MiniArt GAZ-AAA with shelter 1/35 #35183 Review

Some history:

GAZ-AAA is a Russian development of a license built Ford AA 1500kg truck. At some point, Russians decided that they need to enlarge the vehicle, and added a third axle to the GAZ-AA. The new truck became 6 x 4, and with some modifications, they produced a truck in 2-3000kg range and with potential for various roles.

The GAZ factory /Gorkhovsky Automobilny Zavod/ produced numerous GAZ-AAA trucks with many different purposes – ambulance, artillery tractors, fuel trucks, cargo/food/radio trucks  and even armed and armored versions. The vehicle was used extensively and widely during WWII and even some captured vehicles were used by the Germans as support vehicles.

In 35th scale:

Zvezda and Eastern Express have some examples of that vehicle, but without any doubt MiniArt offer the best among the others. They have 7 different versions, which are out on the shelves since 2012. The model is one of the best rated wheeled vehicles on the market, due to its extreme detail and precision.

MiniArt kits have almost everything featured in the real vehicle, as engine, chassis, different cabins, etc.  The accuracy is at very high level as well. The build is not for newcomers in the hobby, but aside from that, everything is there for a great OOTB build.

Since late summer 2015, MiniArt decided to change their plastic supplier, which means, that all the previous known issues with parts breaking will no longer exist. It is a great decision, since kits like the GAZ-AAA features a decent number of small and hard to work with parts, so plastic quality is of great importance. So kits that will be produced from now on, will be made from new material so in other words – a wonderful pieces of plastic art!

GAZ-AAA with Shelter:

The particular kit we are reviewing here, is an Ambulance version of the famous truck. MiniArt supplied all that we have seen in their previous kits and more. The newest additions are the big-size cab, with windows and a coal-burning stove for the interior. The total amount of parts featured in the kit is 341. Out of those we have 20 photo-etched parts and 7 clear ones.

The decal sheet is small, but interesting enough. MIG alongside with MiniArt designed wonderful color paint schemes for that kit, and they offer us Russian and German-captured vehicles. Second one – with winter camouflage. Suggested colors are from MIG’s paint range, which makes the paint choice pretty easy, and with a certain guarantee that you will have the exact colors for the truck.

Instructions are clear and made from luxury material , with colored sheets and are pretty much self-explanatory. As mentioned before, kit is not for inexperienced modelers, but one such with patience and a desire for perfection, could build that kit thanx to the easy-to-read instruction sheet.

The chassis, the engine and the cabin are pretty much same as on their previous models. Engine can be opened or closed, and there are enough parts in the cabin section.  The additional parts with this particular kit come from the shelter, which is detailed in great texture.  The ceiling of it can be left open or removable, so the interior can be seen. There is enough space for aftermarket or scratch goodies as well. This GAZ-AAA was more or less an ER /Emergency Room/ or a field ambulance, so you can easily guess the opportunities to work with that relatively empty space inside.

Wheels deserve a special praise, since the idea behind the assembly is pretty neat. They are made from several different layers, and those layers helps modeler prevent the threads of damage visible to the viewer, and deep enough to make the weathering process easier compared to the single-molded tires. In some ways they are comparable in quality with resin aftermarket stuff.

With care and attention, the model seems to be a straight-forward build for an experienced modeler, and have enough OOTB to be wonderful item placed simply on a wood base. In the same time, the options for vignettes and dioramas are endless, having in mind that the vehicle itself saw action pretty much everywhere where the Russians fought during WWII. Considering the different conditions and situations they were involved in, you can imagine how many things can be done with that truck.

The painting looks like a bit tedious process, because there are some windows, and of course – interior. However, the masking should be job easy enough, because of the relatively simple shape of the glass parts. Tricky places during the build are expected, but that goes with every super-detailed model, so this is no news.


Overall, considering the fact that the model is made from the new plastic material that MiniArt should be using from now on, this kit is a bargain! It is full of detail, full of goodies and it offers a very wide range of options for weathering and improvements. The price is decent, and it is rebox of a well known set on the market. The options that are coming out this year are different compared to the old ones, but I assume that we haven’t seen anything yet! Good job MiniArt!

Highly recommended!

Other versions available here:
Quad M4: