by: Matthew Quiroz [ ]
introductionSimilar to the US Army 10 ton HEMTT the KZKT-537L is a large 8x8 truck that is produced by the Minsk Automobile Plant. The 537L can be used for moving heavy cargo and towing large aircraft when properly ballasted. The vehicle is part of the MAZ series of vehicles which has been in service for more than 50 years hauling everything from tanks to ballistic missiles and more. The vehicle has been exported to several countries over the years and remains in service today with many reported to be operating successfully in harsh climates such as Siberia, the Far East, Central Asia and several others.
the kit Trumpeter's release of the KZKT-537L is well done. Molded in a light gray styrene, the kit consists of 431 flash free pieces. The parts are well detailed and plentiful. Construction takes place over seventeen steps with the first seven steps focusing on the complex drive-train that is mounted to the huge frame rails. The cab and engine cover are exceptionally well molded featuring opened louvers on the engine cover. Two small frets of photo etch brass are included and feature details such as the instrument cluster, mud flaps, jerry can racks, lifting eyes and several other smaller parts. A small length of nylon is provided for the rear wench cable. Trumpeter has even included a sheet of self adhesive paint masks for the windows and other clear parts to aide in painting.
instructions, paint and decal optionsDecals provide markings for two vehicles, but no unit information or base assignment information is provided. Painting options are limited to two, but they are very eye catching schemes with color call outs provided for Mr. Hobby, Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya, and Humbrol paints. No history is provided in the instructions, just your basic safety announcements, and how to apply the decals.
conclusion This is a big vehicle in real life and this kit mimics it well. The large frame rails help lend a sense of just how big the real item is and the cargo bed will look great with a heavy load of supplies, or even perhaps troops piled in the back.
The large rubber tires are ok, but I could see some aftermarket resin items coming down the pipe at some point. They seem to have the same super swamper look to them that other releases from the company have provided. And speaking of resin, hopefully we will see a resin engine arrive for this beast. As it is now, the rear of the engine cover is open, but there is no engine included in the kit; kind of a let down for me.
My search for info on the vehicle was successful, but very limited. There was more info out there on the model than the vehicle, hence the short historical data above. I did find a couple of reference photos though.
Overall it looks to be a well detailed kit with a high parts count that should appeal to those who like large wheeled vehicles, and who can afford it.