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Soviet LAP-7 Rocket Launcher. 1:35

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Soviet LAP-7 Rocket Launcher

MiniArt 1:35



The GAZ AA 1.5 ton truck was a licenced manufactured version of the Ford AA truck for the Soviet Union, where more than 950,000 were built.  There were many body styles, but the most recognisable version was the flat bed truck as depicted in this kit. The difference with this kit though is the fact that the flat bed is fitted with a large frame work fitted with rockets, and big ones at that. The model is contained within a very attractive, bright and colourful box that MiniArt have started using recently. Inside, there are forty four sprues in grey styrene, one of clear a single sheet of etch brass and a small decal sheet.


The build starts with the nicely detailed engine with the block, head and sump being glued together followed by the addition of the starter motor, alternator, water pump, auxiliary drive belt, cooling fan, cooling pipes, oil filler pipe.  The gearbox is then assembled from three parts and glued to the engine assembly, along with intake manifold. The two, chassis rails are fitted with an extra beam where the truck bed will sit. These are held on the rails by three “U” bolts and thir associated clamps. The rear leaf springs are then attached via their support links. Four cross members are then used to join the rails together, as well as the rear chassis end piece, to which the towing eye spring is attached. There is a three piece box attached to the left hand rail, near the front.






The wheels are assembled, and in this, MiniArt have deviated from the norm, by making the inner tyre half made up from four individual rings, while the outer section is made up of three rings.  The wheel itself is then sandwiched between the two tyre sections.  Whilst this sounds odd, I think it’s to make a realistic tyre with the type of radial tread used at the time. The rear axle and differential is made up from six parts, if you include the drive shaft. This assembly is then fitted to the rear leaf springs, while the front suspension is made up on a single leaf spring assembly mounted laterally and fitted with the front axle, steering rack and support arms. The rear differential is then fitted with a triangular support structure which also supports the brake rods. The front chassis end cap is attached as are the two bumper side arms, while to the rear there is a choice of towing hook styles, one, just a single piece unit, the other is made up from five parts. The spare wheel, mounted under the rear chassis is held in place by a support large clamp. The front and rear brake drums are then attached to the axles, followed by two wheels per side on the rear axle and one per side on the front axle. The engine assembly in then glued into position, followed by the two piece radiator, two piece front bumper and two support brackets on chassis rails. The five piece exhaust is the attached to the right hand side.






The two front fenders are each single piece units to which a small hook is attached before being fitted to the chassis, as are two of the lateral truck bed beams. The cab floor is also attached and fitted with the bench seat, gear stick and panel support. The three piece wiper/wiper motor is fitted to the front screen surround, once the clear screen has been fitted. The screen is then fitted with two small arms, these can be glued in either the stowed position for a closed screen, or down, so that the screen can be posed open. The rear of the bonnet section is then glued to the front of the screen support, along with eh two side sections and engine bulkhead which has been detailed with several small parts. Inside the foot pedals are attached lower bulkhead, part of the floor panel fitted earlier, before the front cab assembly is glued into place, along with the steering column and wheel. The three piece rear panel and roof of the cab are then glued into place, as are the two bonnet supports, between the bulkhead and the radiator. Each door is made up from five parts, including clear section, door handles, latches and window winders. The doors are then put to one side.






The bonnet halves, split longitudinally are each made from two sections, which can be posed in either the open or closed positions, allowing the modeller to show of the engine should they so choose.  The doors are then attached; again, they can be posed open or closed as the modeller wishes. The three piece horn is attached to a rail, which in turn is attached to the front of the vehicle between the fenders. The two, three piece headlights are then fitted, as is the single, two piece wing mirror, on the drivers side. The truck bed is then assembled from five parts, bed, with two cross beams fitted underneath, sides, front and rear sections, and glued into place, completing the truck section of the build.






For the rocket launcher frame, there are two large beams that are slightly longer than the bed, the overhang being where the handles used to raise and lower the framework into firing position is attached. There is a smaller plank that runs crossways from this elevation beam, which is also fitted with th hinge points or the rear of the frame. The modeller ahs a choice of building the frame in the firing position or transport position by the use of alternative actuator parts. The raising mechanism is made up from nine parts. The main frame is made up from ten parts while each of the six rocket containers are each made from sixteen parts, while the rockets themselves are each four parts. With the rockets slid into the containers, each assembly is then glued into position on the frame. If the frame is to be modelled in the transport position, the right hand side and rear flaps of the bed are fixed up with the relative catches fitted. In the firing position these flaps are lowered and the catches fitted in the down position.







The decal sheet gives the modeller only two options for same truck, one in a summer paint scheme, and one in a winter scheme. The decals are beautifully printed, are clear and in good register with a slightly matt finish. 





I just love these trucks from MiniArt, they are so evocative of the period and can be used in so many situations, whether on their own, or in a diorama.  The rocket frame gives this normally benign truck a certain menace and goes to show the ingenuity of the Russian forces to get as much use of these types of vehicles as possible.



Review sample courtesy of


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