Home > Reviews > Modern > Trumpeter 1/35 scale Russian SAM-6 Antiaircraft Missile (00361)

Russian SAM-6 Anti-Aircraft Missile

by Cookie Sewell


Stock Number and Description Trumpeter 1/35 Scale Kit No. 00361; Russian SAM-6 Anti-Aircraft Missile
Scale: 1/35
Media and Contents: 321 parts (304 in grey styrene, 12 etched brass, 2 steel springs, 1 section large vinyl hose, 1 section small vinyl hose, 1 section twisted copper wire)
Price: retail price US $24.95
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: First kit of this vehicle in styrene; nicely done parts breakdown permits a number of detailing options
Disadvantages: Missiles are out of proportion
Recommendation: Recommended for all Soviet equipment fans and air defenders



In 1958 the Soviet Union began work on an overlapping and interlocking system of air defense for their motorized rifle and tank divisions. Each project received a covername, and the one chosen for the division level missile system was "Kub" cube. (The Army level one was the 3M8 "Krug" circle which became known in the West as the SA-4 GANEF when it came into service.) The system was designed by OKB-15 under V. V. Tikhomirov. Testing began in 1961 but was unsatisfactory, and it was not until 1967 that the system was accepted for service. The missile was dubbed the 3M9, and the launcher, based on a GM-578 chassis, was dubbed the 2P25. NATO dubbed the new system the SA-6 GAINFUL.

The missile system was fielded in regiments of 20 launchers each, divided up into five batteries of four launchers and a 1S91 radar system each. The 1S91 (dubbed STRAIGHT FLUSH by NATO) was data-linked to each of the launchers, and controlled both their launches and the missiles themselves once in the air. The original missiles had an engagement envelope of 6-12 kilometers. Later, as the system evolved, a new missile was designed, the 3M9M, which had a much broader envelope 4-25 kilometers.

The missile itself was unique it used a solid-propellant booster to launch the missile, but then had a solid-fuel ramjet engine for its sustainer. This was fed by four intakes located around the missile airframe and was controlled by the rear set of fins. The missile had a 57 kilogram warhead and was very dangerous to modern aircraft, as the Israelis found out to their detriment during the 1973 Yom Kippur war when the Egyptians claimed to have shot down 63 aircraft with the 3M9.

Eventually more than seven versions of the 3M9 missile were built and sold abroad under the covername "Kvadrat" (square) to 25 different nations. More than 500 launcher systems were built.

All 3M9 missiles shared the same dimensions, and only minor external differences provided any clue to which version of the missile was being used. Later, the new SA-11 missile replaced the SA-6 and the launchers were modified to fire that missile in place of the 3M9.

The SA-6 has been a popular subject for a number of years, and at least three different resin conversion kits for the DML ZSU-23-4 (on the closely related GM-575 chassis) were offered over the years. Now Trumpeter is the first company to offer the 2P25 series launcher as a kit and it is quite impressive.

The model is designed for modelers who love to detail as it comes with most of the top panels and hatches as separate items, and also comes with the more popular "link and length" track set with only 33 parts required to install the complete track run on each side. Detail is excellent and matches up well with an Iraqi 2P25 "Kvadrat" launcher belonging to the ADA Museum at Fort Bliss, Texas. There are some minor detail differences; however, as there were four different SA-6 launchers produced (called 2P25, 2P25M, 2P25M1, and 2P25M2 by the Soviets) there is no really good way to say which specific version was used.

Alas, the same cannot be said of the missiles. Comparing them with notes and Russian books on the 3M9, the missiles provided with the kit intend to represent a 3M9M or later variant. The difference is that the 3M9 had mass balances on the forward fins and the 3M9M has them on the tips of the rear ones. That being said, the dimensions on the missile are not right when compared with Russian sources:

Measurement Source Data 1/35 Scale Kit Dimensions

     Length        5840mm      166.8mm     172mm
     Diameter      330 mm      9.4mm        8.0mm
     Wing span     928mm      26.5mm      32.0mm
     Fin span      1200mm      34.3mm      36.4mm

The overall effect is of a very skinny missile that does not look right. This is unfortunate as the launcher is close to spot on, and it is unknown if the Chinese used dummy or "parade" missiles instead of the normal 3M9M missiles for their measurements. My best suggestion is to simply remove 5mm from the airframe in front of the ramjet intakes and let it go; if not, you will have to scratchbuild all of the airfoils to get the shapes right as there is no way to simply trim off 1-3mm from the back end and have them look right.

The model comes with a nice color broadside covering three different launchers: one Polish, one Czech and one DDR. Markings are also included for a Soviet one with Guards badges but no information is provided for colors or locations.

The directions are an interesting adventure in themselves, as the authors are obviously English as a Second Language writers. On the launch rail assembly (Step 14) which is called "Launch Pad Assembly" they cite six parts as "Early"; what the authors meant was "Assemble these parts first." Other interesting turns of phrase included Step 12, "Guided Bomb Assembly" (the missiles), Step 17, "Immobility Rack Assembly" (travel lock), Step 18 "Attaching Transport State" (missiles in travel position) and 19 and 20 "Attaching Transport/Launching State Handrail" (missile protective guards in transport and firing positions.) It could have been worse, but it does remind me of Japanese motorcycle directions of 40 years ago ("For vibrating of front wheel please to be turning the handle dumper" being my favorite.)

Overall this is a nice kit, but it's a shame that the focal point the missiles are off the mark. Hopefully they will also release the impressive 1S91 (STRAIGHT FLUSH) to go with it.


Thanks to Steve Zaloga for the review sample.

Text and Images by Cookie Sewell
Page Created 08 March, 2006
Page Last Updated 24 March, 2006