This 1/35 scale resin kit is obviously custom-tailored to those modelers who enjoy building in the post-WWII Soviet-era of the 60's and 70's. The "Belorus" (or Belarus
) is named for region/country of Belorussia (which is now present-day Belarus
) where it was made at the Minsk Tractor Works. As some modelers in North America may note this type of tractor over here is usually referred to as a 'back-hoe' because of its rear mounted bucket and front mounted dozer/grader. The tractor itself is much like a heavy duty farm tractor vs. the type of Caterpillar 'earth' movers we are used to. When I took a loot at the BELARUS web site
in Minsk I could not find this model (listed as the ЮM3-6M in the instructions) which was a bit odd as they had other 5 and 7 series models listed from the 50's, 60's, and 70's. However I am sure the folks at Plus Model know their stuff and had on-hand resources for this kit. In fact they include a Photo CD with 38 images of an actual tractor in functional (but weathered) condition. The CD also includes 80 images of model construction in several stages.
As this is a resin kit of a very rare subject I am not going to even try to address the issues of accuracy or to some degree resin quality. I think for those experienced with Plus Model kits, this kit will certainly meet your expectations for both. I will instead direct readers to the photos provided as to the detail and accuracy of the model. Looking at the 38 reference photos provided on the CD it does seem like a great amount of attention to detail was given to the mold creation process and I don't think judging from the completed photos of the kit that any experienced resin builder will be disappointed.
There apparently was a missing steering wheel in my kit which Plus Model sent me in a later shipment. So make sure when you buy the kit from local stores or other online stores (who may have gotten the earlier issues) that the steering wheel is in the kit. Of course getting the steering wheel from Plus Model shouldn't be a problem.
Some of the included bits were in fact very impressive. The photo-etch (produced for Plus Models by Eduard) was extremely well done and detailed. As was the inclusion of a wafer-thin clear (plexiglass?) sheet for the windows. A generous amount of wire and tubing is also provided to detail the engine and hydraulic systems.
Decals for us to 4 different versions are also provided. Two are models during the early eighties and the other I believe are meant to depict units still in use (in the Czech Republic) today. Obviously if you need Soviet or other Eastern block country uses you make need to research your own markings or get them aftermarket.
The instructions are well done for a limited resin release and printed in color
(colour for you guys on the other side of the pond).
As with most limited-run resin kits this one is not for the faint-of-heart. That said if the challenge and the price don't throw you off this kit looks to make a very well done piece of heavy equipment for the right builder. It will certainly look great in any number of late cold-war or modern dioramas. I look forward to seeing somebody build it on our site (and yes if you think you have the chops we might send it to you for just that purpose).