ARM: Review - Trumpeter SA-6 GAINFUL

Kit Review: Trumpeter 1/35 Scale Kit No. 00361; Russia SAM-6
Antiaircraft Missile; 321 parts
(304 in grey styrene, 12 etched brass, 2 steel springs, 1 section large
vinyl hose, 1 section small vinyl hose, 1 section twisted copper wire);
retail price US $24.95
Advantages: first kit of this vehicle in styrene; nicely done parts
breakdown permits a number of detailing options
Disadvantages: missiles are out of proportion
Rating: Recommended
Recommendation: for all Soviet equipment fans and air defenders
In 1958 the Soviet Union began work on an overlapping and interlocking
system of air defense for their motorized rifle and tank divisions.
Each project received a covername, and the one chosen for the division
level missile system was "Kub" - cube. (The Army level one was
the 3M8 "Krug" - circle - which became known in the West as the
SA-4 GANEF when it came into service.) The system was designed by
OKB-15 under V. V. Tikhomirov. Testing began in 1961 but was
unsatisfactory, and it was not until 1967 that the system was accepted
for service. The missile was dubbed the 3M9, and the launcher, based on
a GM-578 chassis, was dubbed the 2P25. NATO dubbed the new system the
The missile system was fielded in regiments of 20 launchers each,
divided up into five batteries of four launchers and a 1S91 radar
system each. The 1S91 (dubbed STRAIGHT FLUSH by NATO) was data-linked
to each of the launchers, and controlled both their launches and the
missiles themselves once in the air. The original missiles had an
engagement envelope of 6-12 kilometers. Later, as the system evolved, a
new missile was designed, the 3M9M, which had a much broader envelope
- 4-25 kilometers.
The missile itself was unique - it used a solid-propellant booster
to launch the missile, but then had a solid-fuel ramjet engine for its
sustainer. This was fed by four intakes located around the missile
airframe and was controlled by the rear set of fins. The missile had a
57 kilogram warhead and was very dangerous to modern aircraft, as the
Israelis found out to their detriment during the 1973 Yom Kippur war
when the Egyptians claimed to have shot down 63 aircraft with the 3M9.
Eventually more than seven versions of the 3M9 missile were built and
sold abroad under the covername "Kvadrat" (square) to 25 different
nations. More than 500 launcher systems were built.
All 3M9 missiles shared the same dimensions, and only minor external
differences provided any clue to which version of the missile was being
used. Later, the new SA-11 missile replaced the SA-6 and the launchers
were modified to fire that missile in place of the 3M9.
The SA-6 has been a popular subject for a number of years, and at
least three different resin conversion kits for the DML ZSU-23-4 (on
the closely related GM-575 chassis) were offered over the years. Now
Trumpeter is the first company to offer the 2P25 series launcher as a
kit and it is quite impressive.
The model is designed for modelers who love to detail as it comes with
most of the top panels and hatches as separate items, and also comes
with the more popular "link and length" track set with only 33
parts required to install the complete track run on each side. Detail
is excellent and matches up well with an Iraqi 2P25 "Kvadrat"
launcher belonging to the ADA Museum at Fort Bliss, Texas. There are
some minor detail differences; however, as there were four different
SA-6 launchers produced (called 2P25, 2P25M, 2P25M1, and 2P25M2 by the
Soviets) there is no really good way to say which specific version was
Alas, the same cannot be said of the missiles. Comparing them with
notes and Russian books on the 3M9, the missiles provided with the kit
intend to represent a 3M9M or later variant. The difference is that the
3M9 had mass balances on the forward fins and the 3M9M has them on the
tips of the rear ones. That being said, the dimensions on the missile
are not right when compared with Russian sources:
Measurement Source Data 1/35 Scale Kit Dimensions
Length 5840mm 166.8mm 172mm
Diameter 330 mm 9.4mm 8.0mm
Wing span 928mm 26.5mm 32.0mm
Fin span 1200mm 34.3mm 36.4mm
The overall effect is of a very skinny missile that does not look
right. This is unfortunate as the launcher is close to spot on, and it
is unknown if the Chinese used dummy or "parade" missiles instead
of the normal 3M9M missiles for their measurements. My best suggestion
is to simply remove 5mm from the airframe in front of the ramjet
intakes and let it go; if not, you will have to scratchbuild all of the
airfoils to get the shapes right as there is no way to simply trim off
1-3mm from the back end and have them look right.
The model comes with a nice color broadside covering three different
launchers: one Polish, one Czech and one DDR. Markings are also
included for a Soviet one with Guards badges but no information is
provided for colors or locations.
The directions are an interesting adventure in themselves, as the
authors are obviously English as a Second Language writers. On the
launch rail assembly (Step 14) which is called "Launch Pad
Assembly" they cite six parts as "Early"; what the authors meant
was "Assemble these parts first." Other interesting turns of phrase
included Step 12, "Guided Bomb Assembly" (the missiles), Step 17,
"Immobility Rack Assembly" (travel lock), Step 18 "Attaching
Transport State" (missiles in travel position) and 19 and 20 -
"Attaching Transport/Launching State Handrail" (missile protective
guards in transport and firing positions.) It could have been worse,
but it does remind me of Japanese motorcycle directions of 40 years ago
("For vibrating of front wheel please to be turning the handle
dumper" being my favorite.)
Overall this is a nice kit, but it's a shame that the focal point
- the missiles - are off the mark. Hopefully they will also release
the impressive 1S91 (STRAIGHT FLUSH) to go with it.
Thanks to Steve Zaloga for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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Nice write up. I have one, and am thinking of grabbing a second. Got any pointers as to where to find info for scratch buiding a set of correctly proportioned missiles?
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Alas, no. Wish I did as I'm not looking forward to the work it will take to fix these suckers.
Cookie Sewell
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They seem to be simple enough shapes to scratch build...I'd think that would be easier than trying to fix the kit missiles. I'd think...I'll have to do some digging...
Sure hope Eduard weighs in on this kit...I'm itchin' for some etch. And for the new Trupeter loco as well - I'm drooling for one of those.
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