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Skif Strella 10SV

Skif 1/35 Strella 10SV (SA-13 Gopher) Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2005 Manufacturer Skif
Subject Strella 10SV (SA-13 Gopher) Scale 1/35
Kit Number 0216 Primary Media Styrene, PE
Pros First kit of SA-13! Cons
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $32.95

First Look

Skif Strella 10SV (SA-13 Gopher)
Skif Strella 10SV (SA-13 Gopher)
Skif Strella 10SV (SA-13 Gopher)
Skif Strella 10SV (SA-13 Gopher)
Skif Strella 10SV (SA-13 Gopher)
Skif Strella 10SV (SA-13 Gopher)
Skif Strella 10SV (SA-13 Gopher)
Skif Strella 10SV (SA-13 Gopher)

The Strella 10SV (SA-13 Gopher) is short-range air defense (SHORAD) system that, coupled with the ZSU-23-4, provides low-altitude air defense to ground forces. Designed to mount on the MT-LB chassis, the system is a follow-on to the SA-9 Gaskin system mounted on the BRDM vehicle. The system was first introduced into the Soviet military in 1976. (Strella is Russian for 'arrow').

The SA-13 system is comprised of four infra-red missiles stored in canisters mounted on a stowable launcher platform. The platform can be raised to the firing position as depicted in the box art, or folded to the rear for road or rail transportation. Between the canisters is a radar and above the right pair of canisters is a video camera. The system does not have a coaxial gun (this was resolved with the 2S6 Tunguska) which is why these were paired up with the ZSU.

The operator sits inside the MT-LB and looks up through a window at the base of the launcher. Four sets of sensors are mounted around the vehicle. The missile is launched directly from the canister. Four additional missile canisters are stored inside the vehicle before needing resupply. According to the specifications provided in the kit, the launcher can be elevated from -5 to +80 degrees elevation.

The field of Soviet air defense has long been ignored in the modeling world with the exception of the long-extinct Airfix 1/72 SA-2 Guideline kit issued decades ago. DML broke the ice with their releases of the SHORAD duo of the SA-9 Gaskin and the ZSU-23-4 over ten years ago, but progress ended there. In recent years, we've been given a new 1/35 SA-2 from Trumpeter and they have announced a 1/35 SA-6 Gainful in the near future. Now from Skif, we have this SA-13 Gopher, another MT-LB with a ZU-23-2 air defense gun mounted on its roof, and announced for future release, the 2S6 Tunguska that combines guns and the SA-19 missile on the same vehicle.

Molded in an olive green styrene, the kit captures the shape and details of the Strella 10SV (SA-13 Gopher). Presented on six parts trees, plus two frets of photo-etched parts, and two sets of rubber band tracks, the kit is flash-free and has nicely molded detailing.

One of the nicer aspects of this kit is its interior. Details are provided for the interior of the vehicle and the two-place driver compartment. While there is always room for more detailing (radios, ammo storage, etc.) this is a great starting point. The one detail missing is the turret basket where the operator sits to look out the window. This can be scratch-build very easily.

The overhead hatches for the drivers compartment can be positioned open as well as the rear entry doors. Good thing as the spare missile canisters are inside to be seen.

For whatever reason, transparencies are not provided for the windshield glass, instead the instructions have you apply the photo-etched armored shields down over the windows as it would be when operating under fire and seeing the area through the periscopes. The missile operators window is opaque and will have to be replaced if you're going to add the turret basket.

Photo-etched parts are also included for the headlight protection, side viewing ports, fender edges, launcher service platform, and other miscellaneous details.

Markings are provided for Russian or Ukrainian service vehicles.

The Skif Strella 10SV (SA-13 Gopher) adds another interesting SAM system to the list of Soviet-era air defense models that I've wanted for some time. Eduard has released two sets of detail parts for this kit, plus I'll add some Warriors and/or ICM figures to the vehicle to bring the model to life.