Home > Reviews > Russia > Trumpeter 1/35 scale Kit No. 01025; Russian 9P113 TEL w/9M21Rocket of 9K52 Luna-M Short-range artillery rocket system (FROG-7)

Russian 9P113 TEL w/9M21Rocket of 9K52 Luna-M Short-range artillery rocket system (FROG-7)

Trumpeter, 1/35 scale

Reviewed by Cookie Sewell

Summary

Stock No.

Trumpeter 1/35 scale Kit No. 01025; Russian 9P113 TEL w/9M21Rocket of 9K52 Luna-M Short-range artillery rocket system (FROG-7)

Contents and Media:

983 parts (774 in grey styrene, 182 etched brass, 18 clear styrene, 8 black vinyl, 1 length of nylon cord)

Price:

US$148 - $170

Scale:

1/35

Review Type:

First Look

Advantages:

First model of this vehicle in this scale in styrene; many options to the kit including road march order or firing order; choice of air brakes or no air brakes.

Disadvantages:

Not one single hydraulic or electrical cable included in the kit!

Recommendation:

Highly Recommendedfor all Cold War and Soviet military rocket/missile/artillery fans.


FirstLook

One of the stalwart weapons used by the Soviets during the Cold War was the heavy battlefield rocket system that provided a long-range rocket fitted with a number of nuclear warhead options for use as division level nuclear fire support. NATO dubbed them “Free Rocket Over Ground” systems or FROG for short. They started with the “Filin” (FROG-1) and proceeded through the “Mars” (FROG-2) to “Luna” (FROG-3/4/5) and then “Luna-M” (FROG-7).

There were three basic components: the 9M21 rocket, a 554mm solid-fuel rocket; the 9P113 transporter/erector/launcher or TEL mounted on the ZIL-135LTM 8 x 8 chassis; and the 9T29 transporter carrying three ready-to-load rockets, also on the ZIL-135 chassis.

The rocket had a range envelope of 12 to 70 kilometers in two range bands: 12 to 29 kilometers, controlled by the use of an air brake bolted to the rear of the rocket (S.T.Shch. mode in Russian); and 25 to 70 kilometers without the use of the air brakes (B.T.Shch.). Initially the rocket had options of five warheads - 5 kt, 10 kt, and 100 kt nuclear ones, a chemical one, and a 450 kilogram HE warhead. Later it changed to two new design nuclear warheads of 10 kt and 200 kt, the HE warhead, and a cluster warhead carrying 22 x 122mm artillery projectiles.

The truck chassis was unique: powered by twin 180 HP gasoline engines, each engine only drove the four wheels on its side of the chassis! The truck could be driven with only one engine running, but only those four wheels had power. It was fitted with a hydraulic crane for transloading rockets from the transporter with a capacity of some 2500 kilograms.

The launcher crew was seven but only three could ride in the cab. Launch was effected by aiming the rocket with artillery sights and stakes and could then be fired either from inside the cab or remotely. When launched a large number of small booster rockets fired along with the main engine to get the rocket up to speed, and after it cleared the launcher beam four more imparted spin to the rocket for stability.

FROG-7 units were organized into battalions of four launchers each, usually in two batteries of two each with a service battery for resupply. Launchers would deploy about 1/3 of maximum range behind the line of contact, with 20 kilometers being the norm. Safety ranges were 1800 meters for the 10 kt warhead and 18,000 for the 200 kt, so a minimum target range would be about 38,000 meters from the launcher.

After its widespread introduction in 1965, the Soviet Army fielded at least 80 battalions of FROG-7s or around 320 active duty launchers, plus all of the Warsaw Pact allies purchased the system as well. As a result there were 80 Soviet launchers and 24 East German ones in East Germany (GSFG) in 1980.

The FROG-7 began to leave Soviet service in 1980 with the introduction of the 9M79 “Tochka” (SS-21 SCARAB) missile system which was a guided weapon with greater accuracy and longer range - 90-110 kilometers in its initial version. But they remain with many third-world countries and were used by Iraq as late as 2003.

Up until this time only the FROG-2 had come out as a styrene kit (from ITC in 1958) and a similar vintage toylike FROG-1 launcher from Imai about the same time. Trumpeter has now delivered a yeoman duty kit of this widespread rocket system and provided it with a wide variety of options. These include positionable cab doors, a removable engine bay cover, a moveable transloading crane, and a moveable missile launch beam with support brace. Jacks may be assembled up or down, the servicing platforms are moveable and the blast shield can be fixed in launch mode with some work.

But the FROG-7 is loaded with tons of cables and hydraulic lines, and while some of the joints and valves are present Trumpeter has not provided a single cable or line for the model!! These are most conspicuous in their absence on the transloading crane as well as the engine bay and other areas. (Note: I have drafted an article for the AMPS “Boresight” magazine with 56 photos of a walkaround of an ex-Iraqi FROG-7 TEL. Since the export and domestic versions were virtually identical, this should be a help to anyone wanting to detail the launcher up right.)

Construction starts with the zig-zag frame bracing of the chassis and progresses into chassis details. Each side frame rail has the drive line mounted to it, faithful to the original, and then the chassis is assembled in Step 4. Torsion bars and suspension are then added to the outside of the rails.

Launcher assembly begins with Step 7 and the rear of the chassis with the service platforms and jack installation. Engines follow in Step 8 and then installation in the chassis. These are followed by the fenders and launcher rotating base. Tires and wheels come in Step 12 as well as the central chassis grating. Tool and accessory bins are added and cab construction follows in Step 13 with the very busy dashboard. The interior includes pedals and other controls, but as the suspension and driveline are controlled from the dashboard only a shift lever is needed. Oddly enough none of the cab interior roof mounted equipment is provided nor the cab rear panel details (such as two 20 liter jerry cans).

Windows cement in from the outside, and are also provided with masks for painting the external parts of the vehicle. Step 18 covers the engine cowling and twin radiator shroud assemblies, and then more details such as the missile lifting strongback (part J9 with etched brass details). The crane follows in Step 20 and can be left free to lift and rotate.

Step 22 covers the crane operator’s position and two spare 20 litre jerry cans (there appear to be six carried with two in the cab as noted and two on the opposite side from the operator’s platform). Step 23 covers the remote firing cable storage spool (no cable included) and construction of the launcher beam begins in Step 24. Note that there are three guide rails on the beam; the actual beam is open underneath but Trumpeter provides it as covered. Rocket construction starts next with a choice of either air brakes (use part K4 as provided) or no air brakes (cut the shields off part K4). PE-B3 and PE-B4 with parts H2 are the hold-down straps for travel, so they need to be left off if the rocket is in firing mode.

Eight different finishing options are included: two are listed as Russia but I am not sure where they would be, considering most FROG-7s went out of service in the 1980s! One is for a Soviet launcher in service with small red stars; another is in parade marking with red and white trim and Guards badges. One is North Korean with a flag, another is NVA with the East German insignia in four places, one is Iraqi in grey-sand paint scheme and the last is check. Detailed markings are provided for a Soviet 9M21 rocket with the 9M21B nuclear warhead and sub-component indicator labels as well as lifting stripes. (They even indicate the rocket is a 1982 production rocket that is some 3.8 kilograms below normal weights!)

Overall this is a great effort; when it comes to items left off I prefer “sins of omission” to “sins of commission” as they are easier to add than remove.



Sprue Layout

A 53x4 Wheels, suspension details, cab details, engine valve covers
B 79x2 Engines, engine accessories, engine bay details
C 28 Frame rails, radiator shrouds, cab details, drive shafts
D 62 Cab details, front, fenders, engine headers, exhausts, details
E 41 Frame braces, cross-braces, details
F 1 Mid-frame grating complex
GP 18 Clear styrene
H 36x2 Jacks, detail parts
J 25 Rocket body, fenders, elevation brace
K 36 Launcher rail, transfer crane, air brakes
L 137 Launcher controls, launcher assembly details
1 Cab
1 Engine cowling
1 Nylon string
8 Black vinyl tires
PE-A 21 Etched brass
PE-B 62 Etched brass
PE-C 99 Etched brass
9 Window masks