The S-300 Air Defence System (NATO code name SA-10 Grumble)
The S-300 or SA-10 Grumble is a Russian Air Defense System. What the system is precisely made out of depends on the operator but usually there is an acquisition radar, antenna, communications station, missile launch system and of course the missile itself. In case of the S-300 it a very successful system not only against aircraft but also against cruise and ballistic missiles. The big question/challenge these days is can it work against stealth aircraft? Shooting down a fighter or bomber aircraft is very difficult because they are fast, agile and in case of stealth aircraft also difficult to track down. All parts of the S-300 system are made in a mobile version, so it doesn't require large radars in fixed positions that can easily be taken out. In the video below the deployment of the system. The missile's are first popped out of there transport and launch tube's and then ignited. Igniting them in the tube itself will melt the tube. Note the different radars and launch vehicles used.
A small film on how to attack an Air Defense System. It clearly shows that just having the best system, aircraft, radar or whatever in it self doesn't count. All parts have to cooperate in a very good manor to make an air strike or the defense against it succeed.
The PST kits
Several parts of the system have been recreated in 1/72 scale by PST and recently by Modelcollect also. PST created the following kits, all based on the MAZ truck:
- 72050: 5P85S, the 'smart' or 'master' launcher system (TEL). The construction behind the driver cabin houses a receiver for signals from the command center and a broadcaster to pass these signals on to other launchers and missiles.
- 72055: 5P85D, the 'dum' or 'slave' launcher system (TEL). This is the same vehicle as the 5P85S but it doesn't have a receiver and electronics to communicate with the command center. It receives signals from the smart launcher and passes them on the the missile.
- 72060: The radar, mounted on the MAZ truck as well.
- 72070: 15V148 commandpost
Strong points of this model kit are the inclusion of a sprue with clear parts, not only for the windows but also headlights, a full in complement of missiles and a good fit of parts. On my model the drivers cabin doesn't sit quite right but I think it because I misaligned the right side of the cabin. The model has 100 parts for the truck, an additional 40 for the wheels and 60 for the launch tubes and missiles so that is quite an impressive part count. The wheels appear to be a bit bulbous and seem to have a simplified thread pattern but this is mostly authentic actually.
This specific launcher is used by a myriad of countries around the world for 3 decades so there is a large variety of colors to choose from. Here are some examples:
I chose a elaborate scheme from a Slovakian vehicle for my model:
This kit is priced at the same price as the recent Modelcollect offerings so I think most modelers will go for that kit. For it's time it is probably a good kit and it still looks quite good for today's standards. I had a lot of fun building it, several things of what I thought where simplifications turned out to be right when I saw the video of the S-300 launch.