19 years ago
Launcher; 159 parts (118 in olive drab styrene, 40 in grey styrene, 1 section
of copper wire); price $21.95
Advantages: first styrene kit of this missile in this scale; elegant details
with the kit; launcher able to be posed
Disadvantages: no wheel assemblies provided for the launcher base; no radar!
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all missile and "Duck Hunter" fans
F I R S T L O O K
"Ban Roi Tai Cho! Bat Xong Giac Lai!" In 1972, that was the motto of the
Vietnamese Peoples' Air Force Air Defense: ? shoot down the airplanes on the
spot! capture the pirate pilot alive! And the weapon that gave that to many
VPAF units was the S-75 air defense missile system firing the V-750
surface-to-air missile ? the SA-2 GUIDELINE to NATO, the "Flying Telephone
Pole" to US pilots.
The S-75 was created by the USSR in the mid 1950s in response to a requirement
to create a B-52 killing mobile missile system in which a battery could be set
up (radar, fire control van, and six launchers) in less than 4 hours and ready
to engage the enemy in no more than 9. The first system, the SA-75 "Dvina", was
a fixed system accepted for service in December 1957. Later, first the mobile
S-75 "Desna,", was accepted for service in May 1959, and an improved version,
the S-75M "Volkhov," followed in April 1961. All of them used first the SM-63
and later the SM-90 launcher mount, developed by TsKB-34, and based upon an
antiaircraft artillery platform.
There were a number of different versions of the missile produced: V-750 (1D),
V-750V (11D), V-750VN (13D); V-755 (20D/20DP), and 5Ya23. All were
approximately the same size with different warhead sizes (the 5Ya23 was
reportedly a bomber formation killer with a nuclear warhead) and ranges. The
S-75M had a range of engagement from 7 to 43 kilometers and an altitude of
engagement of 100 to 30,000 meters. Targets were engaged by the radar (FAN SONG
to NATO) and 1 to 3 missiles could be fired at a single target.
The missiles had to be guided to the target by the radar, and hence when the
USAF developed the "Wild Weasel" that shot back with the Shrike or Standard ARM
missile it became a game of "Guts" as to who would win. The Shrike had to have
an active target, so the trick was to see who figured his missile would hit the
other guy first; if the radar shut down the Shrike would usually miss, but if
the radar shut off the missiles would never hit their intended aerial target.
Most SA-2s are out of the inventory except in many third-world nations, and
the Chinese have worked to continually improve their CSA-1 versions of the
missile. But during the 1960s and 1970s, the SA-2 was the most widely exported
? and used ? surface-to-air missile in the world.
Trumpeter has now released a gorgeous pair of kits ? the SA-2 missile on its
launcher, and an SA-2 on a reloader/transporter trailer towed by either a
Chinese truck or a Soviet era
ZIL-157L. The ground kit appears to represent the basic model of the V-755
"Volkhov" version of the system and the SM-90 launcher mount. Both are very
nicely done and an impressive amount of parts is provided to build both the
launcher and the missile.
The missile consists of 40 parts, and is built in sub-assemblies of missile
and booster. The missile is complete down to the external control actuators for
the airfoil controls and main engine gimbals . A very nicely done decal sheet
provides all of the Cyrillic stencils used by the Soviets, so it pretty much
limits the missile as it comes out of the kit to a Soviet-built version. (Some
export models had text in English; this isn't one of them.)
The launcher is very well detailed and provides a lot of moving parts to
ensure that it faithfully duplicates the original. There are a large number of
hydraulic pistons, and this requires care as the directions are a bit breezy
about what they are and where they go. The kit indicates the elevation arm
elevates, but as everyone who has ever built a model with working parts and
weight at the end of an action arm knows, you need either friction or a lock to
hold it in place. There is also a gear assembly (Part P16) as part of the
elevation mechanism that is cemented in place, but as I have not assembled the
kit yet I do not know if it functions as a friction snubber or or not.
Alas, no bogies are provided for the carriage, so there is no way to show the
launcher and a racked-up missile in transit, or to show the launcher during
emplacement or being prepared to move. Trumpeter also does not offer the FAN
SONG radar van, but that may be just as well: a full fledged SA-2 battery site
in 1/35 scale would be about 30' in diameter, not something easily shown to
one's friends or taken to competitions!
Overall this is a great kit, but I think Trumpeter has a rather ironic sense
of humor releasing it at the same time as a 1/32 scale F-105D ? one of the
SA-2's main targets in Vietnam!