by: Gino P. Quintiliani [ ]
The GAZ-66 is a Russian 4x4 all-road (off road) military truck produced by GAZ starting in 1964. It was the main transport vehicle for the Soviet Army’s Motorized Infantry Regiments and is still employed by many Former Soviet States. It is nicknamed Shishiga (Russian for Trueman). The GAZ-66 has gained legendary status in many countries around the world due to its reliability, simplicity and off-road capability. Thanks to standard features such as a front mounted winch, Central Tire Inflation System (CTIS) and self-locking differentials, the GAZ-66 is extremely popular with armed forces all around the world as well as off-road enthusiasts. Production ceased in 1999, with the GAZ-3308 being produced instead.
The sturdy cardboard box contains 8 main sprues in light gray plastic; a small decal sheet of markings for one vehicle; 5 soft rubber tires; 3 small PE fret; a bag w/a sprue of clear parts; a one-piece molded cargo bed canvas, and a small sheet of acetate windows for the canvas cover. All the above items are individually bagged to keep them from being damaged during shipping. The multi-fold, 33 step instruction manual and a color Paint & Markings guide for 1 vehicle rounds out the box.
The instructions are clearly written and have good illustrations for parts placement location. The assembly steps follow a logical sequence of a very detailed engine; detail items for the cab, and the cab itself; the cargo bed with the option of exposed bows for the cover, or the full canvas cover installed, also there is the option to have the troop seats down or folded up; the frame; suspension and drive train; fuel tank, battery box, and storage boxes and other small items attached to the frame; wheels and tires; and finally bringing them all together into the final assembly of the truck. There is no paint colors called out throughout the assembly, nor are there any decals called for. The decals look to be in perfect register with very thin film.
The individual parts on the sprues look to be sharply molded and free of any flash. The five larger sprues consist of three sprues of suspension and frame parts, one of cab parts, and one sprue for the cargo bed. There are also three smaller sprues which hold the wheel parts and one sprue of parts for the cargo bed. Additionally, there is also a spare wheel without lug nuts and open lug holes on another sprue.
The 3 PE frets are very nice. They include parts for the engine, frame, cargo bed and multiple other pieces to detail the truck throughout.
The soft rubber tires are well molded and represent the originals well. They do have the prominent side wall stiffening bands on them. They also contain writing for the brand along with size and rating codes on the sidewalls that look very nice.
The frame and running gear detail looks very good. It looks as though all the individual parts and pieces such as gear box, transmission, transfer case, etc are represented. Shock absorbers, leaf springs, and other suspension parts are well molded as well. The bolts and fittings for the frame are crisp and present too. The bed and its fittings are also well done. There are multiple small PE parts for the details on the troop seats in the rear as well.
The cab exterior is very well done as a one-piece shell with a separate roof and doors to give good interior details. Most major interior parts are present. The doors also include separate inner panels with window cranks, and door handles, along with other small detail items.
Overall the kit looks very nice. The frame, bed, and cab exterior look to be very nicely detailed. Assembly looks straight-forward and with no noted problem areas. The separate, removable doors are nice, as this was a failing in some of their previous truck kits (M1078 & M1083 kits). The full engine and tilt cab are also nice features.
I highly recommend this kit. The parts are well molded and free of flash. The PE will give it the extra details to make it stand out. I see no major flaws in the kit, its dimensions, or details. With minimal work, it looks like it will build into an accurate replica of a GAZ-66. Another winner for Trumpeter!