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SDV Tatra 813 4x4 Tractor

SDV 1/87 Tatra 813 4x4 Tractor Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review December 2006 Manufacturer SDV
Subject Tatra 813 4x4 Tractor Scale 1/87
Kit Number 87052 Primary Media 81 parts (39 in olive green styrene, 32 in black styrene, 10 clear styrene)
Pros Different tractor to use with both military or civilian cargo trailers, many options with this kit Cons Old-fashioned molds (normal for small run kits) may be hard to work with
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) Approx $10.71

First Look

Unlike many western truck manufacturers, many European companies come up with one good design for specific engine and transmission combinations, as well as wheel arrangements, and then offer them in whatever combinations the customer needs. This is common with companies such as Daimler Benz, MAN, KaMAZ, and Tatra, among many others. One of the best known of these families are the Tatra 813 series trucks, which come in 4 x 2, 4x4, 6 x 6 and 8 x 8 arrangements among many others.

This kit is SDV's offering of the dedicated military tractor for heavy semi-trailers, the Tatra 813 4x4 variant. These trucks are semi-rear area ones as it is hard to move a semi-trailer cross country, but permits moving heavy palletized or containerized cargoes close to the combat units; they are often seen towing heavy bulk fuel tankers as well.

SDV's kit is a "limited run" kit, so it is designed to be offered by a small manufacturer and in some cases the molding seem a bit crude. However, with care and careful cleanup, the kits build up into neat replicas of vehicles not offered by other manufacturers such as ROCO or Kibri. This kit uses some of the conventions that Kibri does, such as snap-on axles for the wheels, but provides a wide variety of nice bits such as individual headlights, driving lights and taillights – 8 in all.

Construction requires a number of subassemblies so care will need to be taken with cutting the parts from the sprues as well as assembly.

No markings or painting instructions are included, but as with many HO scale vehicles the model comes molded in the correct colors for each part so painting is not expected. Some logical finish points can add to its appearance or painting the parts the colors they come in on the sprues will help give them a more realistic finish.

The directions are in Czech and German, but some monkey-see-monkey-do "international" flags cover the basic points in the directions, and there are not a fistful of parts at stake here, so it should be sufficient to get a clean job of assembly.

Overall, this is a handy little beast for HO scalers and with a suitable trailer should be a nice addition to either an HO model railway or wargame army.

Thanks to Jan Podubecky for the review sample.