by: Adam Berhidi [ ]
The fans of 1/35th scale modern Soviet/Russian trucks have seen a couple of great releases in the last years: the Ural-4320 and the GAZ-66 from Trumpeter, the ZiL-131 from ICM, the KrAZ-255B from HobbyBoss, and the KrAZ-260 from Takom. In order to go further down this road, Takom has brought us the successor of the KrAZ-260: the KrAZ-6322 heavy truck (late type) and its tractor version, the KrAZ-6446.
The KrAZ 6322 family is basically a modernized KrAZ-260 and has been in production since 1994. Takom’s description states 1999 which I was unable to verify, but as this is the “late type” I presume this version has been in production since 1999. The KrAZ-6322 has several versions: cargo/troop transport, tractor, communications, mechanic, recovery, MRL, MRAP. The vehicles are customizable to meet the customers’ needs with several engine types, left- or right-hand drive, optional A/C, armor, etc.
The official website of AvtoKrAZ is a good source for technical details and basic dimensions as not too much detail is available on this truck in English. The following description is from the company’s brochure:
The KrAZ-6322 Soldier high mobility tactical vehicle and its modifications are intended for transportation of personnel of military units, various cargos and heavy artillery systems of up to 203 mm caliber. It can be used as a ballast prime mover for aircrafts transportation on airfields. The vehicle can be successfully operated in the most hostile environmental conditions of all continents within a temperature range of -50 to 60 ºC at an altitude of up to 5000 m above sea level. It can overcome water obstacles up to 1,5 m and snow cover up to 0,6 m. The vehicle is equipped with a centralized tire inflation system ensuring high off-road capability on low-load-bearing capacity soils, as well as with a winch with tractive force up to 12 t designed for self-recovery, recovery of stuck vehicles and easy loading of heavy cargoes on a trailer.
Basically it is the same reliable heavy-duty 6x6 truck as the KrAZ-255B and -260 but updated to meet today’s standards. It is currently in service in Ukraine, Angola, Egypt, Georgia, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Nigeria, Syria, Yemen, Thailand, and Turkmenistan.
Unfortunately I was unable to find out what should be the difference between the “early” and the “late” version, except for one idea that is only based on the comparison of the sprues of the three Takom kits – but more on this later.
The kit arrives in a box of decent size, although a bit weak regarding its construction but luckily most online retailers pack their goodies in carton boxes so this will not be an issue. Should you prefer do your shopping in person you will find some handy information on the side of the box: quality sprue shots and color profiles (with Ammo colors) for two vehicles – a nice touch.
The box contains two big, three medium, three small sprues in green plastic, two clear ones, seven tires of soft vinyl, a sheet of PE, decals, a black and white instructions booklet and painting instructions in color. Everything is individually wrapped in plastic bags, plus the PE and the decals are packed in the same bag as the instructions. Everything did arrive in perfect condition so no complaints here.
As I previously mentioned, I could not dig out too many details as to how the KrAZ-260, the -6446 tractor and the “late” -6322 compare to each other, so I took a good look at the sprues of the three kits. To begin with, all three of them share the sprues for the chassis, the engine, the gearbox, the transmission, the axles and the suspension (so basically everything but the cab and the engine bonnet and some other tiny bits), plus the truck bed is also identical (obviously except for the tractor). To me it seems a bit odd that a truck from 1979 (KrAZ-260) has almost exactly the same layout as the ones from the 1990s, however there is a chance that a “late” KrAZ-260 has a chassis, transmission, etc. identical to the 6322 series. So this might or might not be an error, unfortunately I am unable to confirm it.
As for “early” versus “late”, my best guess is that the KrAZ-6446 tractor might be an “early” as it has more parts in common with the KrAZ-260 (same front bumper, same cab but different engine bonnet with old KrAZ logo). The “late” 6322 has some additional changes for the cab and other bits (bumper, new style company logo, instrument panel, mud flaps, fuel tank). And still there are some cab/engine bonnet parts that are shared by all three kits.
The parts quality is up to today’s standards with good details and no sink marks. However some flash is visible but these are easy to remove. There is a number of ejection pin marks present but most of these will not be visible, although some modelers might want to deal with the ones on the inner side of the cab’s roof. All in all the quality of the parts is top notch and they do not seem to require more work than any other recent kit from the top Chinese companies. In total, we get 349 plastic and 31 PE parts.
The windows are clear enough and have no distortion but way too thick, most of them are at least 1mm – that would be 35mm in the real world. However it is not really visible unless one of the doors is open.
The PE sheet contains four mud flaps, the anti-slip parts for the front bumper and some other bits. Here I have run into a feature that is new to me: the parts are covered in matte green primer (or something that seems to be that), probably to make painting easier. Nice touch!
The tires are made of soft vinyl, compared to the photos the pattern is accurate, however since I have no close-up shots of the wheels, I cannot comment on the rest of the details. There is some text present on the outer walls, these seem to be a tad bit thick to my eyes.
The instructions come in a black and white booklet in landscape format, with 52 easy-to-follow steps. An interesting feature is that the line drawing on the cover is 1/35th scale, I have just realized that when I placed one of the tires over it. As I had the dimensions of the original from the company’s website, I could compare them and looks like we are facing a perfect match regarding the main dimensions. Based on the line drawing, the kit will have a decent size with a total length of approximately 25,5 cm.
The four page long painting guide covers 8 vehicles mostly from the recent conflict in Ukraine: Ukraine Army “ATO” (2 vehicles), “Donetsk People’s Republic”/”Novorossiya”, Ukraine National Guard (2 vehicles), Ukraine Border Control Units, New Iraqi Army, Georgian Army. Color info is provided only in Ammo of Mig Jimenez codes, offering good color matches as there is no need for mixing paints. On the other hand modelers preferring different paints, will need some extra effort to get the colors right.
The decals are of good quality with reasonably thin film, my only comment here is that for the license plate a bit of DIY will be needed as this is not included in the kit, but some of the decals would go directly over the big hole on the front bumper.
As usual with trucks, the construction starts with the engine, which in this case is nicely done (30 parts), of course the usual wiring needs to be added. The exhaust pipe and the muffler should be added later though in my opinion.
The two main pieces of the frame are perfectly straight, but changing the order of the construction might be useful, as having the bigger subassemblies (axles, etc.) already at hand allows the modeler to make sure that the chassis is assembled square. The robust axles look nicely done and the leaf springs are especially delicate. Based on the instructions it is not 100% clear whether or not the first wheels are steerable, but it seems to me that they can be fixed in various angles.
The cage for the spare wheel is enhanced with PE parts however these need a bit of bending, but we are not instructed to do so, although it can be seen on the 3D drawing (step 27).
The wheel hubs are a good match compared to the original but each of them is missing one bit of detail: to me it seems the valve and its cover.
The truck bed is simple in construction and has a very nice (not overdone) wood grain pattern for the wood parts. There are a good number of small hooks to be added to the sides, I would have preferred seeing these in PE bit the plastic parts are not too bad either. Unfortunately the benches can only be portrayed in an upright position – to provide some seating for our plastic troopers would involve a good bit of DIY. The canvas roof is not supplied (just like other recent releases – unfortunately) but this is something I can live with. But at least Takom should have included the supporting hoops as these are present on all the photos I have seen, just like the brackets fixing these in a stored position. Also on the right side of the truck bed three long rods should be present (or at least the empty clamps holding these). Luckily with some extra work these can be scratch built.
The multi-piece cab has basic interior details and individual decals for the instrument panel. Extra care should be taken to make sure that the main parts are positioned perfectly. The wing mirrors included in this kit do not appear on my reference photos (although I have only a dozen of them) but can be fixed easily with some thick wire.
The engine bonnet is made up of several pieces and again a careful planning and dry-fitting would be required to make sure that these are correctly aligned. Several holes provide some insight to the engine (so it might be worth detailing it), and a bit of flash should be removed from them. A nice new-style KrAZ logo is also included.
A last note regarding the construction: the trucks sold to different customers might vary in smaller details, especially the lights and the rearview mirrors.
All in all I’d say this is a nicely done and well detailed kit from Takom and the result of our effort at the end will be a real beast, a nice modern addition to the classic Ural/ZiL/KrAZ line of trucks. I can only recommend this kit!