Zvezda 1/35 M-72 Motorcycle with sidecar and crew

KIT #: 3639
PRICE: $21.00 SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


The M-72 was a motorcycle built by the Soviet Union. Conceived as a replacement for the two heavy motorcycles used by the Red Army—the TIZ-AM-600 and PMZ-A-750—both of which had performed unsatisfactorily during the Winter War with Finland and were considered outdated designs. The replacement chosen was the BMW R 71 which had been rejected by the Wehrmacht as a replacement for the R 12. As a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact the necessary legal, political and economic procedures were in place for BMW to provide the design, tooling and training for the manufacture of the motorcycle and military sidecar.

Production was intended at three factories located in Moscow, Leningrad, and Kharkov with ancillary items coming from several other factories. Only the Moscow factory MMZ produced any complete motorcycles prior to the German invasion and commencement of the Eastern Front (World War II).

The Moscow factory was moved east to the town of Irbit in Western Siberia and renamed IMZ. The Kharkiv and Leningrad factories were relocated to Gorkiy on the outskirts of the GAZ car/truck plant and renamed GMZ. During the war, motorcycles were produced at both IMZ and GMZ, however all sidecars for both the M-72 and Lend-Lease bikes were produced at Gorkiy.

M-72 motorcycles were predominantly produced with a sidecar attached, although some solos made appearances for escort duties and the like.

M-72 were produced at IMZ in Irbit from 1942 until 1955. A subsequent model, the M-72M was produced from 1955 until 1960.

In 1952 500 M-72 engines were shipped from IMZ to enable KMZ factory in Kiev Ukraine to produce their first batch of M-72s. KMZ produced M-72 until 1964.

in 1957 the Soviets sold the M72 production line(s) to PRC (Peoples Republic of China). The IMZ plant supplied M-72 military bikes to the PRC up to the transfer of M-72 production line in 1957 and continued to supply parts to the PRC until 1960).


Molded in a darkish brown plastic, the overall quality of the molding is superb. No sink areas, or mis-aligned parts on this one. Four sprues are provided of which one is for the alternate crew figures.

As one would expect, there are quite a few smallish and somewhat fine parts, but nothing that a careful builder will not be able to deal with. What is probably even better is that there are not any photo etch parts. I know that some other kits have them and it seems these sorts of things are a bit much on a small kit such as this one.

The engine and frame are nicely detailed and the wheels are also well done. While I am sure that photo etch spokes would look more scale, these are more than adequate and will be easier to deal with. Wheel/tire combos are simply two pieces. A nicely done side car is provided with the option of placing a pintle mount on the front for a machine gun. Luggage and tools as well as a spare are also part of the side car. The kit includes two sets of figures. One is very business-like with helmets and the rider aiming the gun. The other is more like a couple of guys who found a stash of vodka as they are in soft hats with the rider playing an accordion.

Markings are provided for two bikes. Neither is identified. Both are in your standard dark green. The instructions are well drawn with Model Master paint references. The small decal sheet provides the difference between the two options and is also well printed. The sheet includes the little badges for the side of the fuel tank.


Whether used in a diorama or by itself, this Zvezda kit will make for a delightful model.



December 2011

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