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In-Box Review
135
Soviet Railway Boxcar
Russian and Soviet Railways Standard Covered Van (NTV) 16.5t capacity unbraked wagon of 1930s and 1940s
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Introduction
Russian and Soviet Railways Standard Covered Van (NTV) 16.5t Capacity Unbraked Wagon of 1930s and 1940s is an extraordinary 1/35 multi-media kit from Armor35. It is item 35407.

Armor35
developed this model NTV ("Teplushka") with assistance of the the Pereslav Railway Museum. With metal, resin, and photo-etched parts - hundreds of them - this super-detailed craftsman kit can be built for Soviet Railways (Cоветские железные дороги (CЖД), Reporting mark SZhD or SZD) 1524 mm gauge track, or track re-gauged by the Germans to 1435 mm. Armor35's history follows:

    The dominant type of wagon on Russian and Soviet railways for many years was a standard covered van ('Normainiy tovarnly vagon' or 'NTV'), obligatory introduced in 1892 for all private and governmental railways with a gauge of 1S24mm. This universal wagon was used for the majority of goods. In time of war or other emergency it could be easily converted for mass transportation of people.

    The NTVs were built by all major wagon works in two main versions - with or without manual brakes. The braked version had brake platform added onto a standard body.

    Main frame beams were metal, while secondary parts of the frames and the body were constructed of wood.

    On introduction the wagons carried 12,5t (750 pudov). Strengthening of springs and axles allowed to gradually raise capacity to 15.0t (900 pudov) in 1905, 16,5t (1000 pudov) in 1911 and 18.0 in 1933.

    Continuous air braking was adopted for freight stock of the USSR from 1930s. Some of the NTVs received full sets of air brakes, while others were only equipped with through pipes with end connections to feed air to braked vehicles in the train.

    Production of the NTVs ceased in 1931 due to transition to more modem stock. However, old vans continued to be modernized for years to come, remaining in active service until early 1950s. To cope with raising loads and train forces, buffers and axle-boxes were replaced, and frames, springs and couplings strengthened.

    The ARM30407 model of standard covered van depicts a 16,5t capacity NTV as running during late 1930s, 2nd World War ("Great Patriotic") and early post-war years. The wagon has no brakes but is equipped with through air pipe and end connections. Other features include buffers and solid axle-boxes of 1930s type and strengthened frames.

If you are interested in an illustrated history of the NTV, please see Click here for additional images for this review, at the end of this review.

Military modelers should be enthusiastic about this ubiquitous a boxcar model. It can be the focus of an Eastern Front vignette, or an component of a larger diorama.

Military-scale railroad modeling continues to grow with an ever expanding selection of models in the dominate military scale of 1/35. Project Armor35 is an enterprise in Russia focusing on creating accurate 1/35 German and Soviet railway subjects circa the Great Patriotic War. Armor35 produces resin rail and track components, i.e., spikes and tie plates, wooden and resin sleepers (crossties), scale sand and stone ballast and coal, lineside equipment like signs and a water column, as well as dozens of civilian and military figures, and statues.

While there is not currently a 'model rail scale' for 1/35, it is very close to No. 1 Scale (also referred to as Gauge 1, Gauge One, 3/8", etc.) of 1/32. Regardless, it does afford some crossover to electric model railroading.

Currently Armor35 catalogues over 50 figures and more than 34 railway models.

The Kit
The NTV Teplushka was the standard Russian boxcar with origins dating to the 1870s. The design is very similar to the "40 & 8" (40 persons or 8 horses) boxcars found across Europe.

Like their kit Soviet Flatcar Up Trailer with Timber Racks (for Ua Railcar), this model is an amazing and enticing model. The sheer number of parts surpasses the Ua flatcar by four-fold!

Wood, resin and metal parts - machined and photo-etched - comprise this detailed craftsman model. All of the parts are sealed in zip locking baggies. My eyes crossed while trying to count the sheer number of parts for building this model:
    Resin x 137
    Resin bolts, nuts and rivets x 718
    Wood body x 14
    Metal rollers x 4
    Metal rod x 1
    Brass photo-etch x 171
    Decal sheet x 1

Armor35 lists the number of each type of part and I counted over 1,040 parts and pieces for this boxcar. I recall a 1/35 European Tram kit consists of a mere 600 - plus or minus.

Armor35's resin casting is very good. The crisp gray parts are free of excess flash on the parts, seam lines, and no air pocks. Bolt, nuts and rivets are by MasterClub. However, a few pieces are slightly warped and may need hot water or a hair drier to allow them to be straightened. Despite the number of fine diameter pieces on pour block "sprues," I only found one fragment of what might be a broken part.

Aside from removing the parts from their "sprues" and any cleanup of the pieces, very little preparation is required by the modeler. A few pieces will require fine drills to hollow out.

All of the brass parts are sharply and cleanly etched. The brass sheet for the frame is thicker than I expected. I am curious as to how easy the parts will be to remove from the fret. As some of those parts are relatively large and are load bearing, I wonder if they should be soldered or glued together? I plan to solder them.

Whatever wood Armor35 uses is excellent. None of the strips are warped and they are crisply cut, lacking fuzz and splinters.

Piece by piece, these parts look like they will be easy to work with.

Detail
With over 1,000 parts provided to build this model Teplushka, modelers can expect an extraordinary level of detail. The kit is constructed to an engineering level of accuracy and authenticity. An example of the level of detail is that each of the four windows have hatches, and each hatch is assembled with 18 parts. If you read the parts inventory in the proceeding section, you saw that almost 70% of the parts are nuts, bolts, and rivets. The bolts and nuts reproduce those prototype fasteners, two pieces for each hole. While scores will be visible, a modelers could opt not to set each one as many will not be readily visible - unless one's NTV is modeled flipped over in a derailment or a destruction scene is planned. Skipping the setting of each nut/bolt assembly should save a great deal of assembly time without sacrificing the incredible authenticity of this model.

A NTV was constructed with a metal frame which carried a wooden body. That body was braced with lumber and metal structural components. Little or no welding was utilized in constructing a Teplushka. Bolts and rivets held it together. The first four assembly steps guide the creating of the metal from with photo-etched brass parts. These parts feature etched holes for inserting bolts and nuts and rivets. Resin middle cross beams and draft beams, with brass brackets and angle irons continue the detail of the frame.

Each wheel set consists of seven parts, excluding the dozens of bolts and hex nuts that simulate holding the components to the frame.

Next an air brake line with hoses are attached, along with buffers and the draft gear.

The superstructure of the boxcar is assembled with wooden sides, floor, and roof. Armor35 mercifully cut those items as sheets instead of modeling individual board-by-board construction. Resin bracing and roof transoms are provided, again instead of lumber pieces. Those roof rafters support the 11 sheets of exterior roof panels. To further detail the interior of the boxcar are castings of structural items specific to restraining military cargo.

Each door is detailed with braces, levers, lock bodies, wedge pins, hasps, pusher block brackets, roller rail and open door stops. Looking at the instructions, it seems that the door hardware is designed to allow the doors to roll open. Being that the hardware is to-scale held together with glue, great finesse should be used in rolling the doors.

Many models requiring piece-by-piece assembly have been available for decades, i.e., sailing ships, live steam. Armor35 has produced an amazing kit of a humble boxcar.

Instructions, Painting, Decals
Armor35 instruction sheets are perhaps the most impressive I know of. They are professionally designed and printed on full format paper. They are printed in Cyrillic and English. Several sheets are printed on glossy surfaces while the assembly portion are semi-gloss. That does not reflect on the model itself but rather upon the pride that Armor35 puts in to their products. This sheet contains 35 steps in 15 pages.

With so many pieces, an exploded inventory of the kit contents is provided, each piece identified by part number and label. Those captions are highlighted. Similar parts even are clarified by dimensions.

Assembly is illustrated with sharp expertly illustrated line art. Some inserts are used to focus on sub-assemblies. As mentioned earlier, some parts will require drilling but Armor35 does not mention the size of drill bit required.

Painting guidance and decal placement is presented through a high-quality color computer image of the NTV. MIG Ammo paint is the referenced brand and six colors are required. No special colors are required so the colors should be easy to substitute with other brands.

Armor35 supplies an extensive decal selection. Dimensional data and maintenance information, and Soviet Railways emblems. Road numbers for four Teplushka are provided:
    3п.333-269
    М-кв.335-649
    Бϱл.449-972
    0к.475-482

I do not know who prints decals for Armor35. They look very good with crisp edges, opaque ink/paint, and appear thin with minimal carrier film around the printed areas.

Conclusion
Armor35's Russian and Soviet Railways Standard Covered Van is an extraordinary 1/35 model. The wealth of detail is remarkable. Their casting of resin is very good. The laser-cut wood is excellent. Photo-etched brass parts are sharp. Four decal options are provided. Armor35 instruction sheets are excellent. Owing to the abundance of parts in this multi-media kit, I do not think beginner or novice modelers should attempt this kit. Fortunately, the 700 scale bolts and rivets are not necessary for the structural integrity of the model; they can be omitted except for where they will be visible.

Unfortunately, a few resin parts are warped. No drill bit sizes are listed where drilling is required.

One thirty-fifth scale modelers of the Stalin-era SZhD, two-axle boxcars, the Great Patriotic War, and the Eastern Front should be very much interested in this NTV. Once assembled, this NTV will certainly be a "bragging rights" model and a peerless 1/35 16.5t Standard Covered Van. Highly recommended.

Thanks to Armor35 for this kit for review. Please remember to tell them and retailers that you saw it here - on Armorama.

Click here for additional images for this review.

SUMMARY
Highs: The wealth of detail is remarkable. Resin castings are very good, the laser-cut wood is excellent, and photo-etched brass parts are sharp; four decal options are provided and the instruction sheets are excellent.
Lows: A few parts are warped. Some drilling is required but no drill bit sizes are listed.
Verdict: 1/35 modelers of two-axle boxcars, the Great Patriotic War, and the Eastern Front should be very much interested in this model. It can be a "bragging rights" peerless model of Soviet boxcar.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 35407
  Related Link: Soviet Up Flatcar
  PUBLISHED: Dec 25, 2018
  NATIONALITY: Russia
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.03%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 93.83%

Our Thanks to Armor 35!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)
FROM: TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright 2019 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. All rights reserved.



   

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