Mike Posted June 28, 2021 Share Posted June 28, 2021 TOR-M2/SA-15 Gauntlet Russian Anti-Aircraft Missile System (3633) 1:35 Zvezda HobbyPro Marketing A replacement for the SA-8 Gecko anti-aircraft missile system was requested by the Soviet Military in the mid-70s, and after a long development period, The TOR-M1 was finally accepted into service 10 years later. As with all things, upgrades followed until the M2 variant was developed, recently using the longer-range, more compact 9M338 missiles, stored vertically in the centre of the turret ready to be launched immediately, able to fire even whilst on the move under optimal conditions. Eight of the older 9M330 or 9M331 missiles can be launched from the TOR system, while sixteen of the newer 9M338 missiles can be carried in the same space, thanks to the compact size of the new design, increasing its effectiveness and reducing its down-time for reloads. The radar modules on the turret can provide targets and guide up to eight missiles at a time in later variants, and it can also communicate with the missiles after launch thanks to a small antenna on the vehicle that can update the missiles in-flight. The turret is mounted on a GM series tracked chassis made by Mytishchi Machine-Building Plant in a district outside Moscow, but the system can also be mounted on a wheeled chassis, and the same basic system is also capable of being mounted on a ship, with an amphibious variant in the pipeline at some point. It has seen extensive service in many of the conflicts around the world since it was taken into service in Russian and other countries, and sadly it is implicated in the shooting down of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 whilst in Iranian hands. The Kit This is a brand-new tooling from Zvezda, fresh off the presses in Russia, so it is a modern kit and has plenty of detail moulded-in. The kit arrives in a standard yellow-themed box with captive top lid, and inside are six sprues in grey styrene, plus two hull halves in the same colour. In addition, there is a small clear sprue, two different sizes of plastic mesh, the instruction booklet and a double-sided sheet of A5 printed with the decal options. The sprues have a shiny finish, with a good level of detail, including link and length tracks that have been created with the correct level of sag moulded-in. It is an exterior-only model, and there are no missiles to accompany it, which is a minor shame, but someone is bound to come up with an aftermarket block of resin to portray that area in much finer detail than is possible in styrene. Unusually for an AFV, construction begins with the turret, which is based upon a floor that has the turret ring moulded-in, with the bland upper turret installed and detailed with inserts on all sides to busy it up, plus the roof panel, which has the two missile compartment tops moulded into it, and equipment is placed within the cut-out at the rear that will form the base of one of the radar installations. To either side of the turrets are two additional panniers, which have sections of the larger mesh inserted into the angular ends, using a template that is printed next to the instructions. The large flat radar panel is made up with the dielectric panel at the front, which has a shallow convex bulge in the centre, to be fitted to the rear of the turret on some substantial hinges that fix to the rear corners. The framework for the other radar is then made up and attached to the rear of the large rectangular panel, which has the curved radar installed at the top, then is inserted onto the equipment that was installed earlier in the recess of the turret along with even more parts. The lower hull is then pulled from the box and outfitted with the suspension swing-arms, towing hooks and the two-part drive sprockets, to be joined by the paired road wheels and the four return rollers each side, leaving the idler wheels off until the tracks are ready to be put in place. As already mentioned, the tracks are link and length, with good detail and no ejector-pin marks to deal with, which is always nice. The long straight runs on the top and bottom are moulded as single parts, with shorter lengths for the diagonals and four curved sections that are made up from individual links by wrapping five or six links around the drive sprockets and idler wheels, applying glue and letting them set up. These curved sections are used to link the straight sections, with an additional single link between the front diagonal and bottom run, to break up the sharpness of the transition. The upper hull is a stepped panel with a cut-out in the central section ready to accept the turret later, but it first needs detailing with panels to bring the deck, which starts life as a series of blank-faced raised boxes, up to scratch with the highly detailed surfaces, adding the sloped glacis plate with clear windows, headlamps, and optional open or closed hinges for the window covers that are fitted later. The sides and rear bulkheads are joined to the lower edge of the deck, and another long piece of mesh is inserted into the narrow exhaust outlet, again using a nearby drawing as a template. To mate the two hull halves together, two narrow fender inserts are slotted into the sides of the lower hull, which join with the upper hull, accompanied by a lower glacis plate and a few details in the rear. The engine deck has more surface detail fitted next, including more mesh for one of the heat exchangers on the engine deck, an overhang on the right rear, plus three stowage boxes hanging over the back. At the front are fixed clear vision blocks for the crew with guards, sensors, hooks, a 2-man saw, a flat cover over the headlamps that supports a large angular box, a pair of styrene towing cables with moulded-in eyes, with another slung under the rear bulkhead and accompanied by rear mudguards, one of which was off the sprue in my example. Yet more detail is fitted to the upper hull in the shape of pioneer tools, trunking on the engine deck, a stowed ladder, rear lights, spare tracks and sensors, plus a pair of long textured panels that run down either side of the turret area. There are two completion options for this kit, as already mentioned. The first is with the radars and other equipment stowed for transport, and with the front windows open and the windscreen wiper blades installed. Alternatively, with the radars popped up ready for action, the two covers are installed lowered, thanks to the alternative hinge parts that will have been fitted earlier in the build. A few more small parts are dotted around the front of the deck, and that’s the model finished. Now for some paint. Markings There are two painting options included on the decal sheet, although with several of the numerals 0-9 on the sheet, pretty much any numerical code can be assembled. From the box you can build one of the following: Victory Parade Moscow, 2017 Khmeimim Air Base, Syrian Arab Republic The decals are well printed with a red band around the edge that is reminiscent of Begemot’s work, but that’s just my guess. The colours are dense, printing sharp, and what little registration there is on the two large Russian logos is good, with a satin carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The scan of the logo seems to have rendered it more red, when it looks more orange in the flesh, so please remember that. Conclusion It’s a very nicely moulded kit, with just the right amount of detail for an exterior model. The tracks are well-detailed and aren’t over-complex, which is always a bonus and shouldn’t dissuade even the most track-phobic modellers from picking one up for their stash. Keep up the good work Zvezda! Highly recommended. Available from all good model shops online or in actual buildings. Review sample courtesy of 4 2 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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