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Pick Up w/ZPU-1

Meng 1/35 Pick Up w/ZPU-1 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2012 Manufacturer Meng
Subject Pick Up w/ZPU-1 Scale 1/35
Kit Number VS001 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Interesting subject Cons See text
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $39.99

First Look


When civil war or wars of resistance happen, civilian and paramilitary fighters usually find themselves having to improvise to create an effective combat capability. In Libya for example, regular troops that hastily withdraw from an area will leave a variety of items behind that can be (and are) used by the remaining opposition forces. One such phenomenon is the installation of a pintle in the bed of a Toyota, Nissan, (or whatever) pick-up truck and mounting a 12.7mm DShK or .50 caliber M2 machine gun (or similar weapon) to create a highly mobile fighting vehicle similar to the SAS Jeeps that roamed North Africa during World War 2. Some of these trucks are also adapted to provide air defense protection against enemy helicopters and fixed-wing attack aircraft.

A popular gun installation is the ZPU gun mount with either a single 14.4mm KPV machine gun (ZPU-1) or or two KPV machine guns (ZPU-2). These vehicles are euphemistically called 'technical vehicles' as they are normal civilian utility vehicles that are user-modified for combat - the ultimate 'boom box'.

Meng is a model company based in Hong Kong, China and has released an interesting new range of kits for subjects that have never been produced in plastic before. One of these is this 'technical vehicle' in 1/35 scale.

The kit is molded in styrene and presented on a four trees (three in black, one in silver) plus a clear tree with the windows and light lenses. Also included is the truck cab molded in white styrene, five rubber (vinyl) tires, and two small frets of black-painted photo-etched parts.

The kit represents a crew cab (four door) Toyota Hi-Lux Pickup Truck, a ZPU-1 gun mount, one seated resistance fighter figure, and an M82 sniper rifle. You can build these together into a technical vehicle or use the gun mount and truck for two different purposes, your call. It's almost a shame this is molded in 1/35 scale as the 1/25 scale car guys would probably enjoy this Toyota truck.

The kit has some nice features and options:

  • Detailed chassis, powertrain, and suspension
  • Detailed truck cab interior
  • Side windows are not positionable without some careful surgery
  • Chrome parts are not chromed (yes!) so you can clean these up and use your favorite metalizer (Alclad II) to chrome those parts you want to not be rusted, worn out, painted, or whatever
  • Truck bed has positionable tail gate
  • Optional roll bar for the truck bed including photo-etched mounts
  • Photo-etched mud flaps
  • Complete ZPU gun mount with photo-etched sights and mounting base

Since the ZPU mount wasn't exactly designed for the Toyota truck bed, two of its legs extend out onto the truck's tailgate. Due to the confined spaces, the gun mount can only be pivoted several degrees left and right of rear center (a tail gun for a pick-up truck).

A generic set of letters and numbers are provided along with the compulsory 4WD markings and the instrument cluster for the dashboard.

While some folks might want to have one of these in full-scale for the 'end of the world', modelers will enjoy having something unique like this to replicate a Middle East hot spot with one of these parked next to a burned out T-55. Like the full-scale trucks, what you do with this truck is limited only by your imagination.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!