by: Neil Gardiner [ ]
The GAZ 03-30 is a Russian bus produced by Gorky Automobile Plant between 1933 and 1950. It was based on the GAZ AA truck, which was based on the Ford Model AA. It has a capacity of 16 passengers and 1 driver. It is powered by a 3.2L, 4 cylinder, 50 hp petrol engine and has a 4 speed non-synchronous manual transmission. The buses were used for local passenger traffic and official use. The GAZ-03-30 became one of the most used buses of the pre-war period. During the WWII period many GAZ-03-30 buses were used for military service. They were used as troop carriers, ambulances etc. A large number of the buses were captured by German Army and used till the end of WWII. Between the periods of 1933-1950 around 14809 GAZ-03-30 buses were produced
Sgt Ram has already conducted a review and build of the GAZ -03-30 1938 Mod available below.
At this point it would be wise to point out that this kit is the 1945 mod of the GAZ-03-30 a fact which is only mentioned when you get into the instructions and is almost identical to the 1938 Mod with the exception of the front fenders and 2 panels being different, MiniArt however give you the parts to build the Passenger bus in either the 1938 or 1945 variants with painting guides for both.
Apologises up front here folks for those that have read the other review there is going to be a lot of similarity here but I will try and focus more on the differences that come with this kit
Instructions with colour painting guides for 8 variants
Over 297 grey styrene parts and 26 clear parts
1 decal sheet for 8 variants
1 photo etch fret
Upon opening the box we find all the parts are supplied in a single bag, I find this can lead to damaging fragile parts but I havenít found any issues so far, on the flipside it does mean that everything is all together so nothing gets lost in transit.
We start off with the instruction booklet at first glance it gives the impression of being a product catalogue, but is clear and well printed with the paint schemes created by MIG nicely produced in colour with reference for Ammo paints, unfortunately there is no references for the internal detail of the bus which is a pity, the only other issue I found with the instructions is that with all the various sub assemblyís, it can get a bit confusing, especially when it comes to the variant you are building so itís worth planning ahead.
Next up is the kit, the sprues are moulded in grey styrene, I was informed when I received this sample that this kit uses a new plastic which isnít as brittle as the older plastic MiniArt used in the past, the detail on the parts is crisp and clean with only minor flash and minor seam lines, the new plastic is nice to work with a little flexibility but not too soft and holds its detail very well, this should be helpful with the vast amount of tiny parts this kit offers.
The kit looks to go together in a straight forward manner being built in a number of subassemblies chassis, engine, bodywork, wheels, interior and roof, some of the sub assembles can be a little complex and frustrating due to the amount of small sized parts, planning ahead would be needed with some of the parts as the kit offers a multitude of option to have various doors and panels open if wanted, the engine is very nicely detailed but will require wiring to be added to it if on display.
The detail on the interior floor looks nice and defined but most of the internal detail involves the seating within the bus, the passenger seats are multi part units which need to be attached to points on the floor and also the inside of the bodywork walls, all of the interior detail will need to be painted prior to attaching the roof as it will be hard if not impossible to access once it has been attached, care also needs to be taken with the windows as these fit between sections and will need to be masked prior to painting, the kit doesnít offer the option to have the windows open but could be easily modified to do so by cutting the windows down.
Finally we get to the wheels, each tire is made up from 7 thin slices 4 at the rear and 3 at the front and have a hub fitted in between, this is supposed to give a more realistic tyre tread, but I have seen mixed results. I have put one together as an example which actually turned out not quite well. I would recommend using a very sharp blade when cleaning up the wheels instead of sanding them, as they are extremely thin and fine detail can be lost.
This model gives so many options to customise and upgrade it either as a standalone model or as part of a diorama, and given the number of issues MiniArt have had recently, which include a major relocation along with supply and production issues makes the fact they have overcome them all and are releasing kits like this amazes me. I have to give the guys credit where it is due, I look forward to the new kits in the pipeline, now all we need now is civilian passenger figure set to icing on the cake so to speak.