UM 1/48 Quadruple Maxim AA MG on GAZ-AAA chassis  

KIT #: 511
PRICE:  $16.95 from
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New Mold kit. 178 parts includes photo etch fret.


In May 1929 the Soviet Union signed an agreement with the Ford Motor Company. Under its terms, the Soviets agreed to purchase $13 million worth of automobiles and parts, while Ford agreed to give technical assistance until 1938 to construct an integrated automobile-manufacturing plant at Nizhny Novgorod. Production started on January 1, 1932, and the factory and marque was titled Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod, or GAZ, but also displayed the "Ford" sign. GAZ's first vehicle was the medium-priced Ford Model A, sold as the GAZ- A, and a light truck, the Ford Model AA (GAZ-AA). GAZ-A production commenced in 1932 and lasted until 1936, during which time over 100,000 examples were built.

Many American engineers and skilled auto workers moved to the Soviet Union to work at GAZ. Hundreds of American workers stayed on after the plant's completion in 1932, often with their families. They had to deliver their American passports, and within a few years became victims of Stalin's Great Terror, either shot or exiled to Soviet gulags. Attempts of these Americans to their embassy to help them were rebuffed or ignored. A notable survivor of these expatriates was Viktor Herman (look it up).

The GAZ-AAA was a 6x4 truck that was built from 1934 to 1943 and was pretty much the standard military truck of the Soviet Army.


1/48 armor/vehicle kits seem to be the coming thing for the ground military modeler. Of course, the aircraft folks will appreciate having things in this scale for dioramas as they have so often been left searching for things or buying expensive resin kits. This is the first of the UM 1/48 kits I've seen though judging from the kit number it is not their first.

As UM has done several GAZ trucks in 1/72, it is understandable that they'd move up with some of these subjects. This one is molded in their usual green styrene and includes vinyl tires, an acetate sheet for the windows, and an etched brass fret for some of the smaller and finer bits and pieces. I might as well cover the decal sheet at this time. It is on a purple background and is apparently generic to all GAZ-AAA based kits as only one option is shown in the instructions.

First of all, this is not a curbside. In fact, it is quite detailed as the large number of small parts indicates. There is a complete engine, transmission and exhaust system. The chassis of the truck is particularly complex with most of the overall construction going into getting this part of things built. One will have to pay attention to what is going on as the instruction, though well illustrated, are a tad 'crowded' in sections, making it easy to miss something. Most of the bodywork is made up of relatively flat sections, aside from the fenders and hood. Means pretty straightforward construction. The bed is also comprised of flat pieces molded to look like wooden planks. The detailing here is very good and I was pleased to see no ejector pin marks in these pieces. In fact, there wasn't really that much in the way of marks. Sure, they are there, like on the inside of the engine cover, but they are generally easy to remove or fill. Even the leaf spring assemblies were without them.

Once the truck itself is done, the quad A-A gun assembly needs to be built. This is going to take a bit of careful construction as the parts on this are small. Once done, it can them be glued in place. The sides of the bed can be dropped if one so desires. No color information is provided for the overall scheme, though I assume Russian military green would be the one. There is color info for the assembly sequences and is provided for Humbrol references. Decal sheet is well printed, but my experience with UM decals in the past has been mixed so it is a good thing that most of these trucks had no distinguishing markings.  


Overall, a neat kit and one that should appeal to modelers of all sorts, including the military types, aircraft diorama fans and those who just like building trucks.


May 2009

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