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Mike

Russian 9K37M1 BUK Air Defence Missile System (SS-014) 1:35

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Russian 9K37M1 BUK Air Defence Missile System (SS-014)

1:35 Meng via Creative Models

 

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Designed as a successor in the Air Defence role to the venerable SA-6 system, development of the type began in the early 70s, resulting in the original Buk-1 Gadfly system, which was soon upgraded to the M1 in the early 80s.  The upgrades made the system more capable, with an improved reliability and resistance to jamming, which led to a greater kill-rate than the original.  It was soon superseded again by the Buk-M1-2, which had a new, more agile missile that could intercept cruise missiles and other fast-moving targets, with a new NATO name of Grizzly.  There have since been other improvements on the system, with the latest M3 variant reaching service a few years ago.

 

The system carries four missiles with a maximum range of 22 miles each and the ability to climb up to 72,000ft, and can transport, erect and launch with its own integrated radar (TELAR), or act as part of a battalion or battery, the latter having a radar-less vehicle that is slaved to the more capable vehicles.  The tracked chassis is designated GM-569, developed by the Minsk tractor works, who have factories in Belarus as well as the expected Minsk.  It is capable of working extremes of temperature, and has a multifuel engine that usually runs on diesel, producing 7-800hp.

 

 

The Kit

Another new tool from Meng, who appear to be releasing new products as fast as ever of late.  It arrives in their standard box, but the artwork is printed in the portrait format, which makes not a jot of difference to anything other than taking the photo for the review!  Inside are eleven sprues and three hull parts in sand coloured styrene, a sprue of clear parts, a sprue of flexible black styrene parts, a ladder of poly-caps, a sheet of Photo-Etched (PE) brass, decal sheet, the instruction booklet and separate colour and markings guide.  Quite the comprehensive package, as we've come to expect from Meng.

 

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First impressions are usually good from Meng, and this one's no different.  Crisp moulding, lots of detail, sensible use of slide-moulding, and their usual first-rate instructions.  Construction begins with the tracked hull, and the wheels are first up, built up in pairs with a poly-cap between halves to ease on/off during the build and painting phases.  The idlers and drive sprockets are built the same way, and everything is mounted on the lower hull with the return rollers, torsion bar suspension with swing-arms at the ends.  The road wheels slip onto the axles, and the lower hull is finished off with small details, after which the upper hull is prepared for joining by adding some panel inserts around the engine deck.  With the hull joined, many of the remaining apertures are filled by adding doors for the side-mounted stowage bins, and the engine deck access panels, with PE grilles over the top of some. Crew hatches are also added along with the usual light clusters at the front, plus a navigational turret over the front starboard fender.  Wing mirror and pioneer tools  are installed, as are the downward facing air intakes, plus even more stowage bins at the rear with the light clusters either end.  Short side-skirts, travel lock and styrene towing cable are affixed, finishing off the lower hull apart from the tracks.

 

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Tracks can be a pain to build, or not.  These ones are actually quite good, and I built up a run of seven links in a few minutes.  Each track link is attached by two sprue gates, and sliding moulds have been used to produce pin pathways where they are on the real thing.  You fit the links into the clear jig seven at a time, close the separate lid, and then insert a spruelet of pins without glue into the holes on one side.  The other side is held together by a small pip that locks into a corresponding depression in the next link along.  After withdrawing the assembly from the jig, you cut off the pins flush with the side of the track, and you're left with a very flexible, realistic-looking run of tracks for minimal effort, which you can see in one of the pictures below.  The sprue gates are placed in the hinge area, so won't be seen much, and as there is a lip either side, a downward stroke from a sharp #11 blade should sever the connection without collateral damage.  A brief buff with a narrow sander, and that's it.  There are 113 links on either run however, so you're still going to be working on them for a while, but with minimal clean-up and no ejector pin marks, that's a lot less time that will be consumed.  Top marks!

 

With the tracks out of the way, the "turret" is next in line, being supplied as a large part to which many doors and access panels are added after you have inserted the turret floor.  At the shallow end a hydraulic ram is assembled before the missile platform is added, with a few other parts needed such as a rest for the missiles in travel mode.  The large radome is built up and affixed to the front of the turret, the optics are assembled and fitted to the roof, then the large launch rack is built up with the flexible hoses permitting movement of the assembly after completion.  Each launcher holds two missiles, so the process is carried out twice, after which they're linked with a box-section that has the ram fixed to the centre, and they are pivoted around the rear using a poly-cap on each one to allow them to move.  The flexible hoses are then connected to the turret using the scrap diagrams to place each hose into its appropriate connector.  Two small platforms are attached to the rear of the turret, plus a substantial pivoting antenna on a large base, a set of railings that prevent crew from falling off the turret roof, and cross-braces that strengthen the antenna bracket.

 

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The four missiles are identical, and are comprised two body halves, exhaust unit, body insert and additional stabilisers, plus the steering vanes at the rear.  A separate diagram shows their position on the launcher in relation to the turret, which is then twisted and locked into place on the hull, with the option to attach the travel lock at the front to the rear of the turret if you are posing your model in transport mode.

 

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Markings

There are three markings options in the box with different camo options for each one, and from the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • No.203 unknown unit, 6th Air Forces & Air Defence Army, Russian Air Force, Pushkin City, Russia 2007
  • No.905 unknown unit, Ukrainian Army, Military Parade on 25th Independence Day, Ukraine 2016
  • No.Ps443-24, Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment, Finnish Army, Southern Suburbs of Helsinki, Finland 2004

 

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Decals are printed in China, with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt/gloss (it really is a bit of both) carrier film cut close to the printed areas.  On my sample there is a small amount of black outline missing from the leftmost cross from decal option B, but once applied to the green hull, it probably won't notice.  The missiles are shown in four views on a separate page, so that you can place the decals correctly, but they are shown as green with white nose cones, while option B has totally white missiles, so take note of that before you get carried away with the paint.

 

 

Conclusion

This is a big tracked vehicle, and when in transit mode, the rear of the missile launcher projects past the front of the hull.  In launch mode it will make for an impressive display.  Detail is excellent, the tracks are about as good as they can be, and there are a variety of decal options, including a Finnish one if you're not keen on the Russian options.

 

Very highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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