In-Box Review
MAZ-537 wheels
Wheels for Trumpeters MAZ-537G intermediate w/ MAZ/ChMZAP Semi-trailer
  • STZ035Full

by: Jacques Duquette [ JACQUES ]

Those who have a love of modern Russian kits have been working with Trumpeter's MAZ-537 w/trailer offering for a while now, trying to make it into a centerpiece. The kit is a natural, both in size and purpose, as a "base" for a tank or APC kit but the kit also has some flaws, one of which is the incorrect way Trumpeter handled the kit's tires. Contrary to some reviews of the kit tires, they are not too small, they are too flat, meaning they should have a rounded contour to the face of the tread. Another problem is that the tread on the face of the tire should have a curve to it and the tread on the sidewalls should be straight. This goes for both the truck and trailer tires.

Tank Workshop has just released a new set of replacement tires that ARE made from scratch, not copies of the Trumpeter tires, DML SCUD-B tires, or the Dreamweaver tires. They were made (so I am told) on a CAD system and then made real by print-a-part (for those who do not know what this is, google it, it has some very cool uses for our hobby).

I compared the Dreamweaver wheel (cream, upper left), DML SCUD-B wheel (colored, upper right), Trumpeter wheel (gray and black, lower right), and Tank Workshop wheel (overall grey, lower left). One thing that I noticed...all of the wheels have the same sidewall height and compare almost exactly with the line drawings in Tankograd's books. So where are the differences? The DML wheels have VERY bad tread detail, but that is ok coming from a kit that is 25 years old. The hub size (the middle part) is about the right size and the bolt detail looks ok. Here is a link to a photo on Prime Portal that shows the real thing: http://data3.primeportal.net/artillery/tim_roberts/maz-543_scud_b_tel/images/maz-543_scud_b_tel_136_of_192.jpg

Notice that these wheels have the reinforcement tabs around the edge of the rims. The Dreamweaver wheels are resin copies of the DML wheel, cleaned up nicely and with some small detail for the air valve stem. I am not sure that a air valve stem is correct for these wheels as they are supposed to be centrally regulated from the cab (you can increase/decrease tire pressure because the air supply system is inside the tire and fed from a air line). The Trumpeter wheels are MUCH better than the DML/Dreamweaver wheels, but have a decidedly "flat" face that makes them look too small as well as the messed up tread. Also, the inner hub size is too small.

Tank Workshop's wheels are molded using a nice quality grey resin that carves and sands well. The wheels are a little rough, nothing a few swipes of sandpaper could not fix, but it does show that these pieces were mastered in a non-traditional way and if you do not sand them, they will likely show the layered build marks when painted/dry-brushed/weathered. These wheels have a MUCH more accurate tread, but it is not completely correct. It needs to have one more deliniation right near the outer edges of the face tread. Also, the tread appears to be made of blocks that are a bit too small for the size. Really, this is just me nit-picking. The sidewall tread should also be a bit more rounded and less square. They also have a MUCH more accurate rounded contour to the face of the tire, giving it a much better look.

My biggest problem with the wheels, if you want to look at it as a problem, is that the hub detail is incorrect. One, the inner hub is too small. Two, the bolts are undersized and look more like round rods than nut or bolt heads. Third, the big bolts appear to hold on some sort of square protrusion from the sides...these should be clamps that hold the rim together. See another photo from Prime Portal for detail: http://data3.primeportal.net/trucks/egor_kalmykov/maz-537/images/maz-537_38_of_40.jpg Sorry, but Trumpeter got the clamp and bolt head details better.

Finally, I am not sure if the rim reinforcements are supposed to be on the modern tire or not. I have seen photos of MAZ-537's with both, but I cannot see if there are any other differences between the tires, like if the ones with reinforcements also have split rims or air valve stems. The truck wheels need just a touch of a knife or sanding to the inner hole to mount them on the Trumpter kit. Once on, they fit snugly. (On a side note, the wheels will also fit on the DML SCUD-B kit wheel mounts almost perfectly).

The Tank Workshop trailer tires (all grey, left side) are wider than the Trumpeter ones (black and grey, right side) and they have more accurate tread detail. But the side wall tread "rectangles" seem to be too overdone and a bit too big. Also, these wheels do NOT have the rounded contour to their faces like the new truck wheels, and were a bit of a let down. The hubs seem to be correct, but I have not seen enough photo's to know if their depth is correct. The trailer wheels need to have the kit "axles" added (by snipping the heads off and placing them in the mounting holes of the wheels) or by adding styrene rod. They fit the kit well.

The bottom line is that the Tank Workshop wheels are the most overall accurate wheel-set so far. But they have problems. I really want to commend TW for attempting these wheels, but they do show that the technology being used is not foolproof and the print-a-part method still has some rough edges (no pun intended) to be worked out.
Highs: Much more accurate tread, overall shape, and a solid resin piece to work with.
Lows: Incorrect hub detail, slight tread problems, trailer tires lack rounded face and have somewhat overdone tread detail
Verdict: I recommend these tires to those who want a replacement set for the Trumpeter kit.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: STZ 035
  Suggested Retail: $45.00 USD
  Related Link: Tank Workshop
  PUBLISHED: Oct 18, 2008

About Jacques Duquette (Jacques)

The first model I remember building was a glow-in-the-dark P-38, running around my bedroom in the dark flying it, and stubbing my toes. I do a lot less running around with glowing models now. I mainly focus on 1/35 armor and figures, with Modern Russian military vehicles being my favorite. I a...

Copyright 2021 text by Jacques Duquette [ JACQUES ]. All rights reserved.


Click image to enlarge
  • STZ035Full
  • PA140068
  • PA140067
  • PA140070
  • PA140069