From Russia With Lugnuts

Strangely, the best 1/43 truck model kits readily available have been sold by a Russian company called AVD. Unfortunately for us international truck model lovers, the models are nearly all Russian trucks and buses, with some Tatras and Skodas thrown in. The kits are manufactured in China and are of relatively high quality. The kits aren’t vintage but many of the subject trucks are. Older kits in AVD’s extensive production line have metal bodies and frames; the trend in recent years is toward resin.

I purchased a semi tractor kit on eBay (they are expensive—$50–$100 with shipping) and waited months for its arrival. When it came it was a bit out of place among the other packages laying about.

It sat there in a pile of boxes for another several months before I finally opened it up. Gotta let the nerve agent wear off, that’s common knowledge.

One of the best things about these AVD kits in my opinion is the rogue graphic designer who inserted images of famous musicians, movie stars, dictators, etc. on the box covers. This kit that I bought had John Lennon, as seen on the cover of Abbey Road. Looks like he’s about to get unceremoniously maimed by the truck in question. Another kit features Charlie Chaplin, toddling next to an otherwise completely nondescript truck. I do believe Stalin graces one of the boxes, behind the wheel of a large vintage hauler, while gravelly-voiced lead vocalist Brian Jones of AC/DC seems to appear next to a dump truck on another. I think that’s who that is.

The model itself is pretty fantastic. Everything comes together very nicely, with good detail. Rubber tires, rolling axles, detailed engine and undercarriage, nice decals. Hard to believe no American company is offering something similar with USA-built trucks, using the same Chinese factory to produce the goods. I don’t know why they don’t when the molds are already made and they’ve got at least 1 certified sucker right here ready to go.

Had a few interesting issues with the build. My model glue did not work on this plastic, not sure why. Just did not work. Maybe not bonding with the nerve agent, that’s just a guess. No big deal as I just used epoxy which was better for most of the construction anyway. Also, one of the pieces was seemingly missing from the sealed box, also not a huge deal but annoying and possibly the reason this particular kit, the MAZ-6422, is among the cheapest AVD kits available.

Altogether I really enjoyed this trip behind the Iron Curtain that supposedly no longer exists, and the finished model is lovely. I would enjoy building more of these, but what would people say about a guy in possession of a fleet of tiny Russian trucks.

Stay tuned for the finished product…

Approximately 1 stamp for each week in transit

Orange Daytona

’71 Daytona

The latest chapter in my ongoing descent to the musty depths of old manness involved the interception of several vintage Solido metal 1/43 kits, and the unavoidable completion of one of em, a ’71 Ferrari Daytona, which I painted orange with black wheels in complete defiance of the 3 sets of included race decals just because I thought it would be cool. Update: It is!

The Solido kits, made in France, come together a lot more, mmm, solidly, than the FDS kits or Hubley kits I’ve built. The bodies are made with better metal, parts are machined with greater precision, and almost everything snaps into place with righteous finality, which no doubt makes them a lot better for kids or novices. Decals are superbe with an e on the end. When finished, they could even serve admirably as toys, with suspension and working doors. (A cool project would be to build one of these and give it to a kid like any other toy. Think about building it as tough as can be so the kid can really go to town on it, epoxy, clearcoat, etc.) Despite all the positives, the Solido kits are not as sought after as the older clunkier kits. Just not as sexy to collectors for some reason. But I’ve got 2 more for sale right now, a Citroen (!) rallye car and a Pugeot rallye car. Get at em before I do.

This saga is just going to get weirder too. Stay tuned.