If this ZiL 130 seems vaguely familiar to you, that might be because its mug is featured in the opening credits of FX’s new
documentary drama The Americans, a sequence also notable for a GAZ 21 that gets wantonly blowed up. You might also remember that back in December we saw a much larger and far more dangerous version of the 130, which has since injured several people who have handled it. A staple truck of the USSR if there ever was one, the ZiL 130 first entered production in 1962 and was made through 1994. The 130 was built in so many different versions that even people who have written books on ZiLs still keep finding new variants. Released by Ultra just a few months ago in 1:43, this short-bed 130 is a charming scale model of one of the most common versions of this V8-powered truck.
Even though scale models of the ZiL 130 have been made since he 1980s, this is effectively the first commercially available scale model of the ZiL that one can buy new. It’s also the first commercially available ZiL 130 model that’s actually affordable, as there have been expensive handmade versions made since the 1980s. Let’s take a closer look at this truck.
These trucks aren’t technically 100% diecast (not to imply there are a lot of diecast trucks out there anymore), since the bed is made out of plastic, but making the body and the bed out of metal would have definitely sacrificed detail, as well as making the model much more expensive. I’d also be concerned about the longevity of the paint if this truck was made entirely out of metal. Ultimately, there is a reason why the edges of Minichamps models are a bit more rounded than you’d expect; that’s a lot of paint layers sitting on metal. With plastic, however, modelmakers can sculpt much sharper edges, as well as incorporate hinges like on the bed of this truck. I only hope that Ultra will continue to expand the 130 line, as there were so many interesting trucks made in the Eastern Bloc.
Curiously enough, just when Ultra released this lineup of ZiL 130 short-bed trucks, another company, SSM/AIST released its own line of short-bed ZiL 130 trucks. SSM’s versions come in other colors (though a khaki colored 130 is made by both companies), but Ultra’s 130 somehow feels slightly more solid to the touch. The execution of the two models is slightly different, though they’re essentially 90% identical. The most noticeable difference is that Ultra’s wheels sit on a slightly wider track, and Ultra’s version has higher bed sides.
The slightly weird phenomenon of competing scale models of ZiL 130s coming to market within months of each other is perhaps best explained by the fact that there are now many different diecast companies getting started in Eastern Europe, and most of them are not in the habit of communicating with each other about their long-term plans. Ultra’s 130 comes with two fascia variants, the early 1962-1975 fascia (dark green), and the 1976 and later fascia (blue). A matte khaki is also available. The two 130s above are both by Ultra, the green one on the right being an example of the older-style 130 fascia.
These usually retail for a very reasonable $40.00, though it’s possible to find them for as low as $35.00, depending on where you look. Speaking of which, the eBays (Electric Bays, a division of Westinghouse) are the best place to find these.
[Images: Copyright 2013 Hooniverse/Jay Ramey]