Not the most widely-produced Soviet Artillery tractor, but perhaps one of the most successful. The Voroshilovets began production in 1939 and ended in 1942. Only around 1100 were produced and although the production was curtailed due to the Germans overrunning the principal production facility in Kharkov (later on, with production transferred to STZ in Stalingrad, this was also lost). Production was also cut due to the strategic demand for tank engines with the power plant being switched from the V-2W to the V-4 - the V-2W being needed for T34s. The longevity of the Voroshilovets was also a surprising aspect - several photos exist of the vehicle in the battle for Berlin in 1945.
While cross-country performance was (naturally) limited, on roads it was capable of a respectable 42 Kph - therefore almost classifying the vehicle as a HST!
, following on from their welcome release of the B4 Howitzer, the Voroshilovets was the obvious direction to go - the majority of images of the vehicle in Soviet service show a B4 attached somewhere! In German service, documentation is less complete, but artillery pieces such as the 21cm Mörser 18 WERE towed by it.
In the box
01573 - Voroshilovets Tractor
comes on 19 separate sprues (one clear plastic) along with separately moulded parts for the Cab, Bonnet, the lower hull-tub and the Canvas Tilt. Also included (though missing from my example) is a small decal sheet.
A Preview, NOT a Review
While I will make a few comments on various aspects of the model, I prefer to wait until I actually build it before making more detailed comments on the accuracy and any 'gripes' I may encounter.
Two principal sources were used for this 'Preview'. Firstly, Oliver Missing's extraordinary site Engines of the Red Army in WWII (LINK)
. Oliver has produced some invaluable illustrations of Soviet Vehicles and can be seen on his site.
The second source is inevitably the superlative book from Tankograd Publishing
which covered the 'Tyagatshi' in stunning detail. The Review of the book can be seen: HERE (LINK)
. This book was also used to check details and dimensions from the excellent scale drawings which are included.
In Some Detail...
These cover construction in a clear, uncomplicated manner. There are a total of 15 stages which begin with the suspension units. As in the actual vehicle, these are not as complex as other vehicles and will present no complications in assembly.
Although the model includes 19 sprues, 10 of them are parts for the tracks. They are produced in separate links and as moulding is clean and sharp, shouldn't require any major clean-up. The instructions show how many links are required for each track-run, so building up sections and attaching them SHOULD be straightforward. I would recommend building a simple jig to get everything nice and straight.
In common with other Soviet vehicles of this time, things are pretty spartan. Only around 9 parts are required for this stage. As I have no images of the cab interior, I have no comments to make if this is correct or not. It 'seems' right so no major additions should be required. As the tractor drove like a tank (or tractor?) no steering wheel was present, rather a collection of control sticks. The windows of the cab were split screen and the model reflects this although, again, real care will be needed and some modification to have them realistically half-open. The model makes no provision for opening the engine compartment although it should be pretty easy for super-detailers to consider. The doors are nicely moulded with the distinctive double 'beading' which continues round the rear of the cab.
Stages 10 & 11 of the construction, put all the previous sub-assemblies together and only the construction of the cargo deck remains. This is all nice, simple right-angles and moulding is good. Stage 13 mates the cargo deck to the lower suspension tub.
The final construction phase involves adding windows to the rear tilt which then simply clips onto the cargo bed.
Moulding is crisp with little flash. Additional mould lugs are present on areas such as the drive sprockets and rear idlers which will require some extra care in removal.
Small details such as wing mirrors are finely detailed as are areas such as the lights, which include separate clear-plastic lenses.
The rear cargo compartment was made of wood and the company's designers have tried to 'texture' this to reflect this. Actual wood grain in 1/35th scale means it would be invisible and many may want to sand the roughness down. I'm not sure it was a necessary decision to include the graining as inevitably it is overscale.
The cargo tilt is excellent and scales out correctly according to the plans I have. Unfortunately, though, some may want modify it slightly as it is moulded completely closed - this shouldn't be too difficult a task. Painting should be carefully considered to bring out the best of it.
Although the tilt provided is the 'standard' type, it would have been nice if Trumpeter had considered the semi-rigid (extemporized) version. This appears on later images of the Voroshilovets and should be a simple enough proposition for scratchbuilding. Also missing from the kit are the hoops for the tilt supports. Again, referring to images, it should be a simple enough project to consider.
I've spent the last few days poring over photos, illustrations and drawings and I've come to the conclusion that the accuracy of the model is very good. Once again, that will be reconsidered when I actually start building.
As to the subject, although most will want the model as a Prime-Mover, there are other possibilities. Not the least of these was its use as a recovery vehicle (not always successfully) which suggest some interesting dioramas. Its use in German service should also be a good selling point - most of the heavy German artillery is already available.
Some of the model design is also interesting - the front radiator being fitted from behind should give a more convincing result than a single moulding. I'm less convinced by areas such as the wood texture on the rear cargo bed - again personal taste. The tracks should present few problems (with care) although it might have been better if these had been done in the same manner as the company's KV series?
The subject area should speak for itself. At a time when we're getting a great selection of models (from a variety of manufacturers) Trumpeter have chosen to model a vehicle which was present in some numbers, but not in the many thousands like other subjects - or even only existing in prototype or blueprint stage. A good balance with a subject which has enormous possibilities on many levels.
Finally, my thanks to Trumpeter Ltd.
for the opportunity to Preview this model, long before it arrives in the stores!
I've just begun building the model. First steps can be seen: