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Mike

Moskvitch 401-420A (36484) 1:35

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Moskvitch 401-420A (36484)

1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd

 

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The original Opel Kadett was unveiled in 1936 with some innovative features including a monocoque chassis, and after a minimalistic set of cosmetic upgrades in 1937/8 the K38 was born.  The KJ38 was the standard limousine, while the K38 was marketed as the Spezial with better trim levels inside and out so that it lived up to its name.  It was also available with a soft roof that could be removed to turn it into a cabriolet, which led to the slightly ungainly Cabriolimousine moniker.

 

There were well over 50,000 K38s made, and as part of the reparations after the war, the Soviet Union were allowed to take their pick of some Opel designs, one of which was the K38.  The factory and drawings had been ravaged during the war, so completed vehicles were taken to Russia and reverse engineered using captured German staff, resulting in the almost identical  Moskvitch 400/420 with a stylised M replacing the Opel badge.

 

The Kit

The original tooling of this kit was made in 2013 and it has been reboxed by ICM and others over the years with a few changes in parts and decals.  This new tooling is the soft-top four-door copy by Moskvitch, using new body parts where necessary and giving the option of modelling the canvas hood in up or down positions.  The kit arrives in a small top-opening box with the usual captive lid to the tray.  Inside are four sprues of grey styrene, one of clear parts, decal sheet, a bag of five flexible plastic tyres and the instruction booklet with colour painting guide to the rear.  Detail is excellent and the new sprue contains the four door sides, and additional body parts that differ between the models (the hood logo being one of them).  This is a full interior kit, so you also get an engine and most of the internals/underside parts too.

 

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Construction begins with the floor of the monocoque chassis into which the two bench seats are installed once the backs and cushions are assembled.  Driver controls consisting of the pedals, gear shifter and hand-brake are glued in place then the instrument panel is attached to the sloped firewall and decals are provided for the two dials.  The car's sides have moulded closed doors with separate windows that have frames moulded-in, and an internal structure including door cards and pillars fitted to the inside along with window-winders and handles for both sides.  These attach to the sides (no surprise there!) and the nicely detailed inner wings join the external fenders, making up the basis of the engine compartment.  The boot/trunk is covered by a cut-down part with a separate parcel shelf and the front screen with A-pillars has a flat glazing panel added together with a sun visor and rear-view mirror for the driver on the left side (that's the wrong side if you're not British, Australian or Japanese).  The steering column and front brace are added into the engine bay, then the two-part steering wheel is attached at the other end of the column, the central part separate from the rim.

 

tyres.jpg

 

The 1,074cc engine that outputs a manly 23hp to the wheels is next to be made with a two-part block, sump, manifolds and the balance of the ancillaries, plus pulleys, radiators and so forth.  This fits to the front axle with the drum brakes, forming a modern(ish) subframe that is inserted into the engine compartment from below, much like the real thing.  The steering linkage is added later after the exhaust is joined to the engine and suspended from blocks on the chassis underside, then the rear axle with its drum brakes, differential cover and leaf springs are put in place, joined to the transmission by its drive shaft.  A cover is fitted over it at about the half-way point, and two additional braces are added to the rear axle, finishing off the underside.  The wheels have single part hubs and the tyres are fitted over them thanks to their flexibility which also enables them to have a nice cross-ply tread pattern moulded-in.

 

Flipping the vehicle over, the battery and air-box are installed in the engine bay, then the streamlined front cowl with grille and separate clear headlights are fitted to the front with the new Moskvitch badge and hood/bonnet top ornament added to finish it off.  The bonnet/hood itself folds from the centreline on a narrow panel and has the short curved side panels hinged at the edges, which fold inwards under gravity as they are opened.  Closing up the passenger compartment takes the two part closed hood and oval rear window part, gluing them in place from front to back.  Leaving the roof open means adding two side panels over the windows that are normally hidden, then fixing the four-part folded hood at the rear, mating the curved groove in its underside with the shape of the rear.  Remaining at the rear the number plate holder, its light and counterpart on the opposite side are fitted, then a choice of a separate hub with flexible tyre, or a two-part covered spare in styrene.  The rear bumper has two iron brackets to attach it to the chassis, as does the front bumper with offset number plate holder.

 

Completing the model involves adding the windscreen wipers, but no wing mirrors – that must have made changing lanes a lot of fun!

 

Markings

There are four decal options in the box, two of which are colourful, the others not so much.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • Moskvitch 401-420A USSR late 50s
  • Moskvitch 401-420A USSR late 50s
  • Moskvitch 401-420A USSR late 60s
  • Moskvitch 401-420A USSR late 60s

 

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The decal sheet contains the number plates for each option, the instrument dials, silver name-plates for the sides of the hood, and four stylised M V logos for hubcaps, but you'll have to paint the stripes for the corners of each bumper end.

 

Conclusion

Having this new “clone” version of the Opel Kadett used in the Soviet Union is a welcome addition to the line-up, and will find uses in dioramas as well as stand-alone models.  Detail is excellent throughout too.

 

Highly recommended.

 

Available in the UK from Importers H G Hannants Ltd.
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Review sample courtesy of

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Sweet!

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17 hours ago, JeroenS said:

Sweet!

It actually tastes plasticky ^_^

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3 minutes ago, Mike said:

It actually tastes plasticky ^_^

Good to know you've sampled it! 🙂 

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4 minutes ago, JeroenS said:

Good to know you've sampled it! 🙂 

Oh, I lick all the kits I review. You never know when one might taste of strawberries or peppermint! :mental:

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On 10/21/2019 at 2:43 PM, Mike said:

Oh, I lick all the kits I review. You never know when one might taste of strawberries or peppermint! :mental:

If you lick it, it's yours, right? 

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6 hours ago, Basosz said:

If you lick it, it's yours, right? 

That's the general theory, yes ^_^

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