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First Look Review
135
Voroshilovets Tractor
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by: Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

Not the most widely-produced Soviet Artillery tractor, but perhaps one of the most successful. The Voroshilovets began production in 1939 and ended in 1942. Only around 1100 were produced and although the production was curtailed due to the Germans overrunning the principal production facility in Kharkov (later on, with production transferred to STZ in Stalingrad, this was also lost). Production was also cut due to the strategic demand for tank engines with the power plant being switched from the V-2W to the V-4 - the V-2W being needed for T34s. The longevity of the Voroshilovets was also a surprising aspect - several photos exist of the vehicle in the battle for Berlin in 1945.

While cross-country performance was (naturally) limited, on roads it was capable of a respectable 42 Kph - therefore almost classifying the vehicle as a HST!

For Trumpeter, following on from their welcome release of the B4 Howitzer, the Voroshilovets was the obvious direction to go - the majority of images of the vehicle in Soviet service show a B4 attached somewhere! In German service, documentation is less complete, but artillery pieces such as the 21cm Mörser 18 WERE towed by it.


In the box

01573 - Voroshilovets Tractor comes on 19 separate sprues (one clear plastic) along with separately moulded parts for the Cab, Bonnet, the lower hull-tub and the Canvas Tilt. Also included (though missing from my example) is a small decal sheet.


A Preview, NOT a Review

While I will make a few comments on various aspects of the model, I prefer to wait until I actually build it before making more detailed comments on the accuracy and any 'gripes' I may encounter.


Reference Sources

Two principal sources were used for this 'Preview'. Firstly, Oliver Missing's extraordinary site Engines of the Red Army in WWII (LINK). Oliver has produced some invaluable illustrations of Soviet Vehicles and can be seen on his site.

The second source is inevitably the superlative book from Tankograd Publishing which covered the 'Tyagatshi' in stunning detail. The Review of the book can be seen: HERE (LINK). This book was also used to check details and dimensions from the excellent scale drawings which are included.


In Some Detail...

The Instructions:
These cover construction in a clear, uncomplicated manner. There are a total of 15 stages which begin with the suspension units. As in the actual vehicle, these are not as complex as other vehicles and will present no complications in assembly.

Tracks:
Although the model includes 19 sprues, 10 of them are parts for the tracks. They are produced in separate links and as moulding is clean and sharp, shouldn't require any major clean-up. The instructions show how many links are required for each track-run, so building up sections and attaching them SHOULD be straightforward. I would recommend building a simple jig to get everything nice and straight.

The Cab:
In common with other Soviet vehicles of this time, things are pretty spartan. Only around 9 parts are required for this stage. As I have no images of the cab interior, I have no comments to make if this is correct or not. It 'seems' right so no major additions should be required. As the tractor drove like a tank (or tractor?) no steering wheel was present, rather a collection of control sticks. The windows of the cab were split screen and the model reflects this although, again, real care will be needed and some modification to have them realistically half-open. The model makes no provision for opening the engine compartment although it should be pretty easy for super-detailers to consider. The doors are nicely moulded with the distinctive double 'beading' which continues round the rear of the cab.

Stages 10 & 11 of the construction, put all the previous sub-assemblies together and only the construction of the cargo deck remains. This is all nice, simple right-angles and moulding is good. Stage 13 mates the cargo deck to the lower suspension tub.

The final construction phase involves adding windows to the rear tilt which then simply clips onto the cargo bed.


Mould Quality

Moulding is crisp with little flash. Additional mould lugs are present on areas such as the drive sprockets and rear idlers which will require some extra care in removal.

Small details such as wing mirrors are finely detailed as are areas such as the lights, which include separate clear-plastic lenses.

The rear cargo compartment was made of wood and the company's designers have tried to 'texture' this to reflect this. Actual wood grain in 1/35th scale means it would be invisible and many may want to sand the roughness down. I'm not sure it was a necessary decision to include the graining as inevitably it is overscale.

The cargo tilt is excellent and scales out correctly according to the plans I have. Unfortunately, though, some may want modify it slightly as it is moulded completely closed - this shouldn't be too difficult a task. Painting should be carefully considered to bring out the best of it.

Although the tilt provided is the 'standard' type, it would have been nice if Trumpeter had considered the semi-rigid (extemporized) version. This appears on later images of the Voroshilovets and should be a simple enough proposition for scratchbuilding. Also missing from the kit are the hoops for the tilt supports. Again, referring to images, it should be a simple enough project to consider.


Conclusions

I've spent the last few days poring over photos, illustrations and drawings and I've come to the conclusion that the accuracy of the model is very good. Once again, that will be reconsidered when I actually start building.

As to the subject, although most will want the model as a Prime-Mover, there are other possibilities. Not the least of these was its use as a recovery vehicle (not always successfully) which suggest some interesting dioramas. Its use in German service should also be a good selling point - most of the heavy German artillery is already available.

Some of the model design is also interesting - the front radiator being fitted from behind should give a more convincing result than a single moulding. I'm less convinced by areas such as the wood texture on the rear cargo bed - again personal taste. The tracks should present few problems (with care) although it might have been better if these had been done in the same manner as the company's KV series?

The subject area should speak for itself. At a time when we're getting a great selection of models (from a variety of manufacturers) Trumpeter have chosen to model a vehicle which was present in some numbers, but not in the many thousands like other subjects - or even only existing in prototype or blueprint stage. A good balance with a subject which has enormous possibilities on many levels.

Finally, my thanks to Trumpeter Ltd. for the opportunity to Preview this model, long before it arrives in the stores!


Build Log

I've just begun building the model. First steps can be seen:
HERE (LINK)
SUMMARY
Jim Rae looks at what should be one of Trumpeter's 'stars' of 2010. The first injection-molded Soviet artillery tractor in 1:35, the Voroshilovets.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 01573
  Suggested Retail: $59.95US est.
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Aug 01, 2010
  NATIONALITY: Russia
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.06%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 84.63%

Our Thanks to Trumpeter!
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About Jim Rae (jimbrae)
FROM: PROVINCIA DE LUGO, SPAIN / ESPAñA

Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...

Copyright ©2017 text by Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Very nice Jim and thanks! I forgot all about this one with all the hoopla of armor being released so it is now on my list. - Jeff
AUG 01, 2010 - 01:41 PM
Very cool! Wonder if the Pak 40 ever made it onto the back of one of these?
AUG 01, 2010 - 02:09 PM
Yep, considering all the discussion over prototype models which many insist on producing (Trump included ) it's easy to lose sight of the fact that the majority of the manufacturers are working on (ahem) sensible releases.. This is, IMO, one of the most significant releases in recent years. Significantly as well, they've made a VERY good job of it.
AUG 02, 2010 - 09:15 AM
This is great news, and a fine "first look," Jim! Glad to see it.
AUG 02, 2010 - 01:47 PM
Right on time as I've just finished building the howitzer.
AUG 03, 2010 - 03:31 AM
This is great news and new to me. Now I definitely have to get one of those howitzers... Cheers! Stefan
AUG 03, 2010 - 04:00 AM
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