Ok let’s start off this review with some wartime pictures. Thanks to the Engines of the Red Army in WW2
website for the first four pictures shown at right. Check out their great and informative website:
Engines of the Red Army
What is very evident from this series of photographs is that more often than not the soldiers who manned these tractors removed the side panels of the engine bay so the big diesel engine received better cooling in heavy working circumstances. The circumstances in Russia could be very hard during the fall and the winter and with a better cooled engine the risk of it breaking down meant it could be in service for a longer time.
Now, of course, there are also pictures showing the tractor with all the side panels in their right place and in that case the Trumpeter kit I reviewed earlier here:
Trumpeter ChTZ65 review
will fulfill all your needs. However when you want to model it with the side panels (and even the bonnet) removed the Trumpeter kit leaves you with no space at all… Well actually it does… It leaves you with a whole lot of space but no engine. This means you have to find your luck with the after market companies. And luckily there is one.
The Ireland based LZ Models
, owned by Libor Zachoval , mainly specializes in producing very high quality 1:35 railroad kits. But lately the company is also venturing down the path of the 1:35 military machine. And to good effect carrying the attention to detail from their railroad kits over to the new products creating really nice resin kits with additional photo etch details. LZ Models comes to the rescue to fill up the engine bay of Trumpeters S-65 Tractor with a really nice resin powerhouse of a diesel engine.
The engine set comes in a 13 cm by 9 cm Ziploc bag to which is stapled a piece of paper showing a picture of the assembled engine. On the back you will find some health and safety precautions. Inside you will find 4 smaller Ziploc bags holding 39 resin parts, a sheet of PE containing 27 parts, a decal sheet with six decals and a mini CD which contain the instructions.
According to the instructions all parts are numbered A1, A2, A18 etc. etc. But I will give each bag in this review a letter to keep things clear.
In Bag A
you will find the 5 biggest parts of the engine. The largest part is the oil pan along with the bottom half of the engine. Then comes the top half of the engine with the rocker cover and some additional parts to create the main bulk.
holds 34 smaller detail parts, plumbing of the exhaust system, canisters for oil/lubricants, the air filter, sparkplug connectors for the top of the rocker cover, engine mounts and much, much more.
has the PE fret with the 27 parts. The biggest and most notable are the engine grill with the factory letters as separate piece (you actually get 2 of those so there is some leeway for the occasional screw up). The protection panels for the running gear replacing kit parts G5, G6, G11 and G12. The Radiator fan, several levers and additional detail parts for the engine are also included.
Also in bag C you’ll find the decal sheet. On it are 3 painted on numerals for a Russian vehicle and 3 decals (2 license plates and a swastika) for a German one. The license plates themselves can be found on the PE sheet.
has several lengths and thicknesses of metal wire, five in all, and they will be a great aid in adding that additional wiring and plumbing for the kit.
Yes, they do need their own mention in this review. I have been collecting resin kits, conversions and upgrades for some years now and they all share the same problem. They make DML’s instruction sheets look like graphic novels. Badly (over)copied copies with barely recognizable black patches of what used to be photographs, drawings made by people for who a pencil is a sort of higher magic, looking like they drew it with their feet, 3 unclear pictures and 3 pages full of illegible text. I can go on all day with this rant but they mostly abysmal, at best.
AM manufacturers take note: on the mini CD that LZ Models delivers with the kit you get the instruction manual (my CD actually had all the instruction manuals of their 1:35 armor releases). I downloaded mine from the LZ Models website and printed them at work. LZ Models seems to have embraced the possibilities these modern times offer the manufacturers and the instruction sheet is available in PDF. A 26 page A4 manual with big pictures in color. Clear directions as to where each part goes, often made extra clear with big red arrows and a guiding bit of text for the additional bit of info. I looked them through several times and could not find any areas that were not clear to me. I don’t expect any modeler will have problems finding which part goes where and which side should be up… or down for that matter. It is a really clear instruction book.
Trumpeter made a small mistake which is quite easy to make when you are not very skilled in the Russian language. And it is in the "N" in the words on the radiator.
The way Trumpeter have put them on the vehicle are European "N"s. The Russian "N" is inverted. So Libor went to work and added a very nice replacement with all the correct lettering in place. The radiator is cast in one piece and the grille that is cast in plastic on the Trumpeter part is left off because of the really nice PE grille provided in the LZ models set.
The rear of the kit radiator fits snugly into place on the resin replacement and it is definitely an improvement on what the kit offers.
The radiator itself is also available as a separate item for people who want to build it with the engine bays' side panels closed, but with a correctly lettered radiator.
Kit vs the Real Deal
I checked all the pictures I had of the vehicle and I compared it to the walk-around of an S-65 Tractor that the instruction book referred to (svsm.org
) for extra detailing. All the parts seem to be correct in shape andsize. And even more important they have the right details in the right places as well. Looking at what is supplied by LZ Models I think you will end up with a 1:35 carbon copy of the real thing.
I am impressed. I can get a bit nerdy when it comes to quality but I like it when companies are willing to take the extra step and show pride in their products. And this set has quality written all over it. I have carefully checked all the parts and could not find a single air bubble. It came from Ireland all the way to Holland with only 1 broken part and it is actually one of the most fragile parts, luckily it is very easily repaired. The kit is detailed, very complete and well-engineered. The instruction book is superb. I can’t comment on fit yet, I will go more into that in the build log.
But there is one thing I have not mentioned yet and it is one of the many great things about this set, the casting blocks. Or more the lack of. The best way to describe them is casting slivers. Attached to the parts are some really flimsy pieces of resin which pretty much come off when twisted. Which means you don’t have to worry about cleaning up chunks of resin the size of bricks. Cleanup is a breeze, merely cut off the flimsy piece of resin. A slight touch with a sanding stick or file and you are good to go. Even people who are new to working with resin could handle this with ease.
Based on what I have seen this kit is a brilliant one.
• It fills what Trumpeter left empty (start in step 4, leave out part F11 and go from there).
• The details are perfect and the correct size.
• The parts are easy to clean.
• The PE is nice and sharp.
• The instructions are clear.
In fact it is really hard to say something negative about the engine set. So I won’t. I can’t wait to install the diesel giant into the Trumpeter kit and with an engine this nice it really gives you a reason to showcase it with the side panels off the tractor.