Soviet (9P117M1) Launcher with R-17 Rocket for 9K72 Missile Complex “Elbrus” (SCUD B)
Trumpeter, 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
|Stock Number and Description||Trumpeter 1/35 scale Kit No. 01019; Soviet (9P117M1) Launcher with R-17 Rocket for 9K72 Missile Complex “Elbrus” (SCUD B)|
|Media and Contents:||1,093 parts (933 in grey styrene, 104 etched brass, 20 clear styrene, 8 black vinyl tires, 8 clear vinyl keepers, 4 lengths steel wire, 2 aluminum pins, 1 length of brass wire, 1 length of black insulated wire, sheet of 12 vinyl window masks)|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||First new kit of this system in 22 years; full details in the cabins, missile control/servicing module, and engine bays plus full driveline; nicely done tires|
|Disadvantages:||Not an inexpensive model; no wiring diagram (see text); some odd things missing from the kit (see text)|
|Recommendation:||Highly Recommended for all Soviet and Cold War fans, missile fans and detailing fanatics|
To recap my experience with the SCUD B, back in 1976 I scratchbuilt a model of the Soviet SS-1c SCUD B missile system. It was not very good as I had no idea of the accurate dimensions of the vehicle and its components. I was disappointed with the results.
But three years later, on 1 January 1979 I started on a second one with some good photos and good dimensions of the missile and launcher. It took nearly five months but at the end of that time I had an accurate model of the SCUD B and the 9P117 launcher for the missile. It had an engine, all doors operated, the missile elevated and rotated on its launcher, and it was also able to demonstrate the self-loading option of the original launcher.
The model did well at shows and won many awards, and also doubled as a teaching tool for explaining Soviet tactical nuclear delivery systems. The last time I placed it in a competition was in 1991 at the Association of Military Modelers show in Aberdeen, Maryland. Attending that show were Freddie Leung, head of Dragon Models, and Tony Chin, who at that time was the head of the Marco Polo office that imported Dragon kits into the US. Both of them liked the SCUD B model and Freddie noted that they were preparing a kit of it but had some problems they had not worked out on the model. I gave them the SCUD B model, which I had nicknamed “Bruce” after the mechanical shark in “Jaws”. They bought a tackle box, carefully packed it up and took it back to Hong Kong.
This kit appeared the next year (1992) and has remained in production on and off ever since. At the time of its introduction it was an impressive model and could be made into a very good representation of the actual vehicle and missile. At that time its parts count of over 350 was an exception to the rule and imposing.
I recently relooked the DML SCUD B kit from 1992 with an ulterior motive: I knew I was getting the new Trumpeter kit for Christmas and wanted a base line to compare them.
The Trumpeter kit arrived today and is a very impressive model by any standard. It has nearly 1,100 parts down to and including bolt-head level details, a nearly complete interior, and a really nice set of tires. The kit comes with three sheets of etched brass (only 104 parts as some are reasonably large) and two full decal sheets. One covers the interior and the other covers the missile and exterior of the launcher.
Originally Trumpeter had announced this kit as the “SCUD C” and all of the sprues in the kit are so labeled; however their error was pointed out to them and the nomenclature on the box is correct. A “SCUD C” was what was known in the West as the KY-3 SCUD; KY for Kapustin Yar test range where it was first seen and 3 as it was the third unidentified missile tested there. It was later found to be about eight feet longer than a SCUD B and have a range of 450-500 kilometers (tops for a SCUD B is about 300 or a bit more). The launchers had the brush guard removed (the tubular part of Part M15 in the kit) to permit it to extend past the front of the vehicle. Few were ever noted and none seen in the forward area.
The missile is actually called the 8K14 by the old Soviet GRAU system but in some sources was also known as the R-17. The launcher (transporter/erector/launcher or TEL) is a 9P117M1, the third and last launcher variant made by the Soviets using the MAZ-543 8 x 8 truck. The big external differences are only a single porthole on each side of the missile control module and a different radiator fitting on the left side behind the driver’s cab. The system is called 9K72 with the nickname “Ehl’brus” (Mount Elbrus) in Russian, but the popular nickname from the crews was “Kashalot” or sperm whale for its size and humped profile.
The model comes with a large number of semi- or actual operating features. The missile may be elevated and rotated on its launcher base, the travel locks may be operated, jacks retract and lower, bins and the control module can be shown open or closed, the cabs elevate for access to the engine and the doors to the cabs may be operated with care. Oddly enough the elevation and transport positions call for the modeler to swap the pistons around – parts F45 and F47 for transport, F46 and A10 for erected. With care the side panels of the service module (parts J36 and J37) can be cut apart and posed open to show the extensive interior detailing (they are held up with struts and droop about 10 degrees when fully open).
There are only two odd choices I have found in the kit. One is some sort of “lagging” around the warhead of the missile. While none of the training missiles have it shots of “combat” missiles do not seem to have it either, so I am not sure where it came from. Another is the only missing component inside the launcher itself – the generator engine. In one of those “we’re Soviet and we’ll do things our way” moves the radiator for the generator is on the left side of the launcher behind the driver’s cab. The actual generator and engine are inside the front right section of the control module and have their panels opened (front and side) when running. Trumpeter left it out (go figure with all of the other details they included!)
The third thing is very odd. While giving so many details to the model Trumpeter chose to leave out the extensive wiring and cabling at the rear of the launcher. There are ten cables that connect the missile to the launcher and all ten are missing. For reasons best known to themselves, Trumpeter left out the wiring BUT included a length of black insulated wire to make them! That one puzzles me.
The kit comes with a nice 36 step booklet that covers the building of the model and gives a nice logical layout to the kit. It starts with the backbone chassis and its innards (transfer case and power takeoff to all eight wheels, then the accessories such as the compressed air system, and on to the twin torsion bar suspension (alas, none of this is visible when the model is completed!) The engine has 63 parts alone and also comes with the fuel injection system molded as a single part (part P23) and a pair of slide molded open exhaust pipes.
The cabs have a nice level of detailing down to the “star” horn button on the steering wheel (part E27) for the driver and an R-123 radio and accessories for the commander (right front seat). Note that for anyone wanting to do a crew for the launcher it consists of one lieutenant, two warrant officers (praporshchiki), two sergeants, and two enlisted men. The driver is a sergeant, the commander the lieutenant, and the two warrant officers are responsible for preparing and aiming the missile. The other sergeant ensures the enlisted men carry out the manual operations.
The decals cover a wealth of detail inside the cabins such as the instrument panel and the missile status boards and also the markings on the missile. These are quite extensive and while there are different levels of marking Trumpeter has provided a pretty good selection including the fin markers (I/II/III/IV with I being the lower left hand one when viewed from behind) and the various ports and markers on the missile airframe plus its “sling points” (twin stripes on either side of the airframe located for different loads and configurations of lifting with a crane). Note that the decals list the missile as an 8K14UT - practice training missile like that found at the IWM Duxford.
Finishing directions cover no less than seven different nationalities: Afghanistan (2005), Armenia, Lybia (2011), Russia, Iraq (1991), Iraq (1980-1988), and Iran (1980-1988). Paint schemes are pegged to either Gunze Sangyo or the new AMMO line from MIG. Supplementary numbers are provided for some Testors Model Master, Tamiya and Humbrol colors. Note that the interior color of the cabs is a light seafoam green, not light blue as noted in the directions. Also the rear cabins tend to be orange with perhaps a darker shade used on the open doors. Surprisingly none of the Soviet or Warsaw Pact TELs are covered in this kit, which is a shame as there are many more photos of them in service than the ones given in the kit.
Overall this is a magnificent kit other than the stumble with the cabling. But it is a daunting piece to work on with parts down to 0.5mm in size and anyone just wanting to build a SCUD kit may consider the DML one. It is not too bad and for $100 less with one-third the parts may be a worthwhile choice.
A 12 Main chassis rails, engine cover, erecting piston
B 92x4 Wheels, suspension arms, fine details
C 49x2 Cab doors, seats, suspension elements, fine details
D 39x2 Launcher elevating cradle details, missile details
F 51 Erection module fenders, compressed air cylinders, frames, details
E 59 Cab module left front, left side, chassis details, front bumper
G 28 Cab module inside walls, right front, details
H 33 Erection module trim, ladders, bins, fire extinguishers
J 49 Service module, generator components, stowage bins, exhaust pipes
K 31 Center (missile control) module
L 25 Launcher elevating cradle, launcher mounts, lifting cradles, cab roofs, grille
M 38 Missile, launcher table, mounts
N 20 Clear styrene
P 63 V-12 engine and accessories
– 4 Steel wires
– 2 Aluminum pins
– 8 Clear vinyl keepers
– 8 Vinyl tires
– 12 Vinyl window masks
– 1 Brass wire
– 1 Insulated wire length
PE-A 29 Etched brass
PE-B 21 Etched brass
PE-C 54 Etched brass
Thanks to Wes and Kevin at Hobby Works Bel Air (MD) for helping me obtain the kit!.