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Julien

Chernobyl#2 Fire Fighters (35902) 1:35 ICM via Hannants

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Chernobyl#2 Fire Fighters (35902)

1:35 ICM via Hannants

 

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We’ve probably all heard of the nuclear power-station at Chernobyl and the disaster that befell it in 1986 due to a mistake made by the staff that resulted in a core meltdown.  The behaviour of the neutron absorbing cooling rods wasn’t properly documented (due to a cover-up) as a reason for a runaway reaction under certain circumstances, and this was responsible for a huge quantity of radiation being released over much of Europe and beyond.  Initial responses by the authorities were inadequate and a number of firemen and staff were exposed to fatal doses of radiation early on.  Eventually a huge sarcophagus was built up around the site, with yet more work being done on the site today, although it has since become a rather mawkish tourist destination for some.

 

The ZIL-131 is a general-purpose utility 6x6 truck, one of the mainstays of the many Eastern Block armies along with the Ural-375, with over a million made. The basic model is a general utility tuck powered by either petrol or diesel engines, depending on the type. Like most armies the chassis for a general truck has been used for a multitude of different versions from a fuel truck to the BM-21 rocket launcher to fire truck.  

 

 

The Kit

This is a reboxing with a few extras from ICM of their ZIL with added parts in the shape of crew and additional figures to complete the scenario.  There’s even an impressive folded card backdrop with the burn power station that you can use as your backdrop if you wish.  Inside the large box are 7 sprues in grey styrene, one in clear, 8 nobbly flexible tyres, two small decals sheets, instruction booklet for the base kit, and two further instruction sheets for the five figures and the shack/barrier combination.  Detail is excellent throughout

 

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Construction begins with the chassis, which consists of two rails and multiple cross-braces to which tanks, transmission, transfer boxes and even the engine are attached, with lots of parts used in the process, including a pretty full rendition of the 8-cylinder power pack and the stamped, welded fuel tanks on outriggers to each side of the chassis.  Leaf suspension, exhaust and drive-shafts are also fitted to the chassis along with a winch power take-off behind the large bumper irons and under the radiator.  Then it’s a case of building up the axles, with two at the rear on their own leaf-springs, fitted with dampers and drive-shafts for better off-road performance.  The front axle is a single one with drive-shaft again, which slots into the front suspension and benefits from another few extra dampers.  The wheels are simple but well-detailed, consisting of a hub with separate centre that a big black tyre is pressed onto, handed into sets of three each side.

 

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The crew cab is next with its structure made up from individual panels fitted to the shaped floor, onto which the driver controls are added, including pedals, gear and ratio sticks, then with a dash slid inside the scuttle area after adding some dial decals following painting.  The steering wheel and crew seats are then made up and put in place, having a separate seat for the driver and a wide two-man seat for the passengers, both with adjustment framework between it and the floor.  The rear compartment for the rest of the firemen features one bench the full width. Windows are fitted to the sides and the cab can be boxed in. Sidesteps are attached and then the windscreen and dash can be fitted, following this the roof goes on. The crew cab can then be fitted to the chassis.

 

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The rear firefighting compartment and water tank is the next step for construction. At the rear the pump housing is built up and the tank then built around this. At this point without its top it is added to the chassis.  The switching to the underside the exhaust is added along with the rear mount spare wheel and its carrier. We can then switch back to the rear section of the vehicle. The final sides are put onto the tank to be followed by its roof. The rear section with steps upto the roof is then put on. There is a hatch into the pump area which can be modelled open or closed, Hose stowage pipe for the roof are put on along with the ladders. Other ancillary parts are then also fixed to the roof. With the addition of the mirrors and light protectors the fire truck is then finished. 

 

 

 

The Figures

This single sprue contains all four of the figures for this set of firemen, three wearing breathing apparatus which in the end offered no protection from the radiation.  There is a length of fire hose for one of the figures to hold, two clear sprues for the helmet visors. There are then 2 smaller spures with equipment, and some what look to be parts of the graphite elements of the reactors to use on the ground.

 

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Markings

There are a few markings on the small sheet or the truck markings and number plates. Decals are well-printed with good register, sharpness and sharpness, and should leave you with plenty of spare Soviet Bloc number plates and emblems in your decal drawer.

 

 

Conclusion

It’s a shrewd decision by ICM to bring out this interesting boxing of their kit, and figures they have created something that is quite appealing to anyone that either has an interest in the Chernobyl disaster, or has watched the excellent HBO series. Very highly recommended.

 

Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd.

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