ARM: Review - Miniart 1/35 scale Ya-12 artillery tractor

Kit Review: Miniart 1/35 scale Kit No. 35052; Soviet Artillery Tractor Ya-1=
2 Early Prod.; 485 parts (442 in grey styrene, 37 etched brass, 6 clear sty=
rene); retail price US$82.00
Advantages: first kit of this vehicle in styrene; compliments Soviet corps-=
level artillery pieces
Disadvantages: Nothing major noted
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all WWII Soviet Artillery fans \
It did not take the Soviets long to figure out their heavier artillery pie=
ces needed to switch from horse-drawn to mechanical drayage and even during=
the late 1930s they began creating suitable tractors for use as prime move=
rs. The two most prevalent ones, the =93Stalinets=94 and the =93Voroshilove=
ts=94, soon showed themselves to be functional but complex and closing on o=
bsolescence. As a result, in 1942 the Automotive Scientific Technical Insti=
tute (NATI) began working on a design for a twin-engined prime mover using =
GAZ-MM truck engines. But as the Gor=92kiy Automotive Plant (GAZ) was worki=
ng full bore on their GAZ-MM and GAZ-AAA trucks plus the T-70 series of lig=
ht tanks, they could not meet any external demands for engines.=20
The development of the new tractor had been tasked to the Yaroslavl=92 Aut=
omotive Plant (YaAZ) and they developed the Ya-11, but as it used the GAZ-A=
A engines they had to find another source. Happily, the US was shipping the=
m a large number of GMC 4-71 supercharged four-cylinder diesel engines that=
produced 110 HP which was perfect for their use. The new vehicle, re-engin=
ed with GMC diesel, was dubbed the Ya-12.=20
The original design had used many GAZ parts other than the engines, and th=
at included the running gear of the T-60 light tank. As a result, the first=
Ya-12 tractors built all had T-60 running gear as well, but later switched=
to a cast six-spoke road wheel among other improvements. Between August 19=
43 and May 1945 1,666 Ya-12 prime movers were built, and at least 1,270 wer=
e still in service at the end of the war.=20
Since the little tractor had a drawbaw pull of 8,000 kilograms, it was wel=
l suited for most of the Soviet towed medium and heavy artillery, including=
the 100mm BS-3 antitank gun, the 122mm A-19 corps gun, the 152mm ML-20 gun=
/howitzer, or even on occasion the mighty 203mm B-4M howitzer. But it could=
be found with other pieces as well, such as the 122mm M-30 or 152mm D-1 ho=
Miniarm has now released a lovely kit of this little tractor, which is goo=
d timing as companies such as Trumpeter have released the A-19 and ML-20 so=
these guns now have a prime mover. With nearly 500 parts to it, this is a =
very detailed little beast and presents a excellent representation of the v=
The GMC 4-71 engine, blower and transmission are made up of 36 parts and p=
rovide plenty of detail for this motor. Each torsion bar suspension is buil=
t up from a case, two bars, two supports, and two end units. Five assemblie=
s are joined to the side frames to create the chassis, and front and rear b=
eams lock it in place. The first 21 steps in the directions cover the assem=
bly of the engine and chassis, and the directions are neatly drawn and CLEA=
Step 22 begins construction of the cab, which includes all of the simple b=
ut sturdy controls used with the tractor.=20
The headlight is installed in the left fender box in Step 27; due to its c=
onstruction, this will be difficult to replace with a lens such as an MV Le=
ns or other reflective resin product. It has to be installed prior to assem=
bly of the fender box, which covers the storage batteries as well.=20
The doors use a =93sandwich=94 construction that permits the windows to be=
placed at any height the modeler desires from full up to full down; it wou=
ld appear these are the old-fashioned leather strap type as no crank elemen=
t is provided.=20
The hood is assembled and installed in Step 30, but the directions show it=
cemented in place which negates all the work done on the engine. The track=
s are also installed here, 87 links per side leaving six extras.=20
The seats may be installed up or down, and Steps 31-32 show how this is do=
A molded body tarpaulin is provided and is also fitted with flaps along th=
e side to replicate being fastened to the body. However, no fasteners or ro=
pe rigging directions are included, so I am not sure how it attached in rea=
l life.=20
Four finishing options are included, but no units are indicated: all are i=
n 4BO green. Note that during this period of the war the entire vehicle was=
painted that color and the frame was NOT black. The options are: white squ=
are 1; D2; registration number G-271-00 with crossed cannons; and 3. A smal=
l sheet of decals is provided for these markings.=20
Overall this is a gorgeous little model. While it may seem expensive, mode=
lers need to stop and think that this is probably going to be a low-volume =
kit and that Miniart does need to recover its expenses; still, it is a grea=
t option and gives modelers yet another option for prime movers.
Thanks to MRC for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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