ARM: Review - SDV 1/87 Scale PA-50 Lowboy Transport Trailer

Kit Review: SDV Models 1/87 Scale Civilian Line Kit No. 272/Military
Line Kit No. 87 055; Podvalnik Transporta P-50 (P-50 Lowboy
Transporter); 87 parts (64 parts in black styrene, 23 in grey plastic
or olive green plastic); price in Czech Koruna Kr 235 (about US $11.19
at the source)
Advantages: popular world-wide lowboy carrier for many nations'
armored vehicles; offered in both civilian and military options
Disadvantages: has to have a tractor which is a separate purchase
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all small scale armor modelers and HO railroaders
looking for something completely different
With all of the nastiness of the Cold War, during late 1990 and early
1991 it came as something of a shock to see former Czech military
transporters carrying American and British armor out into the deserts
of Saudi Arabia during preparations for Operation Desert
Storm/Operation Granby. Many of the heavy haulers were the Tatra 813
heavy truck (8 x 8) towing the PA-50 50 metric ton lowboy trailer.
Happily, the Czechs sort of lied about its actual capacity, which is 63
metric tons - about one metric ton more than the weight of one of its
most common loads, the US Army's M1A1 Abrams tank.
The PA-50 is a typical European style lowboy deck-style transport
trailer designed to be pulled "suicide style" behind a standard
truck, rather than carried by a saddle type tractor-trailer
combination. It uses five axle sets, each with two stub axles and a
total of 20 heavy truck wheels underneath them to carry the weight of
the load. The normal tractor in Czech service was the Tatra 813
mentioned above, also called the "Kolos" (Colossus) for its sheer
towing power.
SDV's two kits are nicely done and come with all of the accessories
normally associated with this type of carrier. There are two working
fold-down ramps at the rear and two auxiliary ramps carried on the
front of the deck. Also, the deck has five access portals in it which
can either be left open or sealed with hatch covers. The only part
which most modelers may want to replace with sections of brass or
styrene rod are the axles, which come on the wheel sprues.
The kit is about two generations behind a lot of more modern kits, but
is very well done and with care and cleanup will build into a nice
model. With a Tatra 813 (also available from SDV) you can create a
Desert Shield/Desert Storm transporter for an M1A1 Abrams or other US
vehicle, or use it as the Czech tank transporter with any Warsaw Pact
The directions are rough xeroxes but are more than suitable for
building the kit, even though they are in either Czech or German. The
only difference I could see was that it may be preferable to use a hot
screwdriver/knife blade to permit the front axle set pinion to operate.
Only a set of safety chevron stickers is included with the kit, but
these types of vehicles rarely carried any other markings outside of a
registration number/license plate at the rear.
Overall this is a very nicely done little kit and something completely
out of the ordinary for both model railroaders and HO scale armor fans.
Thanks to Jan Podubecky for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
Sources for SDV kits:
Stevens International, 706 N. White Horse Pike, P.O. Box 126, Magnolia,
NY 08049; phone (856) 435-1555 fax (856) 627- 6274; e-mail:;
Fidelis Models, PO Box 1021, Poway, CA 92074; e-mail;
Howard Hookham, 11 Belle Vue Terrace, Blackwood Hall, Luddendenfoot,
Halifax HX2 6HG, Yorkshire, Great Britain; e-mail
SDV Model website and e-store:
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Note: for direct purchase from SDV the Czech Koruna converts to US
dollars at a rate of Kr 21 = US $1.
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