38005 MiniArt GAZ-03-30 Bus

In May 1929 the Soviet Union signed an agreement with the Ford Motor Company. Under its terms, the Soviets agreed to purchase $13 million worth of automobiles and parts, while Ford agreed to give technical assistance until 1938 to construct an integrated automobile-manufacturing plant at Nizhny Novgorod. Production started on January 1, 1932, and the factory and marque was titled Nizhegorodsky Avtomobilny Zavod, or NAZ, but also displayed the “Ford” sign. GAZ’s first vehicle was the medium-priced Ford Model A, sold as the NAZ-A, and a light truck, the Ford Model AA (NAZ-AA). In 1933, the factory’s name changed to Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod, or GAZ, when the city was renamed after Maxim Gorky; similarly, models were renamed GAZ-A and GAZ-AA. The bus subject of this review was built on the chassis of the GAZ-AA, which in turn was based on the Ford Model AA.

The GAZ-03-30 was a 17 seater bus (1 driver and 16 passengers) and was in production from 1933 to 1950 with an interruption in production during the war years. The pre and post war models can be differentiated by the fender designs; square on post war and rounded on pre war. Some 18613 vehicles were produced in total and 3 still exist in museums.

This is MiniArt’s second version of this bus. Previously they have 35149 GAZ 03-30 Mod. 1938, which has military painting options. This boxing is very similar to the Mod. 1938 version and with all civilian painting options. Coming soon is a third boxing, 35160 GAZ-03-30 Ambulance.

The kit arrives in a sturdy top opening box with all the various parts sealed inside one large bag. There’s not much space inside the bag so everything is held securely in place. Inside this bag the decals, small PE fret and 2 small clear frets are inside their own plastic bag to protect them.

The instructions say there’s 331 parts, but MiniArt’s website says there’s 435 – I’m wondering if there’s 435 parts in the box and you use 331 – the numbers seem to fit. You have 39 grey frets of varying sizes with 297 parts, 2 clear frets with 26 parts, 1 small PE fret with 8 parts and a decal sheet. There is a lot of plastic and parts in this kit!

The instructions are in a 16 page booklet and cover 48 steps. Colour call outs are to one manufacturer only – Ammo by Mig Jiminez. The colour profiles and info are supplied by AMMO, so I assume that is the reason theirs are the only colours referenced. The colour profiles are clear and well covered and actually show subtle weathering, which is no surprise since AMMO made them. I do notice though that there’s only one indication of the interior colours, “Green 4BO” is mentioned in step 13, so you will have to do some research there.

The build instructions are black and white line drawings, and are very clear and detailed. In places you will have to look closely though to see exactly where some parts attach.

The level of details on the sprues is very good. The tyres are each made of 7 parts sandwiched together to give a good tread pattern. The engine and gearbox is made up of 20 parts. You can display the model with the hood open if you wish, but you will need to add your own wiring etc to the engine. You get the choice of 2 fender types, one for pre war production and one for post war production. All doors can be positioned open or closed and you get the back step in the right place whether the back doors are open or closed. The windscreen can also be open or closed. You will have to carefully think through your order of painting and masking to make life as easy for yourself as possible.

You get 8 painting/decal options. The options are from a variety of organisations and in a variety of colours, as you can see from the images.

This kit should cost you about $34 plus shipping, depending where you live and buy from.

Overall this is a very nicely detailed and put together kit and will keep you busy for a while with the pretty high parts count. The end result will be a very nice model that will probably look a little different from the norm on most shelves.

Many thanks to MiniArt for the review sample.

Paul Tosney – Editor
ModelBuilder International


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