The Zil-131 truck was produced from the late 1960ís until the late 1980ís. It is a 6 wheeled vehicle in the 5ton class, with a reported 1,000,000 vehicles being produced by the end of production. The Zil-131 saw service with all countries previously in the Soviet Block and also Asia and Africa. There are several versions of the truck ranging from transport/cargo trucks through to fuel and dump trucks. ICM
have now released a transport version of the Zil-131, which will be ideal for showing of their latest figure sets ĎSoviet Army Servicemen (1979-1991)í.
This release from ICM
is packaged in a good quality flip top box which should be up to protecting the model against some rough handling by the various postal services around the world, something to consider in these days of internet shopping. The sprues are packaged inside a re-sealable plastic bag, I am not a big fan of this as with all of the sprues in one bag it could result in some parts becoming distorted, damaged or both. The contents consist of;
- 6 tan sprues
- 1 clear sprue
- 2 sprues of vinyl rubber tyres
- A decal sheet
- An instruction booklet
My first thoughts on this offering from ICM
are that they have done a good job on the external packaging. The box is very rigid and so should protect the contents against reasonable handling. An inspection of the sprues in this sample only brought up the ever present ejector pin marks and the usual flow/cooling lines on the mouldings. The ejector pin marks are I am happy to report are getting much smaller and less prominent, which leads me to believe that ICM
are getting on top of this issue for the betterment of the modeller. The flow/cooling lines are very prevalent, but my inspection did not result in any concerns as they do not appear to have marred the surface detail. The only other thing of note is that 3 pieces of the model had broken free of their sprues, but these parts were in the bag and appeared not to have been damaged in the process.
As usual for ICM
the chassis is a multi-part offering which has allowed more detail to be imparted than a single moulding. There is an issue with this approach in that care must be taken by the modeller to ensure that the chassis is assembled square as this will avoid issues during the later stages of construction. Something that I have noted is that ICM
appear to have changed the style of their instructions making more use of sub assembly stages around the main assembly, this does in my opinion make it much harder to miss or forget a part during construction. I have no idea what the chassis on a Zil-131 looks like in the flesh, but judging from past experience this is an area where ICM
excel and should result in a pleasing area of the model.
Engine and Gearbox
The engine and gearbox is another area where ICM
usually does a very good job and I am pleased to say that this model is not an exception to the rule. There are very good details in all areas of the engine and gearbox, with some very fine parts despite being plastic rather than the more usual photo etched offerings modellers would usually see. The radiator is a thick single piece offering with detail on both faces and ICM
has managed to avoid the problem of sink marks that usually accompany thick mouldings. They have also done a very nice job on the fan blade which is reasonably thin and with nice detail present. The only complaint I can level at this area of the model is that the end of the exhaust needs to be hollowed out and an indent would have been helpful as a guide for this.
Wheels and Suspension
The rear suspension units look very good detail wise and look to match available online reference. The construction of them is fairly simple, but ICM
have thrown in some nice touches here which should result in a pleasant finish. The front axle also has good detail despite its simple design in the model, but disappointingly you do not have the option of depicting the front wheels in any other orientation than straight ahead, I also donít believe it would be an easy job to alter this aspect.
The tyres supplied with the model are made from vinyl rubber, something I know will not please everyone. On the plus side the herring bone pattern tread does look to have been faithfully replicated and regardless of your opinion of the material they are made of, they do look very good with no obvious seam to battle with. The hubs are good for the most part with all detail present on the outer ring, but the inner ring appears to be missing a lot of bolt detail or at least I cannot pick it up with my eyes. The spare wheel is very nice where I like the fact that the bolt holes are all open and ready for some minor assembly.
The cab interior is as you would expect of a military truck from Russia during this period, fairly basic. Starting with the console, ICM
have supplied nearly all of the detail present in the real vehicle, but some of the detail is a little soft. The dials are present and have been supplied with decals, these are accurate as regards layout but do not match the detail fully as regards what is on each dial. There are three aluminium plates in the cab, one on the glove box in the centre of the dash and the other two on the top of the dash in front of the passenger and driver are not supplied. The absence of these details will likely spur Archer or someone else to release a set in the near future. The buttons under the dash is another area where some scratch work will lift the detail. The foot pedals are all present and look to be of an acceptable shape and size, however the clutch pedal is not floor mounted on the real vehicle and so again some may wish to do some scratch work to correct that. The seats have a new look about them and so will look more realistic with some distortions being imparted to show wear and tear, I cannot verify the accuracy of the seat layout in this model. The exterior of the cab looks to be a fair representation of the real vehicle in most areas. I must say I was pleased to see ICM
have added the raised detail of the company logo on the front of the bonnet. Also present are clear lenses for the various lights and ICM
has done a good job of the wing mirrors.
The wooden deck of the truck appears to have been faithfully reproduced. The wood grain detail is present but is not really accurate as this would not be seen under the paint as shown on the reference photograph I have looked at. However I would always much rather have it moulded and then remove it if wished than have to add the detail myself. The hoops for supporting the canvas roof (not supplied) are shown in the stored position. The hoops have been moulded in three parts, the top and two sides, there is no detail on the inner face and is the one area of this model I do not like, as such I would look at replacing them with suitable plastic stock in a single continuous run for each loop, or at the very least add some internal detail and fill the ejector pin marks which are also present.
The windscreen is a very nicely moulded piece it appears to be well detailed and is commendably thin, this has resulted in the windscreen not magnifying what is behind it. This is another area which I am very pleased with.
There is not a great deal of difference in the decals for the various vehicles as it only really applies to the number plate detail, there are UN, Ukrainian and two Soviet/Russian registrations. You also get decals for the doors covering a Guards unit, Soviet troops in Germany, GDR Peopleís Army, Czechoslovakian Army, Polish Army, Russian Army, and Ukrainian Army. The decals are of a reasonable thickness and should not present any problems as there is very little carrier film present.
This is a very good model from ICM
with a lot of good detail and nice features. As always ICM
have done a great job of the engine, gearbox and chassis, but then the whole model seems that bit better with no real issues to trap the unwary. Another plus for ICM
is that there products are usually very well priced, at least in Europe. Well worth looking out for.
Soviet Infantry 1979-91
Prime Portal Zil-131 Walkaround