by: Kevin Brant [ ]
After signing an agreement with Ford in 1929, the Soviet Union started manufacturing cars and trucks under the name Nizhegorodsky Avtomobilny Zavod, which in 1933 changed name to Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod, or GAZ. Using designs from Ford, GAZ built many truck and variants, in a bus based on the GAZ-AA. The GAZ-03-30, a 17-seat bus, began production in 1933, with production suspended during the war years. Many of the buses did in fact make it into military service as troop carrier, command vehicles, and more.
MiniArt having already released many of the GAZ trucks has now released a plastic model of the GAZ-03-30 bus, based on the 1938 variant.
321 Plastic Parts
8 Photo-etched Parts
26 Clear Plastic Parts
Decal sheet, 8 vehicles
Instruction booklet, 18 pages(some in color)
This latest model from MiniArt continues the variants based on their earlier GAZ-AA releases. This new kits continues the reputation of well molded kits. The plastic parts are molded in light grey plastic, and spread across many sprues. The moldings are very well done with clean and crisp details. I did not find any flash or sink marks on my sample. One concern I had was all the parts were packed in a single plastic bag, which can lead to broken parts, but again I found none in my sample. The kit does include some photo-etched parts for extra detail, and clear parts to represent all the windows. The clear plastic is well molded, and I found no bubbles or lines in the parts.
As there is a lot of parts, there is also a lot of sprues, some small with just parts for one component, for example there are eight small sprues for the seats, each sprue containing the parts for one seat. The same goes for the wheels and some of the other smaller subassemblies. Speaking of wheels, the wheels are molded in plastic and are a multi-part “sandwich” assembly. While not really my preference, assembled this should provide good tread pattern.
Looking at the instructions from MiniArt, assembly looks to rather straight forward, but I did find some of the steps are a little busy, so care will be needed to study the step prior to applying glue.
Construction begins with the nicely looking detailed engine. While the castings of the parts look good, there is a lack of wiring and piping, but this could be easily added if you wish to display the kit assembled with the hood open. This is followed by the assembly of the frame and suspension components. The assembly of the multi-part wheels is also done at this time. The kit will allow for the assembly of the front hood open to show any work you add.
With the engine mounted on the frame assembly now turns to the front fenders, driver compartment, and passenger area. This is where you will now need to start strategically planning your painting of the interior, as it will be seen through the big windows.
The seats are then assembled and added, followed by the sides. The kit does provide the option of assembling with the doors open, including the rear door with the steps in the lowered position. The windows are added as the side are assembled, so again, strategic masking and painting will need to be planned.
Finally the roof is added, and the remainder of the exterior detail is completed, included what looks to be a great looking front light assembly.
The kit does not include any paint call outs for the interior, thus a little research may be required to match the prototype. The instructions do include paint and marking schemes for eight vehicles, including a couple captured and put into use by the Germans. The colors are all referenced to Ammo by Mig paints, but could easily be matched with other brands.
Overall this looks to be another great kit from MiniArt, and a very interesting subject to build. The kit looks to be very well molded, with some great looking details. The only real drawbacks I see would be the tyre assembly may not be to everyone’s liking and painting could prove to be a challenge, especially the interior. There are a lot of parts, and some of the instructions can be busy, but with care and patience, this kit should build into a great looking model of the GAZ-03-30. I would highly recommend this kit.
Note, that in the near future I will be starting a build log, and building this nice looking kit.