The GAZ-233014, commonly referred to as the Gaz Tiger, has come onto the scale model scene this year with a big bang. First there was the Meng kit and now with the Xact Scale Models
release. The popularity of both kits has certainly been aided by the recent events in the Ukraine, specifically Crimea. We are even now seeing companies like Black Dog release figure sets specifically for "The Incident." While I will comment in a general way as to my thoughts on this kit compared to the Meng, I'm going to spend the majority of my time speaking to this particular kit's strong and weak points.
Not knowing much about Xact Scale Models
, they are a relatively new company, I didn't really know what to expect in the way of boxing, instructions, quality of plastic etc. So, when I first received the kit I was highly impressed. As you will see, the box is of medium size and shape and fairly well packed. All of the kit's contents (Full List Below) were nicely bagged and wrapped. The first thing that struck me was the sheer number of parts in the box.
The kit consists of the following:
- A very well produced 21 Page Instruction Booklet which depicts three (3) different vehicles. The build is made up of a total of 46 build steps
- 5 Very high quality vinyl/rubber tires. I have to qualify my next statement by first explaining I have not built a wheeled vehicle in the last 4 years without buying resin replacement tires. These are the absolute best quality kit tires I've come across. The color of the rubber is excellent in 1/35th scale, the sidewall details are represented, and there is no awkward seam-line to deal with
- Decal sheet providing excellent reproduction of the camouflage interior, Russian Stars, license plates, and other markings. All are very well done and the carrier film doesn't seem to be overly thick or cloudy
- Two frets of Photo Etch. I was more than pleased to see the seat belts included, along with the mud flaps which, in my opinion, always look better in PE than in plastic
- Pre-Cut foil type stickers for the side mirrors. I was so excited to see these because I have never seen a production kit include these in the box and it makes painting and finishing the model a lot easier
- 3 Clear Part sprues which contain absolutely zero distortion. All the lenses, lights, indicators, etc are produced in very fine detail
- 11 Dark Green sprues providing exquisitely well produced details. My jaw just about hit the floor when I realized the amount of detail included. Multi-part chassis, complete engine and drive train, impeccable suspension, full interior compartment with amazing seat details. I could write 1,000 words just on everything that's included
- Last but not least, the vehicle body. I have to say, I've never seen it done this way before. What you get is the sides of the body with a separate roof and engine hood. There are a few pin marks to be taken out but it shouldn't be any problem because everything is so open and easily accessed
So, after taking everything out of the box, reading the instructions, and inspecting the parts carefully I have to say this is the most detailed wheeled vehicle kit I've seen.
Now, depending on what kind of modeler you are this could be a very good thing, or a bad thing. As the kit consists of 46 build steps, there will be a lot involved. It is not a kit that can be built in a few hours and then ready for paint. Sub-assemblies will have to be built and dry fitted, painted separately and then put together. Again, if you like to build detailed models this could be the kit for you.
Along those lines, the biggest differences I see between this kit and the Meng, are the fully detailed engine, drive train, suspension, multi-part body, and the finer interior details. If you are looking for a quicker build that doesn't provide all the details the Meng kit may be for you, but I really cannot say enough great things about this kit.
Adam Phillips Build Log