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  1. Soviet (9P117M1) Launcher w/R17 Rocket of 9K72 Missile Complex ‘Elbrus’ Scud B (82939) 1:72 Hobby Boss via Creative Models Ltd The Scud B is perhaps one of the best-known Soviet era short-range ballistic missile thanks in part to its uses with the former Iraqi dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, carrying explosive and possibly poison or nerve-agent a relatively short range, mainly to terrorise their enemies. In Soviet service it was carried by several types of mobile transporter erector systems, one of which is the 9P117 that was a basic chassis used for many weapons platforms, as it is a highly mobile, 8x8 platform that has a forward cab for the driving crew, and another mid-mounted crew compartment. The missile was laid centrally along the length of the chassis, facilitated by recesses in the superstructure, and two separate front cabs to accommodate the tip of the missile and its protective framework. Originally put into service as the Scud A in the 50s – a design that was at least partially inspired by the WWII V2, the later Scud B moved on in terms of capability, and again through the C and to D variants that improved the type’s performance incrementally. Powered by a diesel engine that was buried between the two forward cabs, the eight powered wheels made it a competent off-roader, allowing it to carry out its assignment as a mobile missile system that would be hard to pin-down, able to move to a new location, erect the missile and support it with recoil stanchions, compute the trajectory in the central cab where the electronics are located, launch was either controlled from the centre compartment or after moving the crew to a safe distance from the hot blast of the rocket motor. Then they could pack up and move again, reloading with a fresh missile along the way, getting away before the enemy could draw a bead on them and retaliate with missile, artillery or air bombardment. They have been gradually phased out from service since the collapse of the Soviet Union, to be replaced by more modern, mobile systems such as the 9K720 Iskander, which although it closely resembles its ancestor in many way, it is a more flexible, accurate and lethal system. The Kit This is a brand-new tooling in this scale from Hobby Boss, although their parent Trumpeter have produced one in 1:35. The kit arrives in a medium-sized top-opening box, and within are ten sprues, a chassis part, and a single loose panel in sand-coloured styrene, a clear sprue, eight flexible black tyres in their own bag, decal sheet, instruction booklet in black and white, plus a glossy full colour painting and decaling sheet slipped in between. Detail is excellent throughout, and the single part chassis is extremely well-done, making full use of sliding moulds to provide impressive detail. Construction begins with the afore mentioned chassis, which has the sloped front guard moulded-in, as well as the pivot-points for the eight wheels. Initially, the transfer boxes and drive-shafts are built up and are inserted into the hollow centre of the chassis along with cross-braces, actuator rods, tanks and hydraulic cylinders, followed by the creation of two sets of four hubs with stub axles inserted in the centre for insertion into the chassis over the next few steps. Starting at the front, the two front hubs, tyres and suspension arms are slotted into place, closely followed by the rear pair, both with steering linkages that pass through spaces in the chassis. The same process is carried out for the rear four wheels, minus the steering linkages, as only the front four are steered. The superstructure is then begun, starting with the big lift at the back that erects the missile, locking into lugs in the chassis rails, with an M-shaped support on a W-form cross-brace, then a pair of side panniers are installed over the rear four wheels, a rack of cylinders on two supports, and the rear chassis bulkhead, with a scrap diagram showing the correct location of the bulkhead. More stowage and boxes are dotted around the rear, and the stabilising legs are fixed hanging over the rear of the chassis, with thick pivots extending back from the rear. There are three sections of superstructure, two of which are crewed, the other is the site for equipment, and it’s the last of the three that is made first on a floor that receives detail parts before it is covered over by the undulating roof, with sections of the wall added underneath with pipework threading through it. At the front the twin cabs are each made from a sloped floor with two seats added to them, plus the inner wall of the cab that has a small window inserted, a steering wheel on the driver’s side, with more equipment in the opposite cab. The cab shell is inverted to install the glazing from within, and a twin-fanned radiator is inserted into the rear, then the two cabs in their respective areas. Additional detail is fitted under the cab and over it, including the clear front lights either side of the radiator grille, then the centre compartment is built in a similar manner, starting with windows, adding brackets and equipment, the larger electronics boxes having decals to improve the detail, and finally the floor is glued to the underside to finish it off. The missile is a straight-forward assembly, consisting of the two main halves, to which the perpendicular fins and rocket motor with steering vanes are inserted into the rear of the body. The cradle for the missile is arranged around the single part that outlines the missile, and has grab-handles, supports and the complex stand for the base of the missile that is clipped into place without glue to allow it to pivot. The missile and a pair of bracing travel locks near the nose finish off that assembly, then it‘s just a case of installing the three superstructure assemblies, followed by the missile once the glue on the others have dried, so the movement doesn’t unsettle the join between it and the chassis. A pair of wing mirrors are the last parts to be added to the sides of the two cabs. Markings Two decal options are the usual for Hobby Boss, but this kit includes decals for four, although there are only two drawings for the last two, as they have the same colour/pattern all over. You are also given details of the when and where they saw service, which is another surprise, but a nice one. There is also a series of drawings to assist you with painting the missile itself. From the box you can build one of the following: Czech Army Afghanistan Army, Kabul, 2005 Iraqi Army, Gulf War, 1991 Iraqi Army, Iran-Iraq War, 1980-88 Hobby Boss decals are printed anonymously, and are sometimes a weak-point of their kits, but this sheet should be more than sufficient for the task in hand, having good registration, sharpness, and colour density. The many instrument dial decals are printed on a clear backing that saves you from having to perform colour matching, which is always welcome. Conclusion This is a very nicely presented and well-detailed kit of the Scud B’s carrier from Hobby Boss, and with a diverse range of decal options, it should appeal to a wide audience. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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