First Look Review
BZ-38 Refueller Truck
BZ-38 Refueller Truck
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by: Jean-Luc Formery [ TEDMAMERE ]

Manufacturing of the BZ-38 refueller truck was launched in 1938. The vehicle was then mostly used on airfields equiped with fighter aircraft and scout airplanes which needed smaler volumes of fuel. The chassis was the same as the GAZ-AAA truck but fitted with a Tank of 1350 liters. A cabin with the refuelling commands was located in front of the tank while the hoses were located in a cabin at the rear. The engine was a GAZ-M 4-cylinder with 50 hp. With a weight of 4 tons, the truck's maximal speed was 65 km/h. A simpler variant called BZ-38U was launched in 1942.

The kit
On opening the robust top opening box, you find 4 sprues of dark green plastic parts, 10 vinyl tyres, one etched copper fret, one sheet of acetate film for windows and lenses, a sheet of decals and the instructions.

It is to note that this kit is the third of a serie of four (so far). The reviews of the other GAZ based trucks made by UM can be found on Aeroscale by using the links below:
- GAZ-AAA Soviet Truck (503)
- AS-2 Starter Truck (506)
- BZ-38 Refueller (509)
- Quadruple Maxim truck (511)

Apart from sprues E (fuel tank), the plastic parts are similar to the ones one can find in the initial GAZ-AAA kit, so please refer to the above mentionned reviews for more details. However, to sum up, the parts, though not as perfectly molded as on a Tamigawa kit, are very nice overall. Only the grainy surface of the plastic, mostly on the bigger parts is a bit annoying but this doesn't affects the smaller parts which have a very smooth surface finish and really crisp details molded on. Only some traces of flash will have to be eliminated before assembly. In term of detail, UM have really done a great job as a complete chassis is provided, as well as a detailed engine (with separate engine hood panels) and separate cabin doors.

Clear parts have to be cut in a small sheet of fine acetate plastic. They will look very realistic once in place but extrem care will be needed to cut them to shape and glue them on the model. Some PE parts are provided as well on a tiny copper fret.

The decals are different than on the first boxing. They look fine but have an ICM "feel" to them, which isn't necessarily a good thing. It is probably better to cover them with a coat of varnish before using them as these ukrainian decals have the bad habit of breaking apart when hitting the water.

The instruction are of course also new. They are printed on two A3 sized paper sheet folded so to make an 8 pages A4 booklet. The construction guide has 35 (!?) steps and this shows how complex and detailed the kit is. The drawings are very clear and easy to understand even if the build won't be an easy one for sure. There is no painting guide as such (the truck is camouflaged in overall green) but colors are given for the Humbrol range of paints.

Provided the fit is good, Unimodels' BZ-38 Refueller is an excellent kit that should build up into a detailed replica of the real truck. Only the grainy texture of some plastic parts will require some additionnal work. Other than that, it's an excellent (and affordable) choice if you want to do a diorama with a VVS fighter aircraft. Highly recommended to modelers with some experience with smaller parts.

Unimodels' BZ-38 Refueller Truck is available from Modelimex - specialists in Eastern European short run kits.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Interesting subject - High level of detail - Affordable price.
Lows: Grainy texture on some parts.
Verdict: Excellent choice to accompany a VVS fighter aircraft in a diorama scene.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: UMM-48509
  Suggested Retail: 14.75
  PUBLISHED: Sep 12, 2009

About Jean-Luc Formery (TedMamere)

I'm mainly interested in WW2 aircraft and I build them in 1/48 scale.

Copyright 2021 text by Jean-Luc Formery [ TEDMAMERE ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


Hi Steffen There's some wonderful resin stuff out there, but the unavoidable cost of such kits inevitably puts them beyond the reach of many modellers. So far the mainstream manufacturers haven't really woken up to the full potential of the market for larger airfied vehicles (bowsers, ambulances and fire tenders) but, hopefully, Tamiya will have realised they're on to something with the sales of their Tilly, which sold out within days in the UK and deliveries couldn't keep up with demand for some time. Yes, those tyres are a weak point in these UM kits. I don't like vinyl/rubber tyres often either. Hauler do a nice set of resin replacements, but they obviously bump up the price a bit (they seem to be out of stock at Modlimex at the moment - perhaps Petr's had a run on them with the release of these new kits). All the best Rowan
SEP 16, 2009 - 09:02 PM
Hi Rowan I know that you know and obvoiusly J-L too. But I wanted to add some info for others that might not. ... e.g. I have Jan's (Hauler) beautiful BZ-38 (as well as the Krupp) so there is no need for me to buy this one .. but I just got myself the AS-2 .. now that I have those beautiful spinners with starter hooks I need something to point at them all the best Steffen
SEP 16, 2009 - 09:08 PM
Hi Steffen I've just spotted that Model Hobbies has both kits in stock at a very nice UK price. I think I may need to get myself a moving-house present! (I'll mount Rest Models' gorgeous resin Quad Maxim on the AA truck). All the best Rowan
SEP 16, 2009 - 09:55 PM
Hi Rowan, Thanks for the welcome, been a member for a while now but haven't posted. Yes, German would be nice, too. I have been building 1/48 vehicles for some time as they take up less space than aircraft - practically run out of shelf space. I built the Monogram Cletrac and bomb trailer as I had given up waiting - admittedly, in the end not much remained of the kit parts when I had finished, though!. Now working on the Peolini Dodge ambulance which I bought just recently. Regarding the Tamiya Tilly, after I got it I discovered that the Austin version was only in use Post War.
SEP 16, 2009 - 10:55 PM
Hi Iain, No, it's not a misprint. I've checked again and it's the right price. personally, I have decided not to buy 1/48 scale resin vehicles anymore. I've built some and they always were a lot more difficult to assemble than the plastic ones (though the Accurate Armor kits are real gems). Tamiya, Hasegawa, Italeri, ICM are all easier kits to work with. The price is another important factor. You can have the whole collection of UM trucks for one Accurate Armor kit! I will continue to buy resin stuff for figures, animals and smaller things though. In the past three years we have received the following vehicles kits: - Tilly (Tamiya) - Kurogane (Tamiya and Hasegawa) - Isuzu TX 40 Fuel truck (Hasegawa) - Isuzu Truck (Hasegawa) - Japanese Motorcycle and Sidecar (Hasegawa) - BMW 327 (Hasegawa) - Opel Blitz (Italeri/Tamiya) - Jeep (Tamiya and hasegawa) - GAZ Truck in 4 versions (Unimodels) etc... I have most of them in resin as well but I don't think I will build them anymore... Jean-Luc
SEP 16, 2009 - 11:35 PM
I love that 1/48 Tamiya/Hasegawa/UM 1/48 ww2 vehicles for aircraft dio's Cheers Nick
SEP 17, 2009 - 12:49 AM
Hi Iain I hadn't realised that - but perhaps it explains the driver's essentially post-war beret (if you're going for the RAF option). All the best Rowan
SEP 17, 2009 - 10:20 AM
Hi Rowan, I didn't realise it until after I got it, but it is a nice little model - as long as you don't use the spurious markings! The AA kit of the Standard Tilly is correct for WW2, though. I was in touch with Derek Hansen at Accurate Armour yesterday and they will be doing the boomless Bedford QL refueller as usd later in WW2 and with Second TAF in Europe and at a later date the Albion bowser as used pre-war and in the early years of WW2. I have several AA kits and they are the Rolls Royce of 1/48 scale vehicles - all they need is to add some printed clear sheet for the windows a la Peolini Dodge ambulance. Of course, I wouldn't complain if Tamiya did these vehicles but the odds are against it ......... until I have built the AA kits, anyway. Iain
SEP 17, 2009 - 10:03 PM
Hi Iain, Please build your Accurate Armor resin kits as soon as possible. Once you have started, Tamiya or Hasegawa will show up with their plastic versions... Jean-Luc
SEP 17, 2009 - 11:14 PM

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