Toko/Eastern Express 1/35th GAZ AA and AAA Trucks
Reviewed by Adam Vukich
The GAZ-AA was a very important vehicle for the Soviet Army throughout World War II. This 2-axle truck was based on the Ford Model AA truck and began production in 1932. It had a four cylinder, 40 HP engine and could reach a top speed of 70 km/h on roads. This workhorse was placed into a variety of roles by the Red Army including supply hauling, troop transport, ambulance, fueling, and was also converted to mount either the 25-mm AA gun or quadruple Maxim machine gun. This truck is most famous for being the vehicle used by the Soviets to cross the frozen Lake Ladoga bringing supplies into Leningrad so that the besieged city would not fall into German hands.
The kit looks to be a great model. There is no flash, very few ejector pin marks, and very few seam lines. It comes with a fully detailed under-carriage and an engine that can be displayed with a little bit of work on the hood. For the rear, you are given wooden bench seats if you wish to do a troop transporter and you are also given a fairly well done tarp if you want to cover up the back. Details are a little bit softer than on a new Tamiya kit, but compare very nicely with older Tamiya offerings. I am very impressed with the wood grain details for the rear cargo area. To be honest, this is one of the best Eastern European kits I've seen in a long while. The instructions are very clear and give the appropriate Humbrol paint numbers for the parts. The only real knock on the kit is that it doesn't include any decals even though the box art shows a truck with markings.
The GAZ-AAA was a conversion of the 2-axled GAZ-AA into a 3-axled version. It was slightly heavier (2475kg as opposed to 1810kg) and slower (65 km/h as opposed to 70 km/h), but had an increased load capacity from 1.5 tons to 2 tons. The chassis of the GAZ-AAA was used for the BA-6 and BA-10 armored cars, the SU-12 self-propelled gun, and many others. It entered production in 1934 and was phased out in 1943 after nearly 37,500 were produced.
As with the GAZ-AA there is no flash, very few ejector pin marks, and very few seam lines. This kit shares most of its parts with the GAZ-AA kit. The only differences are that this kit gives you 4 more tires and the I sprue (chassis and suspension parts) is new.
The Toko version of this kit may be a bit hard to come by, but Eastern Express has recently begun reboxing it under their name.
All in all, I think this kit will build into a very nice model with very little work and can even be made into a show stopper using the PE set available from PART. I would recommend this kit to all Soviet WWII fans and even German fans as this would make a great knocked-out, abandoned, or captured vehicle in a diorama.
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