Zil-157KV Tractor Build

I am John and I have been watching this site for quite some time and have finally been motivated to start a build(s); in other works, get out of the arm chair and to the work bench. I am interested in East European/Russian trucks of all kinds, so I have collected several Trumpeter kits of same. Due to severe arthritis, the build(s) will be slow and when I manage to learn how to post pictures, will share some. Again, due to conditions, most builds will be OOB.
Because I am really only interested in the trucks, they will be built as chassis/cabs or tractors with 5 wheels (if they were built that way from the factory).
I could use some help with three things to start with:

  1. I don’t seem to be able to determine it different manufacturers painted their engines a specific color as the US factories do. Any help will be appreciated.
  2. Were/are transmissions and transfer cases painted or left natural metal? In most cases, the rest of the drive line appears to be black.
  3. Most pictures I find show the seats are either black or yellow/tan/brown. Is this really the case or did they all start out as black.
    Sorry to be long winded but a little nervous coming out of the shadows.
    If this should be in another forum, please change it.

Welcome John.

If I can make a suggestion, list out the first couple of kits you intend to build, then see if someone can be specific to those. There usually is no ‘one rule for them all’ approach to most military vehicles.

Then, may I suggest you try a site like Prime Portal for a walkaround photo study of you vehicle.
What you see there will give you an idea, but remember if it is a restored vehicle it may not have original colours, but at least you get a feel for it.

Then do a Google search using the name of the type of vehicle you are building with the word ‘engine’ or ‘transmission’ added. Often you will get some good photos there.

There are always plenty of guys here that are happy to help out if you ask. There are never too many questions …

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Test to see if picture will post.

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I will always need and welcome suggestions!
I have been looking at several sites as well as google for pictures but have had little luck with the engine colors. There seems to be no clear reference on that. I will look at sites for the actual engine manufacturer to see what they might have.
I will post a picture of my first kit I plan to build, the Trumpeter SA-2 Guideline. For now, I am only building the tractor.

The truck is a Zil-157KV, the tractor version of the Soviet Zil-157K 2 1/2 ton cargo truck. At the time, late-'50s to mid-'60s, the engines were painted an overall silver-gray color.

Zil-157 eng 2

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Just a few more views of the engine ( some have seen better days :wink: )







Thanks for the info and pictures. I had guessed that a light grey might be the proper color and now that is confirmed. The pictures will be of great help should I be able to detail the engine.

From what I have seen on this site over the last couple of years, you appear to be a ‘legend of sorts’ when it comes to providing pictures and here you are proving it again.

You’re welcome John ! Good luck with your build.


As I said, lots of very knowledgeable people here always ready to help. Gino and H.P. are both legends of this community!

Thanks. I don’t know about a legend, but I am happy to help where I can.

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The bodies of the engines of all Soviet trucks were painted with silver paint: aluminum powder diluted in drying oil or any varnish. This is true for new products and for those out of repair.

Thanks for the info. That will make things easier.

Now that I have picked the kit that I will build, is it possible to change the title of the blog to reflect this?

Type the new title/subject in a reply to this post

looks like you changed to what I would have picked, Zil-157KV Tractor Build

That was me. You’re welcome.


HeavyArty, Thanks!
Finally started this build. The kit has more pieces than I thought it would have, so most of the build looks like it will take place under the magnifiers.
First picture shows most of the parts for the engine and transmission. At least 20+ parts all together.
Second picture shows some progress.
Third pictures shows the distributer and head. I have to find a way to attach 7 wires to the former and 6 wires to the latter. Trouble with a gas engine, the spark plug wires are usually quite visible. I think I have a plan and will share it if I am successful.