The Zis-5 and similar Gaz-AA trucks were the Soviet Unions standard light cargo truck during the early part of the Second world War. Thousands were build based on a Ford design which was licensed built in factories which Ford helped to set up (interestingly a large number of American Ford workers migrated to the USSR in the 1930s to help start up the production lines).
The Zis-5 was the basis for a wide variety of different trucks, 2 axles and 3 axles (Zis-6) versions with different uses, from troop carrying, to self-propelled AA guns to armoured cars.
Aside from huge numbers being deployed by the Soviets a large quantity of these trucks were captured by the Finns during The Winter War and were employed by them (which is where my interest lies).
The PST model
The box title – and artwork – shows that the model is the ‘v’ variant of the truck. This was a wartime expedient due to the lack of priority materials like metals. Apparently metal was earmarked for tanks and planes and so parts of the Zis that had been metal – like the cab and the mudguards – were then made in wood instead.
There are two main sprues, one large one with the majority of the truck including the chassis and one smaller one that includes the ‘v’ variant parts.
Above: The main sprue with all the major parts you need to make a Zis-5
truck with the earlier metal cab and mudguards.
Above: This is the Zis-5v sprue with the wooden cab and mudguards as well as the cargo flat bed.
Now this is pretty cool as it means you can make a pre-1941 non-simplified Zis-5 – with metal cab and mudguards – or you can opt for the post ’41 modifications. The smaller sprue also includes the wooden cargo flat bed and is moulded in a darker colour than the main component parts.
Above: The metal cab components for an pre-1941 Zis-5, these parts are on the main sprue.
Above: The Zis-5v cab options, easily recognisable because of the wooden plank construction. It does retain the metal cab roof though.
There is a bit of flash around some of the parts, but not much and the crispness and quality of detail is not too bad. But there is no windscreen ‘glass’, so you will have to make your own. Strangely enough there isn't a driver figure either, a bit of a pain as I will now have to create one.
Finally, there are some nicely done instructions and a small sheet of decals for a Soviet truck of the period. You will also note that this is an uncovered flat bed version of the truck, there is not tilt cover (tarp) or frame included.
Above: The pre-41 metal mudguards, part of the main sprue.
Above: The Zis-5v wooden mudguards and here you see some of the minor flash but it's not everywhere and is easily removed.
So far so good and I have to say I am quite pleased with the quality of this kit. At £8.70 from Hannants I thought it was a little expensive if you compare it with the average Revell or Airfix kit of this size, but it is a bit more of a niche vehicle I suppose.
At this point I would normally describe the construction, but as I will be converting this model into the radio station truck version of the Zis-5 I will be doing this in a separate post. Suffice to say that as a small truck it looks pretty straightforward and quick to put together. But we shall see in Part Two.
This post is part of my radio trucks for a Finnish Army series and you can read the introductory post by following this link: Rapid Fire! Radio trucks for a Finnish Army – Part 1