Saturday, July 13

Dual construction Review: 72nd scale Russian Army Tractors Set: KZKT 537L & MAZ 537 from Takom

Takom has taken to releasing some kits alternate to 35th scale if recent - starting with 72nd scale in some well-known and much-loved machines that are already done to death in 35th scale and good on them for trying it. Today Paul Lee takes on a twin tractor tussle with the new set of two kits in a box "Russian Army Tractors Set: KZKT 537L & MAZ 537"...

Dual construction Review: Russian Army Tractors Set: KZKT 537L & MAZ 537
Manufacturer: Takom
1/72nd Scale
Type: Polystyrene and photo-etch multimedia Kit
Available from Takom's distributors worldwide

I’ve built a few Takom kits and aside from being very well engineered kits, Takom’s choice of subject has also been quite refreshing with some left field choices that have not been released as styrene kits before. Takom has gone slightly left field again, moving away from 1/35 scale, and now into the world of 1/72nd scale.
Takom has chosen the MAZ 537 tractor to be their first kit in 1/72, releasing two boxings, one with a trailer as a tank transporter, and this second boxing consisting of two tractors, the MAZ 537, and its derivative the KZKT 537L cargo truck with a tray on the back.
The MAZ 537 is a military artillery tractor and is used to tow a variety of loads but often seen as a tank transporter towing a trailer, however, this boxing only gives you the tractor. Four marking options are provided with two green, one yellow, and one vehicle camouflaged in yellow and green.
The KZKT 537L is a variant of the MAZ and is an airfield ballast tractor used for towing a variety of aircraft such as the AN-22. Three schemes are provided for this vehicle and the camouflage schemes on these vehicles are quite interesting.
Construction starts with the chassis frame which are straight forward affairs, with a bevelled front on the MAZ 537 being the only difference between the two chassis’. Details are fairly simple with just the drive train, and suspension arms for the wheels, and the fit presents minimal problems. The PE squares go on the ends of the leaf spring suspension, but the ones under the tray will be completely invisible.
The interior is the same for both vehicles and pretty basic with just the seat, dashboard and steering wheel. Some basic dials are moulded on for the instrument panel but this will be pretty much invisible once you close up the cabin, so you don’t even need to paint them if you don’t want to.
The engine compartment is located behind the driver’s compartment, although no engine is provided but it will be invisible with the back cover is in place.
Both cabins come in a shell with the headlights being the only difference between the two. The doors are supplied in clear so all you need to do is mask off the windows to paint, but the downside is that you can’t have the windows open or partially open unless you want to do precision cutting.
The wheels are straight forward with plastic rims and vinyl tyres. The tread pattern on the tyres are the same for both vehicles, but there is a seam on each of the tyres which are quite hard to remove in vinyl. They are a fairly tight fit on their axles so you can just screw them on, but the problem with that is trying to make sure all the wheels are straight so you may be better off doing a bit of sanding and gluing them on.
There two kits really do go together very easily, although the details are on the simple side, but this is 1/72 scale, and these models give you a very good base to start for additional detailing if you so wish. The wiper blades come in PE, but that is an unavoidable detail because they would be drastically over-scale if they were attempted in styrene.
For the Maz, I just couldn’t go past the classical green scheme so I followed the Mig Ammo colour recommendations in the instructions and decided on the Hungarian markings. I lightly dusted the models using Abteilung oils, but it comes up a bit heavy in the photos, particularly on the windscreen.
The KZKT was an easy choice with the vehicle with the big black and yellow markings on the front fender. The scheme is green with black outlined blue/grey patches. Once again, I followed the Mig Ammo colour recommendations, but for the black outlines, I decided a Gundam marker offered the easiest solution, although I found that drawing lines on a small model is not as easy as drawing on paper. Once again, I weathered with Abteilung oils, and again, the weathering comes up a bit heavy in the photos compared to what you see in real life.
Overall, while 1/72 is not my preferred scale for vehicles, these are some very large vehicles and come out to a size similar to a 1/48 WW2 tank. They go together very easily, and are a nice quick build, although it is a bit of a shame to have the MAZ not towing anything. Takom has recently announced a new line called Takom Blitz which is designed with quick and easy assembly in mind. I wonder if this first venture into 1/72 is a hint of what Takom Blitz is?

Paul Lee

Thanks to Takom for sending this kit to Paul to build and review