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ChTZ S-65 Tractor

Trumpeter 1/35 ChTZ S-65 Tractor Kit First Look

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review March 2012 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject ChTZ S-65 Tractor Scale 1/35
Kit Number 5538 Primary Media Styrene, photo-etch
Pros Nicely detailed kit Cons No engine
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $46.95

First Look

ChTZ S-65 Tractor
ChTZ S-65 Tractor
ChTZ S-65 Tractor

Before the outbreak of the Great Patriotic War (WWII), the ChTZ factory was producing heavy machinery including tractors. One such tractor was the S-65 which is a heavy-duty tracked machine that can effectively tow heavy loads across soft terrain. The S-65 was produced in large numbers for the Soviet Army for towing its heavy artillery pieces before the war shifted their priorities to tank production.

Trumpeter has been producing several tow vehicles to support the impressive range of heavy artillery in their kit line-up. Here is their S-65, which in another company's hands would have been a couple of parts trees and a set of vinyl tracks to render this beast. Instead, Trumpeter has rendered this tractor in very high fidelity with the usual high parts-count.

Molded in light gray styrene, the kit is presented on eight parts trees plus 13 trees of individual track links molded in rust color, one tree of clear parts, and a small fret of photo-etched parts.

The kit provides some very intricate detailing in the running gear and tracks. I'm not sure how much of this will really be visible after assembly, but you and your maker will both know how much detail is in there.

The transmission is also nicely detailed and the chassis frame is built up around it. Part of this transmission and frame also includes the underside of the diesel engine. A highly detailed radiator complete with hoses and fan shroud mount to the front of this frame. Unfortunately there is no engine detail inside that huge hood. The doors are positionable (or can be left off) but you'd be looking at dead air in there. This is odd given the rest of this detailing!

The driver/operator's platform has a complete set of hand and foot controls. This kit is the 'convertible' version and from some of the photos I've seen of this tractor, there may be an enclosed cab version that will be good for the harsh Russian winters.

This is an incredibly detailed model of a tow tractor and there are lots of possibilities for using this tractor in a nice diorama or vignette (as depicted on the box art, for example) though I'm a bit mystified why there is no engine in there. Nevertheless, you can have some fun with this project and build it in Russian green or captured German gray.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International and Squadron Mail Order for this review copy!