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Jadar Models/ARMO 1/35 GAZ-69 With Rocket System 'Trzmiel'/'Snapper' Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review January 2008 Manufacturer Jadar Models/ARMO
Subject GAZ-69 With Rocket System 'Trzmiel'/'Snapper' Scale 1/35
Kit Number 35033 Primary Media Resin/Photo-Etch
Pros Neat modern Soviet subject Cons No decals or painting guide
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $109.00

First Look

Armored Car
Armored Car
Armored Car
Armored Car
Armored Car
Armored Car

The GAZ-69 is a Soviet 4-wheel drive light truck of jeep class, produced by GAZ or Gorkovskij Awtomobilnyj Zavod between 1953 and 1955. From 1954 until 1972, it was produced by UAZ, as the UAZ-69, though they were commonly still called GAZ-69’s as well.

The basic variant GAZ-69 has a pair of doors only and most often appears with standard canvas top and upper sides. A further variant, the GAZ-69A (UAZ-59A) has two pair of doors. It was also produced under license by ARO in Romania, as Muscel M-59, later modernized as the Muscel M-461. From the UAZ-69 there were developed an off-road van and a light truck UAZ-450 and a newer jeep UAZ-469.

The GAZ-59 was the basic off-road vehicle of the Soviet Army, replacing GAZ-67’s and Willys Jeeps. The GAZ-69 was itself replaced by the UAZ-469. It was also used as the basis for the 2P26 tank destroyer (subject of this kit) and a light 4 x 4 amphibious vehicle, whose design was largely copied from the WWII Ford GPA “Seep”.

The rocket system on this model was known as the 3M6 “Shmel” or “Bumblebee” and is the MCLOS wire-guided anti-tank missile of the Soviet Army. 3M6 is it’s GRAU designation. Its NATO reporting name is AT-1 “Snapper”.

The rockets are too large to be man-portable; they are typically deployed from specialized vehicles or helicopters. The missile was intended to supplement traditional anti-tank weapons like the 100 mm anti-tank gun, whose accuracy beyond 1500 m is poor. The missile’s accuracy in contrast remains high as far as its maximum range of 2,000 m.

However, the system’s bulk, slow speed and poor combat accuracy drove development of later SACLOS systems like the AT-5 “Spandrel”. The 3M6 Shmel was based on the western ATGM’s of the time, such as the Nord Aviation SS.10. However, it is considerably larger. It was developed by the Special Mortar Design Bureau (SKB Gladkostvolnoi Artillerii) in Kolomna, who were also responsible for the AT-3 “Sagger”.

Development of the missile proceeded rapidly. The first unguided flights were in April of 1958. followed by controlled flights in June and July 1958. On the 28th of August 1959, new technology was shown to the command of the Soviet Armed Forces. On the 1st of October 1960, it was accepted into service. It was first publicly displayed in 1963.

There were two platforms for the missile:

  • 2P26 (subject of this kit) was based on the GAZ-69 light truck, with 4 launch rails pointing backwards. The control station can be deployed up to 30 m away from the launcher vehicle. It entered service in 1960
  • 2P27 was based on the armored BRDM-1, with 3 pop-up launch rails protected by an armored cover. It entered service in 1964

Both these variants of vehicles were deployed in anti-tank batteries attached to motor rifle regiments. Each battery had 3 platoons each, with 3 launch vehicles and a single command BRDM.

It was used by Egyptian forces during the 1967 Six-Day War. Few were used with only one tank loss attributed to the system. The “HIT” probability for the system is estimated to have been only 25% in combat. A pretty shabby record! North Korea began producing a reverse-engineered version of the missile in 1975.

This is a resin model produced by ARMO/JADAR Models in Warsaw, Poland.

It comes in a generic white study box. The box lid is hinged and tucks into the tray with tabs when closed. The box art consists of a sticker that has a black and white, very dark and grainy photo of the kit made up. This is glued to the lid. A smaller size of this same sticker is attached to the narrowest end panel of the box. I assume this so that it can be seen when the kit is stacked on a shelf in a hobby shop.

Inside the box are some loose light tan resin parts: the vehicles bottom part with fenders and grill attached, the vehicles frame, the canvass cab roof, some canvas flaps that go on the rear of the vehicle, the engine and 4 missiles. These largest parts and parts in the first zip-lock type cello don’t appear to have any pour plugs on them. It looks like ARMO removed those at the factory. These parts are clean and ready to go then. I detected no surface bubbles in any parts also.

There is a small white end opening type box inside that holds 2 zip lock cello bags of the rest of the light tan resin parts. There is 2 frets of brass PE parts and a thin sheet of clear plastic (to cut windows out of with a scissors). This clear sheet also has dashboard instrument faces printed on it (also to cut out with a scissors). These are in an unsealed cello with a stiff sheet of cardboard to prevent the PE from being bent in shipment. The instructions complete the kit’s contents.

The instructions consist of 2 sheets of 8 ½” x 11” format, printed on both sides.

The first sheet give the first 11 assembly step drawings. The second sheet gives the remainder of the drawings, for a total of 18. No history or painting instructions are provided. There are no decals in the kit either. I would think that this vehicle would have “AT LEAST” had some license plates on it. Bad move ARMO. I found an image of this truck made up on a internet site. It appears to be overall dark green (like the majority of Soviet stuff was painted) with a light tan canvas roof and side curtains and a black undercarriage and wheel rims. I don’t know if this vehicle ever sported any tactical marks?

The first zip-lock style cello bag holds: 5 x wheels (one is the spare), motor compartment firewall, radiator, an axle, the missile launcher four cornered base-plate, leaf springs, the exhaust pipe with muffler and some suspension rods (14 parts)

The second zip-lock style cello bag holds: the seat parts, another axle, the hood, another leaf spring (I fear I need 4 and only count 3 in the kit…sigh), the steering wheel (which has flash to be removed between the spokes of it), engine pipes, drive shafts, body side-panels, oil filler cap, doors, tool box, a pulley wheel, missile launcher supports and elevator arms etc. (40 parts) These are all fairly small parts and all have the pour plugs still on them to be removed. I could not totally identify everything in this bag and will have to wait until I build it to discover what some things are. A modeler will really have to thoroughly study the assembly drawings to identify the part he needs for each step, out of this bag anyway.

The largest brass PE fret holds: the windshield, which goes together in several layers with the clear parts trapped in the center, there is an alternate grill part, radiator screens, the dashboard, louver panels that go on the sides of the hood, a hood ornament stripe and numerous other small parts.(around 70 parts)

There are no figures in the kit. It would have been nice to have had a crew manning the missile launcher.

The smaller brass PE fret holds anti-skid plates for the running boards, an open ended box that mounts on the back of the rear wall of the cab etc. (11 parts)

The thin clear sheet completes the kit’s contents. It holds 5 windows and the instrument panel gauges.

I recommend it to modelers that are into modern Soviet AFV’s and who have had previous experience with resin and PE type kits. This one is not for the novice.