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In-Box Review
Zil 131
Zil 131
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


The following is the introduction provided by Revell of Germany;
The ZiL-131 is a basic technical design and is known for its reliability and superb off-road capability. The ZiL-131 was widely used in both the Soviet armed forces as well as in former Eastern Bloc countries. It is a four-wheel drive truck with a load carrying capacity of 5 tons which in the basic configuration can carry both troops and military supplies on its cargo floor. It is assumed that about 1 million of these trucks were built. The National People's Army from the GDR also used numerous ZiL-131's.

This Zil-131 released by Revell of Germany is the ICM offering re-boxed from only 2 or 3 months ago, but it does have alternate finishing options provided for. I did a quick check on price comparison in the UK and found that the prices of both kits are comparable. So having read the review below your option really depends on finishing options.


This release from Revell of Germany is packaged in one of their end open boxes made of card. The sprues are packaged inside a re-sealable plastic bag, I am not a big fan of this as with all of the sprues in one bag it could result in some parts becoming distorted, damaged or both. The contents consist of;
  • 6 tan sprues
  • 1 clear sprue
  • 2 sprues of vinyl rubber tyres
  • A decal sheet
  • An instruction booklet


First Impressions
My first thoughts on this offering from Revell of Germany are that they have done a good job on the external packaging. The box is very rigid and so should protect the contents against reasonable handling. An inspection of the sprues in this sample only brought up the ever present ejector pin marks and the usual flow/cooling lines on the mouldings. The ejector pin marks are I am happy to report are getting much smaller and less prominent, which leads me to believe that Revell of Germany are getting on top of this issue for the betterment of the modeller. The flow/cooling lines are very prevalent, but my inspection did not result in any concerns as they do not appear to have marred the surface detail. The only other thing of note is that 3 pieces of the model had broken free of their sprues, but these parts were in the bag and appeared not to have been damaged in the process.

As usual for Revell of Germany the chassis is a multi-part offering which has allowed more detail to be imparted than a single moulding. There is an issue with this approach in that care must be taken by the modeller to ensure that the chassis is assembled square as this will avoid issues during the later stages of construction. Something that I have noted is that Revell of Germany appear to have changed the style of their instructions making more use of sub assembly stages around the main assembly, this does in my opinion make it much harder to miss or forget a part during construction. I have no idea what the chassis on a Zil-131 looks like in the flesh, but judging from past experience this is an area where Revell of Germany excel and should result in a pleasing area of the model.

Engine and Gearbox
The engine and gearbox is another area where Revell of Germany usually does a very good job and I am pleased to say that this model is not an exception to the rule. There are very good details in all areas of the engine and gearbox, with some very fine parts despite being plastic rather than the more usual photo etched offerings modellers would usually see. The radiator is a thick single piece offering with detail on both faces and Revell of Germany has managed to avoid the problem of sink marks that usually accompany thick mouldings. They have also done a very nice job on the fan blade which is reasonably thin and with nice detail present. The only complaint I can level at this area of the model is that the end of the exhaust needs to be hollowed out and an indent would have been helpful as a guide for this.

Suspension and Axles
The rear suspension units look very good detail wise and look to match available online reference. The construction of them is fairly simple, but Revell of Germany have thrown in some nice touches here which should result in a pleasant finish. The front axle also has good detail despite its simple design in the model, but disappointingly you do not have the option of depicting the front wheels in any other orientation than straight ahead, I also don’t believe it would be an easy job to alter this aspect.

The Tyres
The tyres supplied with the model are made from vinyl rubber, something I know will not please everyone. On the plus side the herring bone pattern tread does look to have been faithfully replicated and regardless of your opinion of the material they are made of, they do look very good with the moulding seam being the only to battle with. The hubs are good for the most part with all detail present on the outer ring, but the inner ring appears to be missing a lot of bolt detail or at least I cannot pick it up with my eyes. The spare wheel is very nice where I like the fact that the bolt holes are all open and ready for some minor assembly.

The Cab
The cab interior is as you would expect of a military truck from Russia during this period, fairly basic. Starting with the console, Revell of Germany have supplied nearly all of the detail present in the real vehicle, but some of the detail is a little soft. The dials are present and have been supplied with decals, these are accurate as regards layout but do not match the detail fully as regards what is on each dial. There are three aluminium plates in the cab, one on the glove box in the centre of the dash and the other two on the top of the dash in front of the passenger and driver are not supplied. The absence of these details will likely spur Archer or someone else to release a set in the near future. The buttons under the dash is another area where some scratch work will lift the detail. The foot pedals are all present and look to be of an acceptable shape and size, however the clutch pedal is not floor mounted on the real vehicle and so again some may wish to do some scratch work to correct that. The seats have a new look about them and so will look more realistic with some distortions being imparted to show wear and tear, I cannot verify the accuracy of the seat layout in this model. The exterior of the cab looks to be a fair representation of the real vehicle in most areas. I must say I was pleased to see Revell of Germany have added the raised detail of the company logo on the front of the bonnet. Also present are clear lenses for the various lights and Revell of Germany has done a good job of the wing mirrors.

Truck Bed
The wooden deck of the truck appears to have been faithfully reproduced. The wood grain detail is present but is not really accurate as this would not be seen under the paint as shown on the reference photograph I have looked at. However I would always much rather have it moulded and then remove it if wished than have to add the detail myself. The hoops for supporting the canvas roof (not supplied) are shown in the stored position. The hoops have been moulded in three parts, the top and two sides, there is no detail on the inner face and is the one area of this model I do not like, as such I would look at replacing them with suitable plastic stock in a single continuous run for each loop, or at the very least add some internal detail and fill the ejector pin marks which are also present.

The windscreen is a very nicely moulded piece it appears to be well detailed and is commendably thin, this has resulted in the windscreen not magnifying what is behind it. This is another area which I am very pleased with.

This is where you decide if Revell of Germany is the model for you over the ICM offering of the model. The finishing options in this release are;
NVA - East German Army – 1980
GSTD/GSSD – Soviet Army East Germany – 1980
Russian Army – 2000
Soviet Army – Afghanistan – 1980
These options indicate vehicles that are all one colour and camouflaged.


This is a very good model from Revell of Germany with a lot of good detail and nice features. The engine, gearbox and chassis are particularly pleasing to me, but then the whole model as a whole look good with limited modelling skills being required and no issues to trap the unwary. Another plus for Revell of Germany is that there products are usually very well priced, at least in Europe. Well worth looking out for.

Reference Used

Prime Portal Zil-131 Walkaround Live links

Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For details visit www.revell.de/en, @RevellGermany or facebook.com/Revell
Highs: I am pleased with the model as a whole.
Lows: There are a few issues but nothing beyond basic modelling skills will be needed to correct them.
Verdict: Well worth taking home and sneaking in past the wife.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 03245
  Suggested Retail: £22.99
  PUBLISHED: Mar 09, 2015

Our Thanks to Revell of Germany!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Darren Baker (CMOT)

I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2021 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. All rights reserved.


According to Military Modelling magazine the kit has accuracy issues in that some of the parts are under or over-sized, is this true?
MAR 09, 2015 - 03:32 PM
Reboxed ICM kit.
MAR 09, 2015 - 07:57 PM
I did not measure the parts, because I know that some require spot on size accuracy but most are happy with reasonable accuracy. In this case it quacks like a duck, looks like a duck and walks like a duck and so chances are its a duck, in other words close enough as to make very little difference to most. The various elemsnts that make up the model look correct and visually match reference. I suspect that if you picked up any model it would not match all measurement data and so close will keep most people happy.
MAR 09, 2015 - 08:40 PM
That's kind of what he just said in the introduction....
MAR 09, 2015 - 10:26 PM

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