The Kremenchuck Automotive Plant was founded in the Ukraine in 1946 and initially began to construct combines for agricultural use. As this was not particularly financially productive the company opted to begin the manufacture of heavy duty trucks for military and commercial use. First was the KrAZ 214 series-massive 6X6 trucks with massive single wheels and a powerful diesel engine, boasting impressive cross country performance and a 7 ton payload. Due to military requirements placed on the truck, and it's extensive and essential use in the Soviet military system, upgrades were demanded, such as improved power and off road/non road driving. In 1966, a new wheel, the VI-3, featuring a wide profile, air regulation system and centralized control of the air by the driver was introduced. This was added to the existing vehicle along with an improved YaMZ 238 V8 diesel producing 240 hp. Some minor changes to the cab and headlight assembly were also made and the new vehicle was designated the 255. Speed was increased from 55kmh to 70 kmh, capacity increased from 7 to 7.5 tons, and in general the new truck exceeded the wildest dreams of the Soviet military.
The truck was immediately put to use everywhere and used for everything, not just in the Soviet Union but in other "brother" countries-Warsaw pact, Middle East, South America, Africa, Asia-and became an icon of Soviet industry. After the end of the Soviet Union, the KrAZ 255B ended production, with over 195,000 vehicles built. The legacy continues with a new, improved version of the truck, but many of the original vehicles are still on the road in operational use all over the world. It has a tremendous following and its status has become legendary.
What do you call a KrAZ with a football in the bed? A stadium.
How many people fit in a KrAZ? All of them.
Did you hear about the KrAZ drive who got a speeding ticket? No one has, they don't go fast enough.
What do KrAZ driver's call the Urals (mountains and rival truck)? A speedbump.
For scale modelers the KrAZ 255B provides a basis for modeling that has almost universal appeal because there are so many, used so many places. Ukranian model manufacturer Roden
has released a new kit of the KrAZ 255B as a follow on to their previous 214b.
My sample has a long story. Originally sent to Stephen Lawson in Colorado, it was shipped to Croatia, smashed and returned to Colorado, re-bagged and sent the much shorter distance to me here in Utah, USA. In spite of rough handling the kit was in relatively good condition, with only minimal damage to the fenders and cab. From past experience Roden
customer service is excellent and I expect no difficulty in getting replacement parts, but I am considering the look the damaged fender would provide the built kit as a well-worn truck.
has the most attractive box art of any model manufacturer. Even something as mundane as a truck driving down the road is made more appealing by their choice of setting. In this case the truck is driving through a vehicle "boneyard", with old derelicts stacked in the background.
Inside the box are sprues in both black and medium green styrene, designating by color those parts used for construction of the frame and engine as opposed to those parts used for construction of the cab, engine compartment and bed. Some of the sprues are duplicates of the earlier released 214B as the two vehicles share many similar components. The first challenge in the box is that not all the sprues are lettered, although letters are called out in the construction sequence. As a result, I did the sprue shots based on color, black first for the frame and innards, and then the green topside. Here are the sprues, listed in the order I pulled them from the bags, with the sprue letter based on the instruction call out.
- Sprue "B", black styrene, is the truck frame, in separate parts, plus axle, transmission parts and some suspension components
- Sprue "K", detailed, multipart engine and radiator
- Sprue "C" X2, spare tire frame, truck boxes, axle, leaf spring suspension (molded in front and rear face) small frame details
- Sprue "N", frame for truck bed, rear leaf springs, again in 2 parts
- Sprue "L" X2, fuel tanks, engine cylinder banks
- Sprues "E" and "M". New mold wheels with separate centers, compressed air tanks and axle hubs
- Sprue "A", cab and attachments, with separate inner door panels, detailed interior, nicely molded grill. This is the sprue that was damaged, but still usable
- Sprue "G", mud flaps and parts for truck bed, including tarp frame
- Sprue "O", mud flaps and box panel parts
- Sprue "F", truck bed and side framing
- Sprue "H", clear parts, very thin and well molded
- 7 rubber tires, well detailed and with visible lettering. Tread detail is decent, but each of the tires had a flaw on one side where it appears there was some warping in the molding process, right around the bead line
- One length of string for a cable
A decal sheet with both national insignia and license placards . Colors are good but the Czech and Hungarian markings are slightly off register. The decals appear to be fairly thin but there is excess carrier film that will need to be carefully trimmed away at the edges. There are markings for 7 different vehicles:
- Ukrainian Army 2002, Russian military green, special plate numbers
- Russian Federation Army late 1990s, multi color camouflage scheme of black green, light green, flat black and dark sand, plate numbers
- Russian Army, late 1980s, Russain green and black green camouflage, plate numbers
- Czechoslovakian Army, early 1980s, Russian military green, door decal
- Hungarian Army, early 2000s, Russian military green, door decal and white 9, plate numbers
- NVA East Germany, late 1980s, Russian military green, door decal
- West Group Soviet Army, late 1980s, Russian military green, door decal
The instructions are presented in booklet form with line drawings showing assembly in 55 steps. Some of the steps are very basic, with only one part joined. Others are fairly complex. The parts tree map is included on the first two pages of instructions. The paint guide shows colors called out for by number for Vallejo brand only, but names the colors as well. There is a small, half page of corrections to the instructions included in the box.
There are over 400 parts in the kit, making assembly quite comprehensive. As can be seen in the photographs, there is some flash present that will need clean-up, some ejector pin marks visible on parts (most hidden but some on the truck bed frame will be visible, and possibly some in the cab), some ejector pin tabs that will need to be removed, and some fairly prominent seam lines on a few parts. The black plastic is considerably softer than the green, with an almost rubbery feel to it. I noticed that when applying Tamiya extra thin liquid cement there was black on the brush tip afterwards.
The biggest challenge will be the sink marks present on many parts, particularly those of the bed frame. These will need filling and careful sanding. I don't know if this is particular to my sample or endemic to the production run. Also, the vacuform tarp for the cargo bed that was present in the 214b kit is not included in this kit, although all the framing is still included. If you want a cargo cover, you will need to make your own.
My first impression was "wow, what a huge kit." It should take up some space on the shelf. I am impressed by the detail included, such as the engine, transmission, and cab with doors that can be posed open to show off the interior. I was disappointed to see the sink marks, and especially the molding issues with the tires. There are resin replacements available, which many modelers prefer over the kit rubber tires anyway, but for those who just want to build what is in the box it could be an issue. I will be doing a build review of the kit and will then be able to comment better on parts fit and accuracy of the instructions.
In spite of the flaws, I do really like this model. It is always good to see something different on the shelves, and Roden
is reaching out to a much broader marketplace.