SKP Model
Zetor 25A Tractor
in army service

SKP Model 1:35 Scale Kit No. SKP 150
Review by Terry Ashley

SKP Model
The Zetor 25A tractor was an improved version of the earlier Zetor 25 built by Zetor of the Czech Republic and had a 2.1L Zetor 2 cylinder diesel engine developing 25 hp at 1800rpm with 6 forward and 2 reverse gears giving a top speed of 32kmh on even ground.

Between 1949 and 1961 a total of 158,570 tractors were produced at the Brno factory in Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic) with many still in use even today.

The Kit:
This full resin/etched brass kit from SKP of the Zetor 25A tractor is labelled “in army service” as it was used as an aircraft tractor for the Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic) air force in the 50's. The kit includes two options for the driver’s seat, the initial steel seat with adjustable metal frame support and the later simply cushion seat, this is indicated in references as the more appropriate seat for the Zetor 25A.

There is also the low slung exhaust pipe of the earlier Zetor 25 but again references indicate the top mounted exhaust pipe was used with the Zetor 25A but this isn’t included in the kit unfortunately. The large rear wheels also have a fully enclosed wheel rim and this is seen in a number of photos of the Zetor 25A and is most likely a modification for the military use as civilian tractors have an open spoke design for the rear wheel rim.

The kit can be called a true multi-media kit that consists of:
Etched, metal and clear parts
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SKP Model

The standard of resin casting is excellent with clean crisp castings with just some minor resin film and the usual casting plugs to be removed. There is one area that will need more attention with the casting plug on the engine top cover/radiator located along the top of the cover and when removed exposes a number of holes and imperfections on the cover. The holes will need to be filled and sanded along with the imperfections to get a smooth top surface for the cover, the degree of blemishes here will differ on each set due to the nature of resin casting but this was the only area requiring any additional clean-up.

The etched brass is done by Hauler so is of top quality with bending lines and other small marks showing where to fit the parts and using a good bending tool for the longer chassis beams will help while flat point tweezers will suffice for the smaller bends.

Clean-up of the resin parts was quick and easy due to the relatively small attachment points for the casting plugs even on the larger parts and the resin is easy to work with not being overly hard or brittle but you still need to take due care during the clean-up process. Many of the parts have small locating pins and corresponding holes for better fitting but a few of these needed the locating holes slightly enlarged so test fit before gluing.

The largest part is the engine/transmission to which is added the front pulleys and other engine accessories as well as the rear drive shafts and gear levers in both resin and etched brass. When fitting the rear drive shafts it is very important to align the square sections perfectly parallel with the top and bottom of the transmission as this will govern the fit of the etched rear frames later in the assembly.

The only fit issue was with the alternator (part A48) as this will prevent the top engine cover from fitting if added as it comes, I had to trim the section of the alternator that overlaps the engine block to about half thickness so the alternator will be closer to the block leaving clearance for the top cover but more on this below.

The front axle is cast with the axles fixed in the neutral position but it wouldn’t be too much trouble if you wanted to alter the angle of the front wheels. There are a few small steering parts added to the main spring that need care and when fitting to the underside mountings ensure the spring is fitted perfectly centrally as there are no actual locating holes. The two support rods (parts A36) will need trimming to fit so test fit to determine the correct length.

Other items added are the steering column, the low slung exhaust pipe, this can be drilled out for a better appearance and the long steering rod and smaller clutch linkage rod have to be sourced elsewhere which shouldn’t be a problem. The left side tank (part A18) is rarely seen in period photos and can probably be left off.

Rear frame:
The large rear frame is entirely in etched brass and appears a little daunting but is fairly straightforward with just simply bends on the straight parts. The large side frames are best bent using a good bending tool while all the smaller bends can be done using flat nosed tweezers without any problems. There are basically three sub-assemblies, the two side frames and the rear tow bar frame and these can be assembled separately but don’t fit all three sub-assemblies together before fitting to the transmission as they have to be fitted around the side drive shaft square sections.

I used thicker cyanoacrylate to assemble the frames as they don’t take any stress after assembly but you could also solder the parts for a more robust assembly. When assembling the two side frames it is important to fit everything perfectly square, there are small marks on the parts to ensure the correct placement, you have to supply the thin wire needed in the side frame boxes and there are 14 hex bolt heads added to each side frame to finish off.

The rear tow bar frame is also quite straightforward being simply angle bends and again it’s important to get everything nice and square with the spring tow shackle in resin added. The tow bar frame can be attached to one side frame again ensuring it’s all square before fitting to the drive shafts to make things a little easier.

The side frames are fitted around the square drive shaft sections and before actually gluing in place fit the cross member (parts L20, L30) to get the right spacing, again without labouring the point make sure these are fitted perfectly square for a good fit. The rear perforated cross member (part L30) is bent back over itself for a thicker part and this should be bent with the engraved bending line on the outside not on the inside as is the usual practice.

When you are happy with the alignment of all the frames you can glue them to the drive shaft square sections for finish the assembly with the etched frames having an excellent appearance when done.

The kit gives you a choice of two seats, the early metal frame seat and later cushion seat which is the commonly seen on the 25A tractor. The early seat has an elaborate etched support frame that looks very impressive and can be assembled with the metal seat at different heights as per the original. The assembly of the support frame is a little complex but with care there shouldn’t be any problems.

The cushion seat is a far simpler affair with just the seat and backrest with textured cushions, the backrest also has spring detail on the back plus the lower mounting frames, the attachment of the backrest frame to the two lower mounting frames (parts A25, A28) is just a butt join and not very strong and I inserted small wire pins in the frames for a more robust assembly. The two cross members (parts A26, A27) may need trimming for a better fit with the desired seat added to the lower storage box before being fitted to the top of the rear transmission.

Final assembly:
The small instrument panel has a photo film sheet for the dials which is then sandwiched between the outer etched panel face for a nice appearance with this and the gear shift lever attached to the steering column.

The engine top cover has the radiator front included and this has open front grills with just some very fine resin film to be trimmed which is easily done with a sharp #11 blade and a small box added to the underside. As mentioned above there was a fit issue with the engine alternator and as well as modifying the alternator the sides of the radiator cover had to be thinned considerably to allow proper clearance, this also improves the appearance in the process. Also the inner front corner of the underside box needed to be trimmed to fit the curve of the transmission housing and on the right side the air intake pipe had to be trimmed a little to fit under the top cover and test fitting along the way will determine the trimming required.

The two large rear wheel fenders are easily fitted to the side frames along with the head lights with the resin lens inserts added, at the back is another large head light that is located differently depending on the seat used and the small tail lights. Note there are alternate lights and number plates that may not be used on all tractors but the small red resin taillights add a nice touch to the appearance.

Finally the front and rear wheels can be added, the front wheels have nice subtle tread pattern and hub detail and the larger rear wheels have the larger tread pattern well done with the hub detail well defined, as mentioned this probably the military design hub as the civilian hub is an open spoke design. The casting plug scar on the wheels can be positioned at ground contact to hide nicely.

Overall views of assembled kit with alternate seats shown.
SKP Model
SKP Model

The printed paper sheet has two number pates with the decal sheet having the Zetor 25 logo for the side of the engine cover, these being the only markings provided. The colour painting guide has two schemes, one civilian and one for the Czechoslovak Army, 1953 in overall khaki green. The civilian scheme is shown with the engine/transmission in a grey green colour with light blue radiator/engine to cover and fenders but you could basically paint this any colour you desired.
The small instruction booklet has very clear assembly illustration drawings that should be easy to follow but as with any instructions studying the sequences before any cutting/gluing will reduce and problems.

The kit itself is very well done with excellent quality resin casting; the clean-up of the engine cover being the only issue and the inclusion of the etched rear frames adds considerable definition to the final assembly.

As far as resin/etched kits go this is fairly simple and offers the opportunity to hone your skills working with resin and etched brass for the less experienced as most of the sub-assemblies are fairly straightforward compared to some more complex kits.

The only real detail issue is the low slung exhaust pipe with references indicating the larger top exhaust would be more appropriate for the later Zetor 25A tractor, this would be easy to make from plastic rod should you wish to make the altertation.

The end result is an impressive little kit of an unusual subject that provides a nice alternative and can be used in basically any post war eastern European scene.

Rating 8.5/10

The parts:

Click on thumbnails for larger view
Resin part images
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Detail Assembly images

On Line
Thanks to SKP Model for the review kit.

Page created April 29, 1012

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