ARM: Review - SDV 1/87 TOS-1 Buratino

Kit Review: SDV Model 1/87 scale Kit No. 87 084; TOS-1 Buratino; 49 parts in green styrene; price CZ Kr 290 (approximately US$14.40)
(Note: this kit is also marketed by Arsenal M in Euros with their own unique kit numbers, but is more expensive)
Advantages: first model of this vehicle in plastic in this scale
Disadvantages: model of one of the early 30-round versions (TOS-1A has only 24)
Rating: Recommended
Recommendation: for all small-scale or HO Russian armor fans
    The Soviet War in Afghanistan was something of a watershed for Soviet arms manufacturers, as one of the new weapons they developed for that war which proved successful beyond their wildest dreams was the thermobaric warhead. Used on rocket-propelled grenades like the RPO-A “Shmel” and the S-8 and S-24 rockets, this weapon was very nasty inside closed spaces such as buildings or caves.
    Thermobarics work by retarding an explosion with a metallizer such as aluminum and adding oxidizers to create complete combustion. Damage comes as the burning explosive cloud expands and fills up a set volume of space, and once done – as it also consumes all oxygen in the area when it burns – it creates a vacuum which can cause even more horrific damage when it sucks in all around it.
    The TOS-1, or “Buratino” (Pinocchio), earned its nickname in that each of its 220mm rocket projectiles has a stand-off probe on the nose to detonate it where its explosive fill can expand to an optimum degree. The first prototypes carried 30 of these rockets in an 8-8-8-6 configuration, but after testing a 24-round (three rows of eight) was adopted for production models as the TOS-1M. They also switched chassis from either a straight T-72 or T-80 chassis to the “common” artillery chassis of a T-72 hull and engine-transmission with T-80 running gear.
    SDV continues to produce really interesting and useful modern Russian or Soviet weapons and vehicles, and this one fits the bill. Based on one of the early models, it is a nice depiction of a T-72 chassis with the 30-round launch pod. The hull is nicely done and as with past SDV efforts comes with separate outer wheels (idler, road wheels, driver) on each side. Oddly enough the directions show the model with skirts (which is correct) but none are provided in the kit. At least they are very easy in this scale to make from 0.010" sheet styrene.
    The turret rotates and the pack may be elevated or depressed, and it also comes with the travel covers for the ends of the pack. Note that each of the rockets has a hole molded in the warhead where the probes go, so a 1-2mm probe of fine wire or stretched sprue should be added to show the probe.
    In general the hull is nicely done, with separate entrenching blade and braces as well as a separate engine deck; the rear air exhaust vents are a bit undersized and the fording covers are in place, but the rest looks very good indeed.
     Overall this is a nicely done model and a sure conversation starter!
    Models can be ordered direct from SDV at their e-store: http://www.sdvmodel.cz . The Czech Koruna currently converts to US dollars at a rate of Kr 20.2 = US $1.
Cookie Sewell
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