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Fort 1/35 scale BZ ZiS-5V Soviet Army WWII fuel truck

Kit: No. 35004
Scale: 1/35
Manufacturer: Fort, P.O. Box 575, 320029 Dniepropetrovsk, Ukraine, 380-562-379910, www.m-kit.com
Price: U.S. approximately $20
Comments: Injection molded, 121 parts (9 vinyl), decals.
Pros: Interesting subject, good detail.
Cons: Ejector-pin marks, vague parts location, sometimes tricky assembly.

The ZiS-5V truck was one of the main transport vehicles of the Soviet Union during Word War II. Of simple and rugged construction, it filled many roles. As the Germans approached Moscow in 1941, production of the ZiS trucks was moved to the Urals. In 1942 production resumed in Moscow as well as in the east. Due to shortages of materials and equipment the design was simplified, with cab, cargo body, and even fenders of wood on some vehicles (and without front brakes!).

Fort, a new company from the Ukraine, has chosen the ZiS-5V in several variants as its first releases. They include the regular cargo truck, an ambulance, the half-tracked ZiS-42, and this fuel truck.

Molded in a medium gray plastic, the kit is typical of most east European kits. Detail and moldings are of average quality. Ejector pin marks abound, though most are not noticeable when the kit is complete. Decals are provided for three vehicles - two olive green trucks and one in a tricolor camouflage scheme. Two pieces of translucent vinyl tubing are provided for the pump hoses. The tires are molded in a hard black vinyl (I thought they were resin at first) with separate wheel moldings, which made painting easier.

The kit instructions consist of a four page booklet, with easy-to-follow, exploded-view assembly diagrams. However, there are no detail painting instructions, just the main paint scheme diagrams.

I started assembly with the chassis. Fort provides a one-piece frame, but locations for the alignment pins on the suspension parts are vague. Take care so that all tires touch the ground when final assembly time comes along.

It is not clear how the additional spring units (part Nos. 6 and 7) attach to the main springs and frame. The truck body and fuel tank are made from many panels, so take care to align them during assembly. I left off the rear section of the cab until everything was painted, so I could detail-paint the cab's interior. I also left off the roof and windows until final assembly.

The fuel tank fit well, but some filling was required on the end caps and the upper side seams. Don't bother filling the lower side seams, as they are covered by the fenders. The tank supports (63) have some sinkholes, but they are barely noticeable when the tank is installed onto the frame. I added all of the details to the tank except the pump assemblies, and I was ready to paint.

I airbrushed my subassemblies with Testor Acryl Medium Green as a base coat. When it was dry, I sprayed the decal areas with Future floor polish. The decals looked like trouble, especially with their flat finish, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that Micro Sol softened them enough to snuggle down into the engravings. A coat of Future was applied over the dry decals, and then the entire model was sprayed with Polly Scale flat finish.

During final assembly, I discovered that the spare tire would not fit in its rack. I had to nip off the small tabs on the inside of the rack supports (43) to provide enough room. The windows were tough to fit on my sample; advanced modelers might want to replace them with clear sheet stock. I used Bare-Metal foil on the insides of the headlights, but the clear lenses were too big and needed a lot of sanding.

Finally, the pump hoses were added after they were painted Polly Scale satin black. The instructions show two hoses being applied to one pump, but the box art shows a hose on each side on the top fitting of each pump. I decided to attach them to one pump and loop the excess around on the top of the vehicle.

I spent about 15 hours building my tanker, a little less than normal due to the simplified detail and one-color paint scheme. I could not locate references on the fuel truck version of the ZiS-5, but a measurement of the wheelbase and track width matched exactly to the specifications of the cargo truck version in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Military Vehicles by Ian Hogg and John Weeks.

While there is nothing difficult about building the kit, the quality of the moldings and fit make it a model for the intermediate builder. It looks good out of the box, but devoting additional effort (especially removing many of the ejector pin marks) could really turn the kit into a showpiece.

- John Plzak

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