The Gaz 66 was extensivly used by a wide variety of protagonists in the cold war from the Soviet Union and Warsaw pact through to third world nations in Asia and Africa. It was a key vehicle within the VDV where it provide a significant amount of the gun tow/light truck capability within battalion and regimental support weapons elements. So given that most wargamers love paras and few cold war players can resist the alure of the VDV that probably represented the zenith of mans acheivements in the arena of verticle envelopment, in terms of scale and range of equipment deployed, it should be of little supprise that this particular vehicle should be in high demand. As with many of Shauns offerings it is also dramaticaly under represented in the 20 mm modelling world with only Balaton and AER offering an alternative to my knowledge. The both the Balaton and AER offerings are aimed at the modelling community rather than the wargaming being more complex, a little more pricey and potentially less robust. Having said that they do make some lovely models that are unavailable else where and give an easier route to a Gaz 66 B.
The model is moulded in white resin in two parts cab and truck body, and includes metal parts for the chasis axels and wheels. The mouldings on my 6 copies were clean and required little preparation befor assembly being largely free of flash and air holes. Assembly is quite straight forward with the difficult bits of which axel goes where being driven by slightly different attachments to the Chasis. Care. Needs to be taken around the seating of Cab and truck bed in order to get the alighnment right.
As well as the cargo truck body Shaun also makes a great little box body version of this truck which works for HQs and signals intercept type units. the cargo body is modelled without the seats and rails associated with the passenger carrying versions, my intent is to model these as detachable inserts with a variety of different crews and loads allowing me to exploit the potential of this truck for use by Angolans, Cubans, UNITA, Afgans and my Soviet VDV. The selection of the Cargo body also allows the vehicle to be used as a technical for heavy MGs, ZU 23-2s and recoiless rifles.
I have finished mine in a generic Russian green paint scheme whith no specific markings which should allow me to operate it across the range of armies listed above, for those interested TL Modelblau produce a set of decals for soviet airborne, which whilst intended for a parade finish are seen in photos of Soviet vehicles in tha field. These tend to be more frequently associated with armoured rather than soft skin vehicles.
I have given the vehicles lower body and wheels a fairly heavy weathering using washes of kaki and Khaki drab And based it for Europe or Africa, it will work in the green zone, Lebanon or Syria but would probably look odd in the Sinai.
There are a few conversion options for the adventurous, a soft top version for the Soviet airborne would be a challenge they also used the cabed version. an attempt at the airportable M 1975 122mm MRL version is a more interesting proposition and is on the list of things to do for a rainy day. Having said that the open topped version does look attractive.
In summary a great wargames model, needing little preparation time that can be deployed in a wide variety of armies from the late 60s up until the present day.