Armory 1/144 ZiL-131 Soviet Modern Cargo Truck
By Matt Bittner
"The ZIL-131 is a general purpose 3.5 tons 6x6 army truck designed in the Soviet Union by ZIL. The basic model being a general cargo truck. Variants include a tractor-trailer truck, a dump truck, a fuel truck, and a 6x6 for towing a 4-wheeled powered trailer. The ZIL-131 also serves as a platform for the 9P138 rocket launcher, a 30-tube variant of the BM-21 "Grad".
"The ZIL-131 was introduced in 1966; it is a military version of the ZIL-130, that was introduced in 1962, and a family of two trucks is sharing identical components. The ZIL-131 6x6 has the same equipment as the GAZ-66 and Ural-375D.
"The ZIL-130/131 was in production at the "AMUR" truck plant (as the AMUR 531340), with both gasoline and diesel engines, until 2012 when AMUR shut down and filed for bankruptcy."
Armory has released a number of 1/144 kits based on the ZiL-131 chassis. Their first release was this "straight" ZiL-131 cargo truck and consists of two sprue of injected, plastic pieces; one piece of resin (the main "bed" for the truck); and a photoetch set with 24 pieces of photoetch metal on it, not all used with this kit. In fact the same can be said for the injected, plastic sprue. Since Armory has released a number of different "type" of trucks based on the ZiL-131 chassis, there are parts on the sprue that aren't used for all variants. There are two plastic sprue, one in grey, the other clear. The gray injected sprue consists of 18 pieces, two not being used with this release. The second, injected clear sprue is for everything meant for the cab; there are 17 pieces on the sprue, with seven not being used with this release. Releasing all cab parts in clear makes sense, that way all windows are clear; in fact, Armory also includes a set of masks to use on the cab once it's all together. Excellent. There is also a small set of decals, mainly "license plates" and small unit symbols for the door sides. These decals are for 10 specific trucks, two Ukrainian, five Soviet, one Czech and two Russian Federation Army.
Construction starts with the chassis and other pieces for the underside of the trucks. First is assembled what I assume is a cargo container with a spare tire (and the first piece of photoetch used) then you move on to assembling the drive trains, both front and rear. These are then added to the main chassis, along with the bed frame and two hooks. Then you move to assembling the cab in three different steps before adding the cab to the body. At the same time you add the two fuel tanks.
The last part of main construction is adding the resin bed to the chassis along with its side "stakes", which are photoetch. Finally, the last two steps have you add a bunch of the photoetch, but only showing those parts in place, and not how you place them. This isn't a huge problem for some of the pieces, but it's up to you on where to glue the photoetch rear fenders to the main body. Is glue applied to the top of the photoetch (once bent), or to the sides? Are the fenders added to the bottom of the bed, or the sides of the frame? Something that needs figuring out during assembly so I won't have the answers for you in this First Look.
Aside from that last, small "hiccup", this 1/144 ZiL-131 will look great once finished. With its open bed it also begs to be filled with different type of cargo and equipment, best left to your imagination.
My thanks to Armory for sending this truck to review.