Roden follows up its Rolls-Royce armored car kits with the KrAZ-214 Soviet truck, a postwar hauler that served many countries in military and civilian applications for more than 50 years.
The truck’s cab and bed are molded in light green styrene, while the motor, frame, and suspension are black. The green styrene is brittle, and more-delicate parts are easily broken. The black styrene acts more like vinyl and requires extra glue and drying time for good adhesion. Clear plastic parts are included for the lights and windows. Nylon string is provided for the winch cable, and the canvas cover for the bed is vacuum-formed. The vinyl tires have good tread-pattern and sidewall detail. However, many of the parts suffer from mold shift and sink marks that damage some of the finer parts.
I started with many of the smaller subassemblies called out in the directions, which sped up assembly later. The directions flow logically, but placement of the parts is sometimes vague. Looking ahead will usually show you where the parts go. In Step 7, parts 28D and 8D should be 28C and 8C.
The first real problem came in Step 10. I glued the assembly from Step 9 to C11 before attaching it to the axle. The assembly from Step 9 should be slipped onto the axle first, then rotated before being glued to C11. Otherwise, the tie rod will not fit. In Step 13, Part B45 is shown on the wrong side of the axle; it should be glued to the ridges on the other side of the axle.
The exhaust pipe on this truck is large and ought to be drilled out. The wrong lens for the light in Step 18 is shown: It should be Part H1, not H2. The frame is long but has only seven cross members to hold it in place. I was worried about it twisting, but if everything is glued together at once any little twist can be corrected. The engine and fenders were left off for painting.
There are a few options for the truck bed: You can have the seats folded up or down; stow the canvas support bars or put them in place for the canvas cover; and the tailgate can be posed up or down, as can the steps for climbing into the bed. The rear cover comes as a clear vacuum-formed part, and there is a separate set of directions for cutting it out and where to mask for the windows. The directions also show pictures of the real thing. If you are looking for more detail, the directions suggest using the vacuum-formed part as a mold for forming your own cover from fabric or paper.
There is flash protecting the openings in Part G8 that needs to be opened up. Taillights should be drilled out and replaced with lenses from other sources.
I left the doors and the rear of the cab off to paint the interior more easily. The gear shifts are fragile and easily broken, and I lost my emergency brake during painting. The gauges are just round discs in the dashboard; aftermarket items might provide more detail.
I drilled holes to add strength to the hand grabs (parts A25 and A40). There are two different hood ornaments, depending on which marking options you choose.
I glued the hood and front grille in place and painted the cab separately.
Directions are for Testors Model Master paints, but I chose Polly Scale Pullman green for the cab and rear bed, and Vallejo primer black for the frame and wheels. The choice to mold the kit in the two primary colors of the vehicle helps hide areas that are hard to reach with an airbrush.
I hand-brushed details with Humbrol and Vallejo paints according to the directions; the engine and exhaust are Testors Model Master burnt metal.
Then I sealed with AK Interactive satin varnish and applied decals. I chose North Vietnamese, but the kit also provides markings for Soviet, East German, Hungarian, Polish, and Czechoslovakian trucks. The decals were off-register and did not adhere well; the license plate decals broke during application, silvered, and the underlying colors bled through.
Still, when it’s finished this kit captures the beefy look of the real vehicle. I was unable to find any scale plans for this truck, but it did look proportional to the pictures I found on the Internet.
It took 34 hours to finish this model, mostly for fixing sink marks and fighting the poor fit of the parts. I would recommend this model to a more experienced modeler; this kit will definitely sharpen basic modeling skills. But a little patience will reward you with a model of a truck that has traveled the world.
Note: A version of this review appeared in the May 2013 issue of FineScale Modeler.