31 August 2010

9K33 OSA - NATO Designation: SA-8 Gecko

So the last post for August, better known as “Soviet Month” is my absolutely lovely Cromwell Models SA-8 Gecko SAM launcher.

According to the US Army’s FM 100-2-3 “The Soviet Army – Troops, Organisation and Equipment - the SA-8/GECKO is a two-stage, solid-fuel, short-range, low-altitude, all-weather SAM system. The unique six-wheeled SA-8 TELAR is amphibious and has a large boat like bow. The SA-8b system (the one I made) carries six canister-launched missiles and has the on-board LAND ROLL target acquisition and fire control radar system, mounted on the front of the turret. The LAND ROLL system consists of a folding surveillance radar antenna located atop the launcher, between the two pairs of launch rails, and a large tracking radar dish flanked by two smaller command radar dishes forward of the launch rails.

The SA-8 has a slant range of 12 kilometers and a kill zone of approximately 10 to 12,000 meters in altitude. Compared to other Soviet air defense systems, the SA-8 has several advantages: it is fully self-contained, highly mobile, amphibious, and air-transportable.

The surveillance radar of the LAND ROLL system probably operates in the H band and has an effective range of around 30 kilometres against a typical target. Its antenna folds down behind the launcher, enabling Soviet transport aircraft to airlift the system. The tracking radar is of the pulsed type; it probably operates in the J band with a range of 20 to 25 kilometres. The two I-band guidance radars make it possible to launch two missiles at the same target, each one responding to a different frequency to frustrate ECM. A low-light-level television camera mounted on top of the fire-control assembly is used for optical target tracking.

The use of canisters on the SA-8b system has three advantages: it further increases the number of ready missiles, it improves missile survivability, and it facilitates resupply and reloading.

The SA-8 system is organic to the SAM regiment of some Motorised Rifle Divisions and Tank Divisions. An SA-8 regiment has a total of 20 TELARs organized into five batteries of 4 TELARs each. The regiment also has 10 resupply vehicles, based on the same chassis as the TELAR, which carry additional missiles and a crane for transloading.

Besides being susceptible to suppressive fires and ECM, the SA-8's exposed radars and wheels are especially vulnerable to artillery fires.

The Soviets introduced the SA-8a in 1974 and first publicly displayed it in 1975. The SA-8b variant was first seen in 1980.

You can find more info on the Wikipedia SA-8 page here


This is a Cromwell Models resin SA-8 Gecko kit. Sad as this sounds, it was love at first sight when I saw this model and I was very happy that my friend Simon just happened to have one spare. For some reason I’ve always had a thing for Soviet SAM systems… weirdo!

The TELAR basically comes as on very crisp piece, with just what I imagine is a blast shield, to be added to the back of the vehicle.

The missile mount needs to have the 2 small command radar dishes attached, the two ‘pods’ of three missiles attached, the small surveillance radar (2 pieces) put together and attached and another small piece attached to the top of the target acquisition and fire control radar system.

It all fitted together very well, and despite one thing being broken, I was readily able to fix this without any problems.

My only negative with the kit is that it comes with no instructions, and whilst I was able to find some examples online to help, some basic instructions would have been helpful.

All-in-all, I’d still give it 9.5 out of 10.


Same old same old here, I’m afraid. Only significant difference is that I painted the windows with GW Hideous Blue (I think) and added some Vallejo white for a highlight. Weathering is with Tamiya Weathering pastels.

So here are some pictures of my little beloved Gecko




As per usual - I've also included some youtube clips of the Gecko in action

A Gecko cruising around

Not a bad video if you can get bad the head banging music and non HD.

A fairly long winded video on Greek Geckos - much better HD quality and some views inside the vehicles.

So that's about it.

Have fun


24 August 2010

9P122 “Malyutka”

Keeping with what appears to be my Soviet theme for August, this week I’ve decided to show you my recently completed ACE Models BDRM-2 9P122 ATGM Vehicle equipped with AT-3 Sagger missiles.

The 9P122 "Malyutka" – is a BRDM -2 scout vehicle that has had its turret removed and replaced with an ATGM launcher. Six launch rails are mounted on the underside of a retractable armoured cover with eight additional missiels carried inside the vehicle.

The 9P122 has a reaction time of one minute to fire from a completely buttoned-up mode. The crew can fire all six missiles on the mount without reloading. Successive missiles can be fired and tracked within five seconds of the previous missile’s impact. The gunner can operate either from within the vehicle or from a remote position up to 80 metres away.

The SAGGER is a wire guides ATGM with a HEAT warhead. The missile is 864mm in length, 120mm in diameter and weighs 11.3 kg. It can engage targets at ranges of 500 to 3000 metres and can penetrate 400mm of armour.

It employs an MCLOS guidance system in which the operator must observe both the missile and the target and guide the one towards the other.

The vehicle has a two man crew that includes the commander/gunner and the driver. They also have assault rifles and an RPG-7.

This model is found in regimental and divisional antitank units of Motorised Rifle Divisions, the antitank regiments of Combined Arms Armies and in the antitank regiment or brigade in the artillery division of a front.


Well this was the first ACE Models kit I have ever built and I can’t say I found it an overly enjoyable experience. ACE Models have a bit of a reputation, as far as I’m aware, or making cools kits that no-one else makes, but can be pretty awful to build. They are limited run kits, and don’t have some of the more fancy things – like numbers on the sprues, male and female bits for clearly showing where to glue something and the make it fit properly, or detailed instructions. Some of the sprues can be quite heavy with flash and at times you feel like you are sculpting a missile out of plastic, rather than cleaning off a little flash.

The kits don’t fit together with the exactness of a Revell kit for example, and you will have to get out the plastic putty on occasion.

But…. They are still quite reasonable kits, and most importantly, the subject matter is without peer, particularly when it comes to Warsaw Pact kits.

Most of the kit went together relatively well. I left off a fair amount of detail, mostly because it was either too awkward or there was no clear place to put it. I had real trouble with the missile mount, and after putting the half built model aside for six months, finally had to scratch build some pieces to make it fit. I also couldn’t fit all six SAGGER missiles on their launcher rails, so put on four instead.

Once completed, the model looked something like this:


You can see the main vehicle (with the missiles inside), the overhead armoured cover and the missile launch rails, which would be attached under the armoured cover once it was all painted.


I painted this vehicle the standard Russian way – but I did have to do something different that I did for the first time, and it worked quite well.

The kit comes with black rubber tyres. I didn’t want to have to paint these, so I once the kit was built, I covered the tyres with vegemite. I think spray undercoated the little blighter in black and then the warpaint Russian Armour. Once dry I washed off the paint covered vegemite and – TA DA – it worked pretty darn well.

Here’s some pics of the completed vehicle:

Front View

Side View

Top View

Top View with Armoured Cover removed.

Here's a couple of youtube clips you might find interesting:

This Russian clip shows a chap setting up a suitcase SAGGER. About 31 seconds into the clip you see an 9P122 which fires 2 missiles (well it may just be the same one from different angles) and you see the wire spooling out.

Similar to the first clip, but from an Eygptian point of view. I don't think this is real combat footage, but at about 1.18 into the clip you see an Eygptian 9P122 rolling onto the range and firing a SAGGER.

Have fun


12 August 2010

ACRV M1974 (1) - Artillery Command and Reconnaissance Vehicle

The artillery command and reconnaissance vehicle (ACRV) Ml974 was first observed in 1974 and were introduced along with the 122-mm and 152-mm SP howitzers. Their high degree of mobility allows SP howitzers to operate closer to the Forward Line of Own Troops (FLOT) and to the supported manoeuvre units, thus increasing their responsiveness. The automation of gunnery computations helps reduce mission times and gives greater flexibility in the deployment of firing batteries. The centralization of fire mission computation and fire control at battalion level is consistent with the recent establishment of the battalion rather than the battery as the basic firing unit in Soviet artillery computer available to each battalion. Battery fire direction personnel probably will receive from the battalion Fire Direction Centre (FDC) fully computed firing data that is ready to be passed to the SP howitzers.

The suspension consists of seven road wheels with no support rollers. The high, box-like hull has a steep glacis at the front and a flat, round turret on the rear half. The straight vertical rear of the hull contains a single exit door. A total of three or four antennas may be mounted on top of the hull. The ACRV M1974 (1) normally has a 12.7-mm DShK antiaircraft machine gun on a swivel mount atop the turret. The ACRV M1974 (2) turret mounts a laser rangefinder, optical observation devices, and associated fire-control equipment. The ACRV M1974 (3) may mount a 12.7-mm machine gun and probably contains a digital fire-direction computer. The ACRV M1974 (1) and (2) also vary from the ACRV M1974 (3) by having a rectangular box projecting from the right side of the hull, just below the turret.
The artillery command and reconnaissance vehicle (ACRV) Ml974 is known to be deployed in three versions. All three have the same basic chassis as the 122-mm self-propelled howitzer 2S1. The three versions of the ACRV are deployed in self-propelled howitzer battalions:

ACRV M1974 (1) IV13 (Battery Fire Direction Centre) remains in the battery firing position as the battery FDC. The battery FDC is manned by the battery senior officer (platoon leader of the first firing platoon), assisted by (manual) fire direction computation and communications personnel. It has direct radio communications with the battery command observation post (COP), the battalion COP, and the battalion FDC. The battery senior officer relays firing data to the SP howitzers.

ACRV Ml974(2) IV14/IV15 (Battery and Battalion Command Vehicle) is used by both battery and battalion commanders as a COP. It does not remain in the firing posit ion, and in most cases it is collocated with the COP of the supported manoeuvre unit commander. The artillery commander decides how to attack targets of opportunity and targets relayed to him by the supported manoeuvre unit. He is assisted by target acquisition, (manual) fire direction computation and communications personnel in the COP. The battery COP has radio links to battery firing positions and to the battalion COP. The battalion COP also has direct radio communications with battery firing positions.

ACRV M1974 (3) IV16 (Battalion Fire Direction Centre) functions as the battalion FDC and is manned by the battalion chief of staff, fire direction computation, and communications personnel. It most likely carries the one electronic field artillery computer available to each battalion Battery fire direction personnel probably will receive from the battalion FDC fully computed firing data that is ready to be passed to the SP howitzers.


I got my hands on a MMS ACRV (and I suspect it's an ACRV-1). Like all MMS kit, its a hefty beast that would break your toe if you accidently dropped it. Mine didn't come with a 12.7mm AA MG, so I added a 'spare' Liberation Dushka I happened to have lying around.


Same old same old....

I needed this for a command vehicle for a scenario I've written. It will basically (I imagine) be pretty much a large target for an SAS missile, rather than actually contributing much in the game. But that doesn't mean it can't look nice!

So without further ado - here's a couple of photos of my ACRV-1 or 2 or 3


Side shot


Top shot

Finally - here's the one youtube video clip I could find on the ACRV-1

have fun


08 August 2010


At the end of the 1960s, the Soviet Army started looking for a reconnaissance vehicle suited to the modern battlefield which could be fitted with extensive electronic reconnaissance equipment. Existing reconnaissance vehicles in the Soviet Army, such as the PT-76 amphibious light tank and the BRDM-2 amphibious armored scout car, were only equipped with standard vision devices. The BMP-1 was chosen as the platform for the new reconnaissance vehicle because it had an amphibious capability, good maneuverability, a powerful armament, a spacious hull and a NBC protection system.

The BRM-1 was fitted with an extra-wide, low-profile, two-man turret which was moved to the rear of the hull and without the M3 autoloader and the 9S428 (SAGGER) ATGM launcher (although some vehicles did have the ATGM launcher). There were also two small roof hatches, instead of four in the rear part of the hull.

A PSNR-5K (1RL-133-1) "Tall Mike" ground surveillance radar which can be extended over the roof of the turret from a rearward-opening hatch in the roof of the turret, a 1D8 laser rangefinder, a TNA-1 or TNA-3 gyroscopic navigation device with coordinates recorder and additional R-123M, R-130M, R-148 and R-014D radios are all fitted. Radio range is up to 50 km with the use of a standard 4 m whip antenna and up to 300 km with the use of the radio mast transported on the rear of the hull.

The PSNR-5K "Tall Mike" radar, which is operated by the commander, has two modes - terrain survey and target tracking. It can detect vehicles up to 7000 meters and personnel up to 2000 meters away and can be retracted into the turret when not in use. The doppler radar for range calculations was installed from 1993 onwards.

The crew was increased from 3 to 6 (commander and gunner who occupy the turret, driver and navigator who occupy the nose section of the hull and two observers who occupy the rear part of the hull).

One BRM-1 and three standard BMP-1 was assigned to each reconnaissance company of a Motorized Rifle Regiment or Tank Regiment. Three BRM-1 were assigned to the reconnaissance battalion of a MRD or TD.

Info from wikipedia BMP-1 variants and FM 100-2-3 "The Soviet Army - Troops, Organisation and Equipment"


This BRM-1 comes from MMS models (which I understand are about as rare as hen's teeth) is rather heavy and in my opinion is a great looking beast! I may need to find another one of these just for fun!


Nothing new to report here - painted exactly the same way as I paint all my Soviet armour.

Here's a couple of pics of the finished model.


You can see in both of these how far back, and how large, the turret is.


This one shows the two rear hatches well, the radio mast on the back of the BRM-1 below the log and the hatch on the turret where the "Tall Mike" radar can be raised.

No youtube clips this week - found nothing on the BRM-1.

Have fun


03 August 2010

Cold War Hot August Nights

First post for August will be more of a news post than anything else.

So far this year I've concentrated almost exclusively on getting as much done for my Cold war Hot project as I could. All good things have to come to an end though, or at least a temporary hold as other realities poke their ugly heads over the parapet. What I'm actually trying to say is that for the next couple of months things might get a little quieter around here as I have to concentrate on finishing some commissions in August, and then in September I have a large Flames of War tournament to help run.

I've tried to build up a bit of a buffer of things to write about so I'm hoping to still provide at least one update a week over that period focused on Cold War Hot. So basically I'm hoping you won't notice any difference, and could possibly have gotten away without even mentioning it!

In April I reviewed what the original scope of works would be for this project - which looked something like this:

Part 1 - Soviet Armour
Part 2 - Soviet Troops
Part 3 - 2 x RAF Harrier GR.3
Part 4 - RAF Ground Crew, RAF pilots, RAF Regiment
Part 5 - British Armour
Part 6 - 1980's British SAS
Part 7 - West German Armour
Part 8 - West German Troops

The aim was to have as much of this finished by August this year as I was hoping to have a Big Game on 21 August to coincide with the Guild Big Game in Ireland. Unfortunately, whilst the planning was starting to come together to sort this, the Federal Government decided to hold an national election that day - seriously stuffing up my plans (I'm sure they did it just to mess with me!)

So, I'm still hoping to have a Cold War Hot on that date - just a slightly smaller affair - so my August date for the Big Game has been pushed back until November some time.

Still I thought it would be worth reviewing where I've got to in my original timeframe.

My August Report

Part 1 - Soviet Armour - Finished Including four new things to be shown at a later date along with tank commanders! Also includes the MTLB and the ZSU-23-4.
Part 2 - Soviet Troops - Finished Okay - well I do actually have a couple of other troops but they're not necessary at the moment.
Part 3 - 2 x RAF Harrier GR.3 - Finished The second one will be shown later - I even got some Laser-Guided Bombs for it.
Part 4 - RAF Ground Crew, RAF pilots, RAF Regiment - Finished Actually I have a Squadron Leader and Quartermaster to finish but...
Part 5 - British Armour - Built only
Part 6 - 1980's British SAS - Finished
Part 7 - West German Armour - Finished All the built ones anyway
Part 8 - West German Troops - Finished Have some more Liberation West Germans to show at some point.

So all in all I'm pretty stoked with what I've been able to get through to this point. So I've been able to expand the scope a little to include:

Airpower - I'd like to do a Close Air Support fighter and attack helicopter for each nation.

Soviet - Su-25 Frogfoot & Mil-24 Hind D
German - Alpha Jet and MBB Bo-105
British - Jaguar and Lynx AH.1

So far I've built the ones in bold and own the ones in Italics - so I'm only missing the West German attack helo (to use the term loosely).

I've also sourced a few other bits and peices to add into the mix - but more on that later once it has been finalised.

So anyway - that's enough news for now so...

Have fun