Review Modelcollect 1/72 S-300PM

The S-300PS/S-300PM was introduced in 1985 and is the only version thought to have been fitted with a nuclear warhead. This model saw the introduction of the modern TEL (Transporter Erector Launcher) and mobile radar and command-post vehicles that were all based on the MAZ-7910 8 × 8 truck. This model also featured the new 5V55R missiles which increased maximum engagement range to 90 km (56 mi) and introduced a terminal semi-active radar homing (SARH) guidance mode. Also introduced with this version was the distinction between self-propelled and towed TELs. The towed TEL is designated 5P85T. Mobile TELs were the 5P85S and 5P85D. The 5P85D was a “slave” TEL, being controlled by a 5P85S “master” TEL. The “master” TEL is identifiable thanks to the large equipment container behind the cabin; in the “slave” TEL this area is not enclosed and is used for cable or spare tyre storage. This review is of the slave 5P85D.

The next modernisation, called the S-300PMU was introduced in 1992 for the export market and featured the upgraded 5V55U missile which still utilised the intermediate SARH terminal guidance method and smaller warhead of the 5V55R but increased the engagement envelope to give this missile roughly the same range and altitude capabilities as the newer 48N6 missile (max. range 150 km/93 mi). The radars were also upgraded, with the surveillance radar for the S-300PMU being designated 64N6 (BIG BIRD) and the illumination and guidance radar being designated 30N6-1 in the GRAU index. S-300P total produced: 3000 launchers, 28,000 missiles for the S-300P.

In plastic this kit was first produced in 1/72 by PST about 10 years ago and recently re-released. This kit has a lot fewer parts than the Modelcollect kit and certainly looks to be a more basic kit. There are also a few 1/72 snap-tite kits from 4D Puzzle Model too. W-Model released the only 1/35 kit I can find about 4 years ago as well. Trumpeter have announced they will be releasing a 1/35 kit in the near future.

The box is a very sturdy top opening box. The box bottom is made of thin corrugated cardboard which makes it tougher than most. The contents are bagged with the plastic sprues in two resealable bags and all the other items bagged separately. The box contains:

  • 9 plastic sprues (329 parts)
  • 1 clear sprue (9 parts)
  • 1 separate part (cab)
  • 9 rubber wheels
  • 1 decal sheet
  • 2 PE sprues (29 parts)

The instructions are printed on a 16 page glossy paper A4/Letter sized booklet. It starts with an overview of the subject and the usual safety and icon explanations. Page 2 shows the layout of the sprues and other parts. The step 1 starts on the next page with a nicely detailed engine and transmission parts being assembled. The engine itself is made from 15 parts. Step 2 puts more  transmission parts together and the main chassis of the vehicle is pulled together in step 3. Step 4 looks like it assembles wheel hubs and brake parts before they get added to the chassis in step 5. Step 6 makes more components that get added in step 7/ Step 8 adds hubs to the rubber wheels and adds then to the kit, although I’d probably leave the wheels off for now unless I’m painting as I go along. Step 9 adds the bed to the back of the vehicle including the hydraulic ram that raises and lowers the missiles. I can’t see any mention of whether the kit can be built with the missiles raised; I hope they can. Step 10 adds fenders and mudguards. Step 11 moves onto building the start of the missile platform and adds them in step 12. Step 13 makes the missile launch pillars and they are added in step 14. Step 15 makes the missile control boxes and they are added to the vehicle in step 16. The trend seems to be to make smaller components in one step and add them to the vehicle in the next step. Step 17 makes some parts for storage behind the cab, and they are added in step 18. Step 19 adds railings to this same area. In step 20 we start adding parts to what will become the cab interior. Step 21 adds parts to the ab exterior with step 22 adding a PE grill in front of the engine radiator and fans. Step 23 adds the cab and step 24 adds a part under the engine. Steps 25 and 26 make the missiles and puts them in their protective launch tubes. I’d be tempted to leave one tube open at least. If a missile is in a tube there’s no way to see it. Step 27 adds the missiles inside their tubes to the vehicle, and we’re done. The steps are are clearly drawn and nicely sized and shouldn’t present any problems.

The last 4 pages are painting guides with the colours called out in Ammo colours. The units are not identified, but they all have red stars on the cab doors. The decal sheet contains a lot more decals than you will need if you’re only going to do one of the supplied options. There are also 2 pairs of Arabic number plates , 2 ‘581’ numbers and 2 sets of 0 to 9 numbers. If you do a little research you can probably make quite a few options in different paint schemes.
Plastic – level of detail,
Paint call outs manufacturers
Do partial build of the big bits. Not enough to ruin building it later, but a check of the fit of the main parts.
Decal options
Video: INtro, opening of box, go through instructions step by step with photos of main parts in each step.

Paul Tosney – Editor
ModelBuilder International

Paul Tosney

Paul has been with Model Builder International since almost the beginning. He started building models as a boy, and took a hiatus, but started building again a few years ago. He builds pretty much anything, but mostly WW2, with a smattering of modern and the occasional SciFi model.


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