The following introduction is as provided by ICM:
The most common all wheel drive six wheeled truck in the Soviet Army during the 1980’s had a diesel engine and a cab over engine layout. Its serial production began in 1981 at a plant in Naberezhnye Chelny. The truck was distinguished by its high reliability and off road capability. The basic model was intended first of all for the transportation of personnel or cargo up to 6 tonnes. Since the mid 1980’s this truck for some time was the main transport base of the Soviet Army and the main middle class truck for the installation of various types and purposes of super structures. Variants with KUNGs are wide spread - Closed boxed bodies for the installation of special equipment and the transportation of personnel. One of these body types was the K4320D variant.
This offering from ICM is packaged in the now usual flip top cardboard tray, with an additional card lid showing the artwork. ICM does not provide any details on what this model represents, but I believe it is a KamAZ-4310. The contents of the box are in a single plastic bag, which also contains an additional three plastic bags containing the clear parts and tyres. Additionally, ICM has made available a dedicated paint set for this release with item No 3011 and this offers five of their paint colours plus a varnish for use with the paint. The colours provided are: Russian Green, Neutral Gray, Gun Metal, Rubber Black and Clear Red. The decals for the model are protected inside the instruction booklet.
In typical ICM fashion, the chassis for this release is a multi-part assembly, with the two side rails being connected together with various cross sections. This allows for good replication of the chassis and is an aspect of models that ICM seems to do very well. An issue with this approach, is that it makes it difficult to ensure that the chassis is assembled squarely. There are tools available now, that overcome that potential issue, but I usually use parallel lines on a cutting mat to overcome any possible issues. The leaf spring suspension will require some clean up of seam lines, but with care a pleasing result will be possible. Another area where ICM do a good job, is in replicating the engines and gearboxes of soft skinned vehicles, and this release is no exception.
A very nicely detailed engine and transmission is included in the model, I found plenty of images of the engine on-line, and from what I can see what is provided would seem to be accurate. The modeller will need to add some cables to replicate wiring and pipes, with on-line images making this a relatively easy prospect and if you can find a way to display the engine, I believe it is visually appealing. But it needs to be remembered, this is a tilting cab for access to the engine and while ICM has included the option for displaying the cab in this orientation, I believe there is some extra detail required if you decide to take that route. ICM does not supply any photo etch elements for the model, but they have done a good job or replicating belts and fan blades.
The axles for the model are another area that ICM has provided a lot of detail, and hallelujah, showing the front wheels turned while not shown in the instructions only requires that you glue the parts in your desired orientation. Fuel tanks and air tanks have been well replicated, and I am especially pleased with the rear portions of the front mud guards correctly attached to the chassis and so if the cab is tilted forward - is another eye catching element. The more I look at this model I would definitely display the cab in the tilted forward position, as it will make it exceedingly eye catching. The wheels of the model are provided in two halves, and these capture a vinyl rubber tyre between them. Vinyl rubber tyres are not every body’s cup of tea, but the moulded detail is visually pleasing, and for those who will not specifically use vinyl rubber I am sure resin wheels will become available soon.
The cab of the model can be considered a separate sub-assembly, which means the modeller does not have to decide how they wish to display their finished model until the end, and it also makes painting the model a less challenging task. The seats have that new look to them, which is something I am not a fan of. But due to the panel detail of the seats, distressing the seats will not be an easy task. The seat mounts themselves have been well tackled, with the scissor action for raising and lowering the seat being well covered. The floor of the cab is a bare structure, to which you add the gear stick and pedals. One slight concern here is that gear sticks usually remain in place on the transmission after the cab has been tilted forward. I have not been able to find an image that shows this clearly, but I have included an image in the review that would indicate that that is the case.
The cab itself is made up of separate panels and I have a number of small ejector pin marks that will need to be addressed. The instruments inside the cab are replicated via a decal and all of the clear elements such as lights are provided with clear lenses. The doors of the cab have separate door furniture, and can be assembled in an open or closed position. While not indicated in the model, a little bit of work on the part of the modeller will be able to show the door windows wound up or down. The cabin portion of this release is made of six main parts, plus the support frame. No interior detail is provided and so while the doors are provided as separate parts, showing the doors open will require some creative thought. Details such as what I believe to be a generator, plus its fuel tank look to be well replicated, and other than the fact that ICM has not included an interior, complaining about the model is limited. Three finishing options are provided, one for the Soviet Army in the 1980’s, a lighter green version of a Soviet army truck of the 1980’s and a three tone camouflage pattern for a Russian Army truck in the 2000’s.
This offering from ICM at last provides me with wheels that can be shown turned, and a cab that can be shown tilted forward to display an excellent engine and transmission that is provided in this model. However, two things stand out to me - why have they not identified what the model represents, as in a KamAZ-4310, and an interior for the shelter is in my opinion something this kit cries out for.