Wheel set Vi-203 for Smerch-M
Miniarm 1:35 Set #B35140
Review by Terry Ashley

The Set:
Miniarm have released this set of resin replacement wheels for the 9A52-2 Smerch-M whichis based on the MAZ-543M 8x8 wheeled truck chassis, with the Smerch-M being available in 1:35 kit form from Meng Model 9A52-2 Smerch Russian Long-Range Rocket Launcher (kit SS-009) and Trumpeter Soviet BM-30 Smerch Rocket Launcher (kit 01020).
The wheel set doesn't say it's applicable to any particular kit but in fact is designed to fit only the Trumpeter kit and some considerable work will be needed to fit the Meng kit which we'll get to shortly.

The notable feature of the wheels in this set is they include the very latest in hub design as seem on some recent photos of the Smerch-M, this differs markedly from the original MAZ-543 wheel hub as depicted on all other resin wheels available. To date I've not seen a photo of these later hubs on other versions of the MAZ-543 but I presume they will filter though as time passes?

Reference image of Smerch fitted with the later wheels/hubs as depicted in this set.
Resin wheel overlaid to show comparison, note top curved contour of the actual tyre tread profile as mentioned below.


This set consists of the eight tyres plus separate wheel rims with two parts for each rim for a total of sixteen rim parts all cast in a light grey resin, the standard of casting is excellent overall with clean crisp details with just some minor clean-up and the small casting block on the tyres and rims.
It should be noted that the tyres don't have any "bulging effect" apart from the small flat spot when the plug is cut away. Many photos show these wheels with little or no "bulging" (as above) in any case but you can trim a little more from the wheels if you want them to sit a lower, this is up to the individual as always.
The separate rims allow you to fit these on the opposite side of the wheels to ensure the tread is correctly orientated for the right or left side of the vehicle as fitted.

Resin wheels
Resin wheel hubs

The rim halves have sizable plugs included that need to be cut away and a good quality saw blade or power cutter is best, also when cutting it's best to rotate the plugs while making a shallow 'pilot' cut around the inner cut line, this will ensure the cut is even around the whole rim.

Tyre and hubs before and after removal of the casting plugs

The tread pattern has clean crisp deep detail definition that extends around the shoulder onto the wheel side walls and includes the 20 tread chevrons around the shoulder which is correct for the later tyre as seen fitted with these hubs. There is also the sidewall data embossing which is quite subtle and not overdone for a good scale appearance.

Assembled wheel/hub

There is a small issue with some mould lines extending up the tread a little way either side of the casing plug but this can be smoothed out using a #11 blade to trim the tread blocks even without too much trouble. A few spots have excess resin in-between the tread blocks and this can be trimmed or left and covered with dirt on the final finish as it's not that noticeable overall.

Images showing the cast mould line needing trimming either side of the casting plug.

Dimensionally the wheels measure out a little undersized, the actual MAZ-543 wheels are 1500x600-635 which equals in 1:35 scale 42.9mm in diameter, rounded to 43.0mm. The resin wheels have an average diameter of 41.5mm but some of this can be attributed to the outer tread face being too flat in profile, the actual wheels have a more rounded tread profile, see images of actual wheels to show this.

Fitting the wheels to the kits:
As mentioned the resin wheels are designed to fit only the Trumpeter Smerch-M kit with a small ridge included on the inner rim to take the wheel mounting plate from the kit. One small issue here is this ridge doesn't sit as far inside the rim and it does on the kit rim resulting in the mounting plate sitting slightly further out than on the kit rims, this may result in the wheels sitting a little outside the fender line when fitted but test fitting will determine this and any adjustments needed for the best alignment.

Fitting to the Trumpeter Smerch as per text

Fitting to the Meng Smerch kit is whole different ball game as the kit just has a small mounting bracket that fits into the central hole at the back of the kit rims, the resin inside rim is completely open with nowhere for the kit axle pin to go and considerable work will be needed to fit these resin wheels to the Meng kit unfortunately.

Image showing nowhere for the resin rims to fit the Meng kit without some work.

These new resin wheels from Miniarm while cleanly cast and with very well done tread pattern (apart from the outer tread profile as mentioned above) with the big advantage of depicting the very newest hub pattern with the hub details very nicely done.
The overall size is a little undersized, I am assuming here these newer tyres and rims/hubs are the same diameter as the earlier type as I've not seen anything to suggest otherwise?

The new wheels will allow you to depict the Trumpeter Smerch in the latest wheel configuration if you wish, this being the biggest advantage of this wheel set as mentioned notwithstanding the slightly undersized overall diameter.

Rating 7.5/10


Various online references (Google is your friend) as there doesn't appear to be any books dedicated to the MAZ-543 series that I am aware of?

Thanks to traumatised bank account and Hobbyeasy for the review set.

to help the reviews continue, thank you

Page created April 9, 2017

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