by: Jim Rae [ ]
Production of the Gaz 69 began in 1953 and ended in 1972. The vehicle was designed as a replacement for the Gaz 67. The subject of this particular model is the Gaz 69 (M) which was specifically designed as a vehicle for export to the U.S.S.R's client and satellite states.
The model itself marks an interesting development between Bronco Model of China and the Czech manufacturer, SKP Model
In the box
CB35096 - Soviet GAZ 69 (M) 4 X 4 Utility Truck is a 1/35th scale styrene model on 8, grey plastic sprues with a clear sprue and a small sheet of Photo-Etch. Instructions come in the form of a 15-page booklet with an additional (full-color) page of profiles for the markings. A small sheet of decals provides 4 alternatives schemes - 2 Soviet, 1 for the PLA and the fourth fot the East-German Army.
As this is not a detailed Review as such, I'll limit myself to some general observations about quality of moulding etc.
There is a notable difference between the instructions which Bronco are providing now to those they were producing only a few years ago. Now, they are far clearer both in the stages of construction they present and in the production of the booklet which now comes with their kits. Printed on glossy paper with an excellent definition it makes it a lot easier to identify parts and stages.The most attractive part is undoubtedly the color-scheme chart. This looks precisely the sort of thing you would see from the better military publishers.
Although the Gaz 69 is a relatively small model, it does require no less than 18 construction stages to build it. A complete sub-frame along with a nicely detailed GAZ-21 engine add to the detail and complexity. The driver's compartment includes all the seperate pedals, gear shifts etc. - which we've now come to expect as a matter of course. The wheels are simple 2-part assemblies with good tread detail and areas such as the valves present. Not much is 'optional'. Front windscreen up or down, the tilt on or off and the vehicle 'buttoned-up' or open.
The quality of moulding and definition of detail is excellent. Some purists may find the attachment points of the parts to the sprues a little 'heavy' but with the quality of the styrene there will not be any problems of 'tearing' (when the styrene is softer). All in all, it's a good advertisemnt for the work that SKP Model's designers are putting in.
There is a fascination (both existing and increasing) in Soviet subjects. Principally it's been focused towards the 'Heavies', although there is an increasing interest in subjects such as Artllery or Softskins. What is interesting is the 'Lineage' of this vehicle. From some angles it looks like a smaller version of the Dodge Weapons Carrier, from other viewpoints it has more than a passing resemblance to the Austin Champ. Side on, it looks like a Land Rover with curves. It has never, to my knowledge, been done before in 1/35th scale. Another aspect of all this is its use - more than 63,000 examples were produced allowing it to be put in many Post-War settings.
Although it's a small vehicle, it's a pretty complex model. Mainly, the complexity comes from the attention to details such as the drive-train and the engine.
Although only going from a close examination of the sprues and a bit of background reading, it should build into what it says it does. It'll be an interesting vehicle to build and add stowage or cargo along with a suitably modified driver and passengers. It's also a model which will lend itself to all sorts of diorama settings such as the experts in weathering and rust putting it in a scapyard scene or a 'nice' glossy example at a modern Military Vehicle Rally.
Whatever you do with it, there's a LOT of possibilities....