds the road wheels, drive sprockets and the housings for the rear track apparatus (42 parts).

The medium sized tree of parts holds the radiator grill, 2 ski-tubs (that fit under the front tires to turn the truck into a virtual snow-mobile…neat!) etc. (20 parts).

2 more small gray trees hold sections of the canvas cover that goes over the rear cargo bed (5 parts).

The small clear parts tree holds a headlight lens and the cab windows (5 parts).

The final parts are the 3 black styrene tires and the vinyl rubber band type tracks.

I intend to build this truck, with the ski tubs under the front tires, on a base with some railroad snow on it. However, I will have to find a driver figure as none is provided in the kit. Some cargo in the bed, if the tarp is not used, would look good too.

This kit is crisply molded with no flash in evidence anywhere. I recommend it to any Soviet WWII subject modeler.

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