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Paul A H

Russian "Bal-E" Coastal Missile System MAZ Chassis - 1:72 Modelcollect

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Russian "Bal-E" Coastal Missile System MAZ Chassis

1:72 Modelcollect

 

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The Bal-E coastal missile defence system uses an surface-launched adaptation of the Zvezda KH-35 (AS-20 Kayak) known as the Bal (Ball) (SSC-6 Sennight) anti-ship missile system. The system is designed to guard coastal waters, straits and naval bases. The missile itself is fitted with a rocked booster for the launch phase and is designed to engage small vessels up to 5000 tonnes. The system has been fitted to differnet launch/control vehicles. This kit represents the demonstrator/test version of the Bal-E system, which used the MAZ-7910 chassis, while the production vehicle uses the MZKT-7930 chassis. As of October 2016, Russia is believed to have deployed 4 Bal-E units, each comprising 16 launch vehicles. 

 

Modelcollect are a Chinese firm who are largely known for their highly detailed and well-regarded 1:72 scale AFV kits. They have long specialised in post-war Soviet/Russian subjects such as their T-62, T-64, T-72 and T-80, as well as the new T-14 and a growing range of missile and rocket launchers and radar vehicles. Many of the kits are available as pre-assembled models as well as conventional kits. This particular kit has arrived direct from China, along with the MZKT chassis version, which we will review shortly. Inside the large,top-opening box are seven frames of parts moulded in grey styrene, as well as a slide-moulded cab, along with a frame of clear parts, eight rubber tyres, two frets of brass parts (one for the vehicle and one for the missiles) and a small decal sheet. The mouldings are clean, crisp and finely detailed.

 

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Construction starts with the lower chassis. Two long parts hold the road wheels, and between these the huge V-12 turbodiesel engine, gearbox, drive shafts and various transfer boxes all fit into place. These are covered with small plastic protective plates to prevent damage when traversing rough ground. The eight road wheel hubs fit onto the chassis next, with each made up of five parts, followed by the wheels. The tyres are moulded from a rubber-like material and there are no plastic plastic alternatives. Two large fuels tanks complete this part of the build. Flip the chassis over and the crew compartment can be assembled next. The cabin itself is slide moulded, in a similar fashion to other similar kits from Trumpeter and Hobbyboss. The doors are moulded seperately, while the clear parts are moulded from plastic. I have to say I prefer this way or representing clear parts to the more realistic, but difficult to use, plastic sheet that is often included with kits of this type. 

 

Inside the cabin there are the two tandem crew seats, as well as steering wheel and column and a few extra details for some of the electronic equipment. The windscreen wipers are made from photo etched brass and look excellent. Before the cab is added to the chassis, the radiator for that huge V-12 diesel has to be installed, along with a photo etched mesh cover. So far as I can tell, this will be completely covered over by the single-piece cab and the plate that protects the underside of the engine when traversing rough ground. The missile system is identical to that provided with the MZKT chassis version. There are two rows of four launchers, as well as the missile crew compartment. This sub-assembly comprises a seperate floor, walls and roof. The whole thing fits onto a flat platform, which in turn sits atop the chassis. A pair of  missile are included, complete with small display stands. 

 

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The decal sheet is generic and includes a range of numbers and licence plates. The painting diagram shows a single, generic example finished in overall green. Colour references are provided for the Ammo by Mig range only, which is somewhat unusual as there are far more widely used paint products out there.

 

Conclusion

 

Although this version of the Bal-E may not have quite the appeal of the production version, it is nevertheless and imposing and impressive kit. The level of detail is excellent, although the kit looks no more complex to build than any other wheeled vehicle kit. Modelcollect should be congratulated for giving us a stat-of-the-art kit this subject and I can't wait to see what they come up with next. Highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of 


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