The ZiL-131 is a general purpose military truck. Its production commenced in 1966 and it replaced the previous ZiL-157. Production ceased in 1994 with nearly 1,000,000 of these military trucks produced. Despite its age, the ZiL-131 is widely used by the Russian military, as well as a number of other countries. An all-metal cab of this truck provides seating for the driver and two passengers.
Variants of the ZiL-131 include a ZiL-131V tractor truck for towing semi-trailers, ZiL-131D dump truck and fuel and water tankers. It is used as a chassis for the Grad-1 artillery rocket system. An improved variant, the ZiL-131N, was introduced in 1986. A civilian version of this truck, the ZiL-130 with 4x4 configurations was also produced in large numbers. In 1995 a new ZiL-4334 was proposed as a replacement of the -131N. A small number of these trucks are in service with the Russian Army.
These are amazing days to be a modeller! Never before have we had so many offerings, in quantity and quality. Today we not only have the "main subject" but also many other variants. It’s really good to see brands providing the less known subjects of such diverse vehicles and aircraft. Did I already tell you we are living wonderful modelling days?
This kit comes with a very beautiful box art! In Portugal we say that the eyes also eat, and with no doubt this box art is half the reason for you to purchase this kit and take it home with you! It would be nice to know the name of the artist that drew this really nice “picture”. As usual we get the ICM trade mark box, a strong box that will protect the kit from damage. Another common thing with ICM is that with the exception of the clear parts, all of the other sprues are bagged together. I had to cut a part to be able to get two sprues apart from each other. Once the box is opened we find a considerable amount of plastic, really, lots of plastic can be found here and it looks really nice.
I don’t know everything that this vehicle is composed of, but it looks like ICM has put it all there! So starting with the chassis, I note that most of it will not be seen once the kit is assembled, but everything is there and done in a way that will provide a method that all of the wheels will be in touch with the ground. It will be hard to have a skewed chassis. The leaf spring suspension I love as it is very good, the axles are also very well done. The drive shafts come with a correct number of parts, one big part brings almost all we need to put in there. I don’t like to build a kit like the real vehicle is built, so ICM gives us everything that is needed with a considerable amount of parts but not too many parts that will make the build more difficult and boring than it need be, even worse when we are talking about an area that is not going to be seen. The engine is also represented, but it doesn’t look to be so detailed unlike the previous mentioned parts, but once more, nothing of it will be visible once the model is finished. The radiator looks really great and this will be seen so it will do the job perfectly.
The truck cab is composed of about 40 parts and even though there is plenty of detail it will still need extra work to make it look really good! I think the inclusion of a P.E. fret would make a huge difference. I think ICM could have done a better job here, but this doesn’t mean that is not good, it only means it could be a little bit better! Some parts, like the top of the cab will require a lot of attention and care when removing it from the sprue, there is a gutter all around the part that can be easily damaged. Since the cab is the “heart” of most trucks it would be nice to have details there. The seats are very simple and lack the details that make a seat look used and so they will need some attention to be convincing. The doors have been done in two parts so the interior of it is well represented via the different parts.
Fortunately the exterior parts are much better than the ones on the interior. The bonnet, the front grill, and basically all the parts are really well done with sharp details and with no flash present at all, the only pin marks around will not be seen once the parts are in place. The brush guards for the light protection look to be a little bit too thick, but they look good and once in place I think they will be spot on. It will be easy to make the cab looks good since there is a lot of details that will make it eye catching.
This is an Emergency Truck and at some point I thought that it should be a field medical centre, or a field hospital, instead we have a field workshop! Once more the exterior parts are really well moulded, with the rubber sealant on the windows very well represented, beside this there is not many other details on the side walls. Like the vehicle cab the interior is composed of many parts, there are a few workbenches and several tools to repair damaged parts from other vehicles. A lamp and a tools box is also there, but they are not the best parts of the kit. Once more there is a really good base to work from and make it look better, but I think that only with the addition of extra parts or some scratch work will it be possible to make it shine. None the less it will look nice if a good painting and weathering job is well done.
Once more we will have lots of parts to glue here and those parts are going to make this “box” look really great! We can find some tanks and deposits and that seems to be a generator. The handles can be found in a very thin plastic, it will require some extra care to remove them from the sprues. There is almost no flash or sink marks present, the ejector pins marks are all in strategic places that will not be seen once the parts are in place.
The clear parts are really good and there is no distortion at all, they are crisply moulded in a very thin plastic and once in place they will allow a perfect view of the interior, it’s one of the reasons I think it will need some work to make the vehicle cab compartment looks really good. These parts come bagged separately from the other sprues.
The tyres are made with rubber and they look really good, with amazing details there is some flash that is not that easy to remove, but we can get rid of it with a 400/500 grit sand paper.
The decals look good. They are very well printed and offer the possibility to build two versions, one military and a civilian one. Both the versions are really colourful with a deep yellow on the rear cabin. The dash board instruments are here too.
The instruction booklet had the cover and back pages printed in full colour, the interior is printed in two colours and it easy to follow, clean and perceptible drawings will make the build easy. Once it is all put together it will make an amazingly good looking vehicle.
This is a very eye catching vehicle, there are some issues, mostly with the interiors, but it will look amazing once finished. Then it will be a true gem, can you imagine the fun that it will be to weather all those big surfaces? With the help of some after marks bits it will look even better. But it will also look good OOB.
Highs: Originality, no flash, no sink marks, hidden ejector pins, good decals, easy to follow instruction, amazing clear parts, the tyres have a very good level of detail. The parts are crisply moulded. Good price for the value.
Lows: Flash on the tyres, all parts bagged together with the exception of the clear parts that are bagged individually, poor interiors, a P.E. fret would help to make the interiors look better.Verdict: If the interiors were as good as all the exterior parts then this would be a truly amazing kit. This way its seems that something is missing. I hope the after market companies make some parts for the interior, this kit deserves it.
About Vitor Costa (VitorCosta) FROM: LISBOA, PORTUGAL
I build models since i was 7. I like all the different type of models i already have build almost every thing there is to build but my favourite is the aircrafts, mainly 1/48, i build many 1/72 since i still do commission work. After 25 years i return to the AFV's too.