In-Box Review
RF-8-Gaz-98 Aerosled
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by: Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]


The Aэросани, aerosani are what we know, nowadays, as snowmobiles. The concept is a simple one - mount an engine-powered propeller on a set of skis, add seating for the driver, some basic controls and a rudimentary steering mechanism, point the vehicle in the general direction you want to go and you're off. Well, not quite that simple. One of the principal developers of the Aerosan was Igor Sikorsky - before WWI.

It wasn't long before the military applications for the Aerosan became apparent. Few vehicles could operate in deep snow and certainly couldn't move quickly. The Aerosan could move quickly, was low-profile and perfectly suited for reconnaissance and even used in commando-style raids - much in way the British were to develop long-range raiding using light vehicles in the Western Desert.
The subject of the model by Vision Models is the RF-8 which was a 2-seated unarmored version with the crew consisting of a driver and a gunner. Some later Aerosans had light armor and some were built as fully-enclosed command or transport version

Vision Models' Kit

VM35003 - RF-8-Gaz-98 Aerosled is a very recent release from the Chinese manufacturer Vision Models with cooperation from MiniArt Ltd. VM35003 contains parts for TWO RF-8-Gaz-98 Aerosleds along with two crew figures. Each Aerosan uses 3 sprues, 1 for the 'gondola', 2 for the Skis/Suspension and a tiny, clear-plastic sprue for the windshield and spotlight lens. One additional sprue contains two MiniArt-produced figures of two Russians in sheepskin coats. The final items are an 8-page instruction sheet and a decal sheet consisting of 4 Red Stars.

Vision Models' Kit - in more detail

My previous experience with Vision Model products has, up until now, been limited to their first release - the US M1A1 75mm Pack Howitzer and this compares very favorably. The sprues are molded in a light-grey styrene with a very notably 'sharpness' of molding and a complete lack of flash or distortion. Molded detail is very finely done - for example the rivets on the crew compartment are nicely understated rather than the 'soup-plate-sized' rivets from some other manufacturers. The tubular supports for the engine on the rear of the Aerosan are very delicately-molded as is the ring for the MG. Extreme care will have to be exercised in removing these parts. The sprue attachment-points are minimal also which is yet more evidence of just how well-tooled this model actually is.

As to construction, even though these are tiny vehicles, they are surprisingly complex with the suspension (in particular) being an area which will require very careful handling - principally due to the scale 'thickness' of the components.

Comparing the two (the 75mm Pack Howitzer and the Aerosans) the latter are, in mold and engineering terms very superior. Even the quality of the plastic seems higher.

The figures, although belonging to an older set, are still pretty good. It would have been nice though, if we'd got actual seated figures, but these are adequate enough.

Final thoughts

The Aerosan has been done before (albeit in resin/white metal) and this is the first of THREE models in 1/35th scale - two more are scheduled for release later this year from another manufacturer. Again, it's a pity it's taken so long to get a styrene model.

Vision has done an excellent job and even though my reference sources are limited on the vehicle, I see nothing in the sense of omissions or glaring inaccuracies. It's not a vehicle which will lend itself to much more than what's in the box. Color-scheme will be white, conversion possibilities VERY limited but diorama possibilities IMMENSE,

Further Reading

Coincidentally, a couple of days before this model was announced, the German Publisher, Tankograd, sent us news of a new book on the Aerosan. An excellent Review of the book can be seen:


There are a number of Websites covering the Aerosans. Amongst them are;

Propeller-Driven Sleighs (LINK)

Soviet Combat Snowmobiles (LINK)

RF-8-GAZ-98 Snowmobile (LINK)
Highs: Quality of molding, subject matter - just how long have we waited for one of these in styrene?
Lows: Perhaps not as interesting as subject to many. Possibly (just possibly) might have limited appeal.
Verdict: An excellent model of a truly fascinating subject.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: VM35003
  PUBLISHED: Jun 09, 2011

Our Thanks to Vision Models!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Jim Rae (jimbrae)

Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...

Copyright ©2021 text by Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]. All rights reserved.


After finding this 'an excellent model of a truly fascinating subject' the reviewer only gives an 85%? I think this is a bum rap. Even if the reviewer thinks the model will have limited appeal, that should not detract from its intrinsic value. Does it have to be a Sherman or Panther to get a higher rating?
JUN 13, 2011 - 06:43 PM
Everyone has the right to mark a product the way they see fit. Perhaps it might have reached the 90 if they had included a SEATED crew? 85% is, IMO a pretty reasonable rating. That WAS tempered by the fact that, although it was a widely-used vehicle, it wasn't as widely-used as the (later) armored version which should give slightly greater possibilities for the Mid/Late War period? 'Bum Rap'? At the end of the day it's down to a personal viewpoint...
JUN 13, 2011 - 08:02 PM
So if you don't personally like an otherwise excellent, perfect , and outstanding model you would give it a crappy rating?
JUN 14, 2011 - 04:01 AM
Whatever you say...
JUN 14, 2011 - 04:06 AM
How exactly is 85% a 'crappy' rating? Honestly I don't get the majority of online users issues with our rating system. Hello?!?! it's a number that the reviewer assigns based on their own PERSONAL choice. Jim's average rating is currently at 88.01% so this is pretty close to his typical ranking for a kit. It's also right in line with the average rating of most Vision kits we have published. In the world we grew up in 85% is a solid "B" rating. That means 'above average'. Perhaps rather than give modelers ratings we should just write the obligatory "Recommended" or "Highly Recommended" at the bottom of our reviews. Something that obviously would be fine with many of you because the current system is just too darn confusing I guess. Really it's crap like this that puts many of our contributors off from even writing anything. Read, absorb, and move on... Jim
JUN 14, 2011 - 05:36 AM
JUN 14, 2011 - 06:09 AM
I think that anything that gets about an 80% or above is pretty darn good. I have a hard time giving anything much higher than an 85% rating unless it is pretty stellar. There are some things that I believe are easier to give higher ratings, such as decals. You can look at it as 85% means it is in the top 15th percentile which is pretty darn impressive
JUN 14, 2011 - 11:24 AM
Please don't change the rating system. I like it the way it is. My understanding is the system is an average over three sub ratings. The positive, the negatives and overall rating. So if the negatives are slightly more than the positives and the overall rating is good then the average will be lower. Using this system I look at the percantage and go by my own system of: below 50% not that good and will require work to make it worthwhile and only if you are really interested, 50-60% getting there, is passable but still requires work, 60-70% getting better but is let down by silly errors buy the manufacturer, 70-80% straight OOB will build a good model, 80-90% awesome, not too many errors and most will be negligable, 90-100% throw away all your aftermaket we have gold, the only thing that will stuff this model is me. Thanks Jim for your review. Wasn't something I would be interested in if I just saw it on the shelf but now I'm intrigued. Cheers, John
JUN 14, 2011 - 11:54 AM
The Rating (and Review) system is something that we've worked hard on over the years. It's nice therefore, when some people understand PRECISELY what we're trying to achieve. At the end of the day, it's personal perception which will give the final rating and yes there are a lot of factors at play. Not least of them is the originality of the release. I doubt i'd be much use Reviewing some of the 'Paper-Panzers' as in a number of cases they never appeared in anything more than the form of a few line-drawings. This would almost certainly cloud my judgement. As to my own 'Ratings' yes, they are high (taken as an average) which is no reflection on my own ablities, but rather the extraordinary work carried out by the manufacturers in the last few years. When you get a product to Review from certain manuacturers, it genuinely becomes a 'labor of love' Reviewing them...
JUN 14, 2011 - 11:31 PM

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