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Trumpeter 1/35 SA-6 Russian Anti-Aircraft Missile w/Launcher Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2005 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject SA-6 Russian Anti-Aircraft Missile w/Launcher Scale 1/35
Kit Number 0361 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Excellent exterior detail Cons
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $24.95

First Look


The year was 1973. It was the holiday season and with the exception of a few soldiers and airmen, the military was home with their families. It was Yom Kippur. After the serious defeat experienced by the Arab nations in 1967 (and before that as well), the combined armies of the Egypt and Syrian staged a two-pronged attack into Israel.

In the north, the Israeli forces were holding the Syrians at bay, but in the south, Egypt had leapt over the Suez canal and was decimating Israel's armor. The Israeli Air Force attempted to gain air superiority over the Suez and provide close air support to the ground forces. As before, the Israelis encountered the Egyptian air defenses and while the SA-2 and SA-3 were easy enough to defeat, they encountered two new players on the battlefield, the SA-6 and the ZSU-23-4. Anyone entering the kill ring of the SA-6 was pretty much history, while those using low-level ingress/egress tactics to avoid the SAMs were ripped apart by the hail of radar-directed 23mm fire from the ZSU. It looked like the Soviets had developed an impenetrable wall with this new generation of air defenses.

As the Yom Kippur war continued, the US had dispatched whole squadrons of USAFE F-4E Phantom IIs out of Europe to Israel to reinforce the heavy losses faced by the Israeli Air Force. It cost the Israelis dearly in men and aircraft, but someone finally devised a tactic that worked against the SA-6, then another. David had once again slain Goliath.

When Trumpeter released the SA-2 Guideline in 1/35 scale, we had our first SA-2 release since the Airfix 1/72 scale offering many many moons ago. This was a welcome addition to the SAM family that also includes the DML 1/35 SA-9 Gaskin & ZSU-23-4 and the Zvezda 1/35 SA-13 Gopher.

Now Trumpeter has entered untouched territory - a styrene kit of the SA-6 Gainful. To be accurate, this kit represents the Transporter/Erector/Launcher (TEL) for the ZRK-SD Kub (SA-6) that can carry three missiles ready to fire.

This kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on nine parts trees (duplicates not shown), plus the upper and lower hull halves of the TEL. A single fret of photo-etch and a small bag containing wire and scale ducting is also included. In all, the kit is comprised of 292 parts.

As with most armor kits, this one starts off construction with the lower hull, suspension and track. The track in this case is comprised of a combination of track links and track lengths (of links) to make assembly of the track quick and painless. If you look closely at the lower hull of the TEL, you'll see just how detailed this kit is throughout! Excellent work Trumpeter!

Assembly of the upper hull comes next, with all of the hatches, pioneering tools, stowage boxes, and antennas coming together. The driver's hatch can be positioned open just like the DML ZSU-23-4, and like the ZSU, these hatches are best left closed as there is not interior in the driver's compartment.

Next comes the SA-6 missiles themselves. These three missiles go together rather straightforward, just ensure that the missile fins are squared up 90 degrees apart.

The last step is the launch platform that houses the missile azimuth and elevation motors as well as the support gear to power up and launch the missiles on command. As with the rest of the kit, this part of the kit is very detailed.

You have the option of displaying the TEL in a transport configuration (missiles facing rear and locked down, or missiles elevated into firing position.

Markings are provided for TELS from a Soviet Guards unit, an East German, Czech or Polish unit.

I am very impressed with this kit and will definitely pick up a few more TELS to start forming an SA-6 battery. Now if only we can get that radar in kit form. I hope that Trumpeter continues to turn out these great air defense kits - I'd love to see an SA-8 Gecko in 1/35 scale as well as some of the latest air defense systems in service. Zvezda has had the 2S6/SA-19 on their release list in 1/35 scale for a while now. Keep them coming!!

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!