by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
Among North Star Models' extensive range of resin and photo-etched accessories is a neat 1:48 mixed-media kit of an AMZ-53 airfield trolley, a servicing unit dating back to the mid 1950s and used for transporting fluids and gases around Warsaw Pact bases.
The kit arrives tightly packed in a resealable bag with card insert and comprises:
17 x grey resin pieces
13 x etched brass pieces
The sample kit is beautifully cast, with no signs of bubbles or other perfections. The only flash I found was on the towing bar, and this is very wispy and will be easy to clean off. One small spigot had been damaged in transit, which is a shame I should be able to replace it with plastic rod without it showing too badly. Some of the parts arrive on very substantial casting blocks with thick attachments, so the first task will be to remove them carefully with a razor saw. Once that's done, clean-up looks set to be very straightforward.
The detail is excellent, with very crisp castings. The wheels and the unit's lid are particularly nice, with pin-sharp detailing on the wheel hubs and makerís text on the tyres, while the lid is beautifully thin and features internal ribs and stiffeners, all of which can be seen when it's attached with a folded etched bracket.
The core of the kit is a moulded set of bottles and flasks that slip inside the unitís body. The top of each flask is a separate piece, further detailed with an etched handle.
The small front wheel would caster on the real unit, but it's cast solid in the kit. However, if youíre careful, thereís just room to slice the part with a fine razor saw and re-mount it turned to one side for a bit of extra "life".
The etched parts include a fascia for the top of the main unit with holes for the tops of the cannisters. Interestingly, the instructions seem to show the cannisters enclosed behind a partition, but they are open in the kit.
The instructions themselves arrive on a small A5 sheet, with construction broken down into 4 straightforward stages. The illustrations are excellent and assembly should be no problems for modellers with a little experience working with resin and etched parts.
There are no painting instructions, so modellers will need to find suitable references. I imagine most (if not all) units were painted in Soviet military green overall, but there may well have been exceptions.
ConclusionNorth Star Models' kit of the AMZ-53 looks like it will build into a very neat little model that will be an ideal accessory for any 1:48 Warsaw Pact airfield diorama or vignette. (Note: For modellers working in 1:72, North Star Models also produce a scaled down version - Item #72099.)
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