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Ya-12 Soviet Artillery Tractor Early Production

MiniArt 1/35 Ya-12 Soviet Artillery Tractor Early Production Build Review

By Dave Manter

Date of Review February 2013 Manufacturer MiniArt
Subject Ya-12 Soviet Artillery Tractor Early Production Scale 1/35
Kit Number 35052 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros First kit of this vehicle in styrene; compliments Soviet corps-level artillery pieces Cons Nothing major noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $81.95


The Ya-12 light artillery tractor was developed by NATI designers and launched at the Yaroslavskiy Avtomobilniy Zavod Automobile Plant. They developed the YA-11 tractor first but could not produce the required quantity of engines and production had to be stopped.

In 1943 the Soviet Union had received large quantities of the U.S. made GMC-4-71 4 cylinder 110 hp engine under the Lend Lease Contract. The availability of these engines allowed for a renewed production of the Ya-11 design under the new designation Ya-12. Production started in 1943 and ran until the end of the war. Production reached 1660 units.

The Kit

For a look at the kit out of the box, check our first-look here.

The Build

Construction begins with the very well detailed engine. There are seven steps for this alone. Detail is very good and fit is great. Paint colors are called out during construction. Seam lines are very fine and cleanup is fast and easy. No issues were encountered.

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Steps 8 thru 13 have you constructing the workable torsion bars. You will need to be extremely careful with you assembly here if you want the suspension to work. The glue points are very small.

Ya-12 Ya-12

Steps 13 thru 21 have you constructing the main chassis. This is built up of the torsion bar units and side plates. The construction is straight forward. If you follow each step carefully, the chassis squares itself up as you build it. MiniArt has really engineered this kit well. The details provided are amazing! All of the steering linkages and the transmission linkages are provided. Some of the parts are incredibly fine and I used a razor saw to remove them from the trees so as not to break anything. Take your time here, it will pay off.

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Steps 22 and 23 have you assemble the cab. Again fit is really great here. No filler was required. I would recommend attaching parts D29 to the chassis first and then working them up through the floor boards as they are near impossible to connect afterwards (ask me how I know!).


Steps 27 thru 30 have you adding the final details on the chassis and cab. Fit is great and the tractor really starts to come to life at this point. The instructions have you add the track links at this point. They call for 87 links per side, but that left me about 3 links short. There are extras in the kit so this is not a big deal. The track links are supposed to click together and be workable. After trying several links I ended up just gluing mine on.

Steps 31 thru 41 have you construct the cargo bed. The molded in wood grain is the best that I have seen. It really stands out after painting and weathering. Fit here again is near perfect.

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Step 42 is the final step and it has you adding the cargo bed and the front fenders plus a few final details. You do get the option of a canvas top or an open cargo bed. Nice touch!

Painting and Markings

You get the choice of overall green or overall green! I base coated my kit with a mix of Tamiya XF-4 Yellow Green and XF-58 Olive Green in a 50/50 mix. I then added some Xf-57 Buff to lighten the base color and sprayed a cloud pattern in the center of each panel.

The tracks and rubber parts of the road wheels were painted with my scale black mix of XF-1 Flat Black and XF-64 Red Brown. Marking were applied at this point.

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Weathering began with a filter of P244 Green from Mig Productions. This unifies the base coats and evens out the fade coat. Once dry, I applied a pin wash around all of the detail with AK 045 Dark Brown from AK Interactive. If you have not tried this stuff, run don't walk to get some. This stuff works perfectly every time with no mixing on your part. Once this was dry, I picked out some raised details with a light green color, just to add a little more depth to the base color.

The final step was to mix up some pigments and thinner and apply to the chassis and running gear. I then "splattered" some mud up the back and under the front. I did this by blowing some air through a brush full of the pigment mix.

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A very highly detailed kit of a new and interesting subject from MiniArt! Construction is complicated due to the number of parts, but the kit is engineered in such a way that it goes together very well. It is great to be able to get this kind of detail out of a kit without the need to add aftermarket sets. Well done MiniArt!

Highly recommended!

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!