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MAZ-537G

Trumpeter 1/35 MAZ-537G (Intermediate Type) with MAZ/ChMZAP-5247G Trailer Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2008 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject MAZ-537G (Intermediate Type) with MAZ/ChMZAP-5247G Trailer Scale 1/35
Kit Number 0211 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Excellent detailing Cons  
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $149.95

First Look

MAZ-537G
MAZ-537G
MAZ-537G
MAZ-537G
MAZ-537G
MAZ-537G
MAZ-537G
MAZ-537G
MAZ-537G
MAZ-537G
MAZ-537G
MAZ-537G

As armor experts will tell you, tanks are relatively short-range vehicles. Their prime mode of movement, tracks, provide good mobility in a wide range of adverse terrain, but a tank takes more time to get from point A to point B under its own power, and the wear on the tank moving itself results in more maintenance problems, usually at times when you can't afford a broken down tank.

During World War II, tanks were transported by ship to their theater of operation, and either transported by truck or rail when moving behind the front lines. After the war, as good roads became common in Europe, and the last thing you want is a tank rolling over your nice smooth roads, tank transporters became more common.

For the former Soviet Union, the Armies of the 1960s needed greater mobility to get armor into potential hot spots to defend against an armored incursion. The MAZ-537G was developed as an on/off-road capable prime mover that featured all eight wheels powered (8 x 8) with the front two axles steerable. This provided this prime mover with excellent pulling power and mobility.

The MAZ-537G can carry a 15 ton load on its own chassis, or pull a trailer with a load of 75 tons. Three trailers are commonly used with the MAZ: the two-axle ChMZAP-5247G with a length of 3.38 meters and a capacity of 50 tons, the three-axle ChMZAP-5208 with a length of 7.48 meters and a capacity of 40 tons, and the four-axle ChMZAP-5215 with a length of 8.85 meters and a capacity of 60 tons. The vehicle was so successful that 40 years later, it remains in service as a prime mover.

Now who thought a model company would turn out a tank transporter as a main stream styrene kit? Okay, Tamiya did render the M26 Dragon Wagon in 1/35 scale and it was a huge (in more ways than one) success. Trumpeter was next with the Chinese tank transporter, and now we have the MAZ-537G, one of the most common tank haulers in the former eastern block countries, but little known to the western modeler. Trumpeter is definitely not shy about tackling awesome projects and this is a very fine example. This is kit 0211, the previous serialed kit, 0210, was the Br 52 Kriegslokomotive which was another of their impressive large models.

The kit is presented on 10 parts trees molded in light gray styrene, one tree of styrene clear parts, one separately molded crew cab, one separately molded engine housing, and one separately molded trailer platform. Two different sizes of rubber tire are provided with nine of each included in the kit (16 for the axles and two spare tires). Four frets of photo-etched parts are included along with a set of die-cut window masks to make the job of painting this beast easier. According to the specs, there are 537 parts in this box, 492 of them in styrene.

Construction begins with the crew cab and the introduction of these window masks to protect the windshield and side windows. This is a very nice touch out of the box. The photo-etched instrument panel is brass, but the Trumpeter folks have been paying attention to Eduard with their multi-layered instrument panels as they've etched instrument faces onto the main panel with bezel covers that laminate over the main panel to create the depth. If Trumpeter ever figures out how to color print their photo-etch, watch out!

Next comes the chassis frame and drive train. Anyone parking this model on a mirror will have lots to see underneath this beauty. The suspension is added next and this too is well done. It would have been interesting if Trumpeter had made the front axles steerable (or positionable) but you can do a few mods to the stock front end to pose the wheels yourself should you want to.

The cab, engine housing, fuel tanks, fenders, wheels, and a few other details round out assembly of the prime mover.

Next comes the ChMZAP trailer. This release has the two-axle trailer that will be ideal for moving the upcoming Trumpeter T-62 tanks or your existing Tamiya T-55/T-62/T-72 tanks. Assembly of the trailer is straightforward and offers a few options. You can build your loading ramps movable, and you can pose the forward jacks up or down to depict the trailer hitched up to the prime mover or free-standing.

On a model this huge, there are two small decals provided. With as many operating stencils and placards this vehicle had, in a wide range of languages depending on which country's MAZ you're depicting, you have an opportunity to create your own look.

You might think this to be a bit difficult due to the lack of published information on this vehicle, but you'd be surprised at what you'll find online. As I was Googling the MAZ to get enough information for this review, I found several videos about this vehicle on YouTube, so I not only saw the vehicle in action, I also saw the smoke (the exhausts are not placed very nicely for city traffic) and heard the engine.

Trumpeter has done an amazing job on this project and I must say that while it might not be the first thing on the average modeler's project list, it will be a great way to display your favorite Soviet-era main battle tank! This won't be a difficult build, and in fact since this is a model of a working vehicle (read 'dirty'), then the monotone green will be an excellent backdrop for trying out a variety of weathering techniques to see how well you can busy up a single color. I've seen it done and it can be quite impressive without being overwhelming.

This kit is definitely recommended to the Soviet/Warsaw Pact or even contemporary Russian Federation armor modeler!

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!

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