by: Kevin Brant [ ]
The GAZ Tiger was first delivered to the Russian Army in 2006, and has since gone through a few variations. The GAZ-233014 was first shown at an armored vehicle show in 2011. This variant, labeled SPV, was designed for officer transport. The vehicle includes upgraded armor protection for heavy mine protection. A new kit from Zvezda now reproduces this the GAZ-233014 SPV variant of this Russian armored car.
6 Plastic Sprues
1 Clear Plastic Sprue
5 Vinyl Rubber Tires
Small sheet of screen mesh
Small sheet of Simulated Mirrors
1 Decal Sheet
This new Tiger GAZ-233014 from Zvezda comes in a nice sturdy box, with nice box art and images of the built model on the rear of the box. Inside the box are sprues of grey molded plastic. A look at the plastic shows some nice molded details with a little bit of flash on some parts that will need to be cleaned up. I also noticed a few ejector marks on the interior of the cab. Although, there are no ejector marks on the inside surface of the doors and hatches, making it easy to show the built model open. The clear plastic parts are included for the windows and lights. The clear plastic looks good with no clouding.
Included in the kit are vinyl rubber tires that show nice tread and surface detail, but this is a slight seam down the center, which can sometimes prove a little difficult to remove on this material. Also included is a small piece of wire mesh, to be used for the front grill. The piece is larger than the front grill frame and will need to be cut to size. A quick scan of the instructions shows there is a template to use, as two pieces will need to be cut from it.
Looking at the instructions from Zvezda, the assembly looks pretty straight forward, starting with the frame. To make assembly easier, Zvezda has molded the suspension A frames onto the frame itself, and this should assist the modeller in ensure all four wheels sit evenly on the ground. Even the driveshaft’s are molded onto the transfer cases, so assembly should be fairly easy.
With the frame built, assembly moves into the interior of the vehicle. The front dash looks good and has decals included for the instrumentation. There seems to be a lot of parts, seats, stowage, etc that is mounted on the interior, so some planning around painting the interior will be needed, as well as dealing with the ejector marks on the interior of the wall. It should also be noted that the clear plastic windows are mounted from the inside, so masking when painting the exterior will be required.
The interior of the doors include the extra armor plating, handles, and bin, so they should show well if planning to leave the doors open. Once the interior is complete, it is time to start closing the model up. Exterior detail includes some tools and tow cable molded in plastic. The grab handles for around the roof are molded in plastic, but look fine and should not need to be replaced with wire. But care will be needed to remove them from the sprue. It should also be noted that Zvezda has included a sheet with reflective simulated mirror stickers for the side mirrors, a very nice touch.
The instructions in most cases are clear, and should be relatively easy to follow. I did notice a few steps that looked busy, but with care, the model should be relatively straight forward to assemble. There is a lot of Russian language on the instructions, with most also shown in English. Many paint callouts are included, with reference to Humbrol colors.
Paint and marking schemes are included for three vehicles, but not labelled for any specific unit or service. All three are a basic modern Russian green. The marking look to be well printed, all in register, and with good coloring.
Overall this looks like a great model from Zvezda that should be relatively easy to assemble. The molding of the plastic parts look well done, and well engineered for ease of assembly. The kit did not include any photo-etched parts, but this could be an addition to ease of assembly for the modeller. With a nice looking interior and exterior detail, this looks to be a good kit for a novice to intermediate skilled modeller, and I would highly recommend it.