|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The UAZ-469 is an all-terrain vehicle manufactured by UAZ. It was used by Soviet and other Warsaw Pact forces, as well as paramilitary units in Eastern Bloc countries. In the Soviet Union, it also saw widespread service in all state organizations that needed a robust off-road vehicle. Standard military versions include seating for seven personnel.
The UAZ-469 was introduced in 1973, replacing the earlier GAZ-69. The UAZ-469 presented two great advantages: It was able to drive in virtually any terrain and it was very easy to fix. The UAZ-469 reached legendary status for its reliability and off-road ability. The vehicle was not available for purchase by the public, but many were sold as surplus to private owners.
Modifications include a basic UAZ-469B with ground clearance of 220 mm, and a specialized military UAZ-469, with ground clearance increased to 300 mm. Since 1985, due to new industry designation standards, they were renamed: the UAZ-469 became the UAZ-3151, while the UAZ-469B became the UAZ-31512. Manufacture of UAZ-31512 for the Russian Army continues, while the manufacture for civilian market is discontinued due to new emission standards. However, the currently manufactured UAZ Hunter is only an updated version of old UAZ-469B.
It seems as if the latest trend in military vehicle kits is soft skins and wheeled vehicles. This one falls into the first category and is the first kit of which I am aware of this vehicle in this scale. Some of us would call this a Soviet 'jeep' and in that case it would be pretty close to the truth. Like many kits of these sorts of small trucks, it is complete with an engine. In fact, the engine, transmission and cooling system make up a considerable portion of the parts count.
The kit comes with a one-piece frame in which to place the engine and to attach the driveline and suspension bits. The photo etch fret is used throughout the build with some bits for the rear jerry can holders, some for the engine, some in the firewall and others used on the outside of the vehicle.
The inside of the body such as it is, is nicely done with separate front seats and a rear three person bench seat. All of the controls for the driver are provided, including the transfer case selectors. A decal is provided for the dash instruments and lights. The tail gate is a separate piece, but I am not sure if it can be displayed down. Also separate are the four doors, again, shown closed. There are separate door interiors with separate handles and the windows and windscreen are also separate. The kit comes with a canvas top with only a modicum of internal structure. The four tires are all very nicely formed rubber items. A separate hood is provided with etched handles and latches.
Instructions are clearly drawn with additional detail areas to help with assembly. There are three markings options. One is an overall Olive Green version with big red stars on the doors, similar to what is shown on the box art. Next is a Czech version with large black areas over the green. The third is in a pattern of Green, Blue-Grey, and Brown. No specific unit information is provided with any of the markings options. The white star decal with the number 5 in it is not shown on the guide. A range of color manufacturers is provided to help with painting.
Despite the relatively small size of the vehicle, this kit has a ton of detail packed in the box. The completed model will be a real beauty and should fit right in with any display of modern military vehicles. Those who specifically like wheeled military vehicles will want one of these as will those who like to paint theirs as being used by civilians who have bought these second hand.
Thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. You can get yours at your local hobby shop or on-line retailer.
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