GAZ-AAA Refueller Truck
By Ian Sadler
The kit used in this conversion is the Toko GAS -AAA kit number 1232 in 1/35 scale and the Alan Hobbies Refueller (kit number not known as it was pre production sample) in plastic bag. I wanted to combine the two kits to produce the GAZ -AAA mid production 1942 austerity version.
I used a combination of original photographs and scale drawings from M hobby Magazine to determine the layout and the problems that might mie ahead.
These references are listed at the end of this article for those who wish to build any of these rarely seen vehicles.
I started by building the chassis and running gear, making sure I got it all level and set solid before the next step. I added a roll bar from plastic rod at the front between the main chassis bearers. The refueller chassis spacer channels had to be modified in length to fit the new chassis. I also at the same time cleaned off the old tie bars on both of them and replaced them with plastic rod and tie plates and bolts at the correct distance on the chassis from the plans, using Slaters plastic rod.
The cab was the first to tackle, using the original parts for measurement I made an open frame from Slater Plastic square strip. I cut the half door from 15 the plastic card and test fitted it in place. I then noticed on one of the photographs that the half door was made from a sheet of plywood and was not metal as I first thought. The metal straps fastening them to the chassis were fitted as the last item when all the other parts were set hard. After eyeballing them up to the photographs I was satisfied that all the parts would fit and I was happy to glue them in place.
This now left the major part of the work the shortened fuel tank. I cleaned off all the strapping and moved the filler hatch to about the right position by placing it alongside the chassis but not glueing it on. I then noted how much I would have to cut off in front and at the rear to achieve the correct line up.
After this was done I added the end caps a little filler was needed to smooth out the edges of the tank. It has a very slight curve to it. Next was to test fit it onto the chassis it was only after a final eyeballing up the hatch to the wheel centres on both the model and the kit, That I felt happy to go ahead and glue it in place. While this and the cab were drying out. I had to solve the problem of the fuel hoses and how to replicate them.
After carefully study of the original photographs and I was certain that they were infact canvas tubes sewn together and re enforced with a steel wire inerts.
I set about making them by winding 20 amp fuse wire round a suitable armature of plastic rod. By using plastic rod instead of wire i was able to bend them in a more controlled way later. This had to be done very tightly and I super glued every five turns. After I had made the four hoses , I made the end caps from discs of plastic card and glued them on.
The racks on the side were simple oblong pieces of plastic card cut to size and glued in place. Again by eyeballing the photographs and measuring the kit rather than using plans.
The fuel transfer pump on the side of the tank needed a lot of reworking as per the original photographs, the kit parts are very basic.
The rear unloading pipes were all made from plastic rod and suitable spares for handles from the spares box. If I remember rightly I bought a gauge 1 railway pumping station many years ago and it is still yealding useful parts.
One photograph in a book called The Russian Front published in the 1960,s and long out of print provided a very good idea of the stowage carried on the side of the re fueller. With this photo I was able to convert or scratchbuild all the tools and oil cans I needed.
It was now time to bring all the minor assembles together and dry fit and eyeball it along side the photographs. It was only then that I noticed a set of fixed steel rungs at the rear. So I made them from Plastic rod and glued them in place.
Note by eyeballing the kit to photographs it gives you a better understanding on proportion rather than scale. This helps in not only correct alignment ie wheel centres are a fixed point of reference.
After all the parts were glued and set hard , I then added the tissue paper to the cab rear and sides using diluted PVA glue to set it off. The straps were added last of all and the tissue crunched up to represent rolled canvas. The final item was the straps and bolts holding the door half in place for these I used Aluminium foil and rivets from my water filter.
I then prepared the model for spraying as described in my previous article.
This time I used the black primer all over in several light coats.
After masking off the chassis I then sprayed the body a mid Russian green from the Humbrol range it was given 3 light coats and left to harden off. I hand painted the camouflage colours using a Red Brown and Sandy Khaki again from Humbrol.
The hose was painted a cream colour and then dirtied up with a black wash.
All the tools were painted separately and glued in place as per the photographs.
A personal note on colours I do not make the mistake of saying this or that colour is correct. Since in my researches over many years I have seen hundreds if not thousands of photographs and no two vehicle are in the same shade or hue.
One photograph in particular has over 20 T 34 /85 tanks lined up and I can honestly say there are at least 20 different shades of green.
This has been brought home to me more recently since I had my cataract operation two years ago. My right eye now see white as a brilliant white but the same colour with the left eye has a creamy tinge to it.
I also always use this expression when answering the "Colour Police". I heard it over 35 years ago and still holds true today. Quote - " Remember the light you paint under is not the light you are judged under". unquote.
It took about 60 hours to build it and an other 20 to paint over the best part of two months. With a good many cups of coffee while researching the vehicle. I would say in all honesty it must run to 130 hours in total.
References used in the this model are the following .
M Hobby Russian Magazines: 4-95 pages 21-28, 2-96 pages 21-22, 3-96 pages 23-26, 7-97 pages 23-26, 9-97 pages 26-33, 5-99 pages 13-17, 3-2000 pages 12-15 and lastly The Complete Story of Russian Fire Engines 1700- 2000.
Text, Models and Images Copyright © 2000 by Ian