The box top mentions "30N6E2", which in NATO parlance should
be a "Tomb Stone". The kit contains parts that would more
close correspond to a 30N6E
"Flap Lid B" however.
time, I bring you a review of a "toy" kit company by the
name of 4D Puzzle Model from the People Republic of China (PRC).
Following a tip of fellow modellers on Missing Lynx "Braille
Scale" message board, who noted its availability for only 10
Euros on the net, I decided to buy it just to see what it was about.
I occasionally buy kits of military vehicles to compare to my collection
when they are curiosities, and I believed this "toy" would
be another one.
But, no! Once ordered through E-bay, where you could choose from the
green spotted (Russia) or blue spotted (PRC) versions, this "toy"
proved to be more than that.
The 1/72 scale "Puzzle Model" delivers a very acceptable
rendition of an S-300 PMU/2, 30N6E2 "Flap Lid" radar vehicle
on a MAZ 7910 8X8 chassis.
This version is used for guiding and commanding batteries of S-300
AA rocket launching systems, primary in the air defence inventory
of Eastern European, Chinese and Russian armies.
My collection lacked this version, even though I had the PMT S-300
5P85S "master " (with an equipment container behind the
cabin) from PST and this is a good companion for a very modest price.
Note that it was shipped all the way from PRC to my house in the Netherlands
for those 10 Euros! The dispatch of this 4D Kit was from a dispatcher’s
location described as: 186 Jiushuidong Rd, PLA Hospital, Li Cang Qingdao,
266100, China and even a telephone number is quoted. Sent as a gift
at the cost of 4 Dollars after my order around December 6th, it arrived
within 3 weeks’ time. I’ve seen delivery taking much more
time from other locations on this globe! The photo shows how the sender
has redone the box for shipment by turning it inside out and using
the blank paper to attach all stamps and address. The kit was clearly
partly assembled to eliminate weight by taking out some sprues and
filling up components of the vehicle body with the small parts that
were taken out. A small, handwritten note pointed this out, so I could
locate them again. The box was then cut off to reduce weight even
further and together with a very clear instruction sheet packed up
again. This means that the box itself is not complete anymore. I show
the side and for the article the front page of the manual. This shows
all the company details and Chinese characters as on the box. The
next picture shows the arrival state after unpacking and with notes
attached. All that work for the 6 Euros that are left for the product
after deduction of the postage! I noticed that it was sent by airmail,
weighing 170 grams and this already cost 4 USD. So to earn some money
on the deal this weight reduction and repacking obviously is worthwhile,
despite the labour involved.
I wonder, could this reference to "PLA Hospital" in the
origination details be a kind of invalide home where such activities
are done for kit producers such as 4D Kit Model, to raise some money
and keep invalid people at work? (Ed. Note: PLA might actually stand
for People’s Liberation Army.) Whatever, the package approach
and economics surprised me and after some stress, not believing that
actually all was there for a 1/72 kit, I found all was complete. I
have photographed the sprue layout on the extra, well edited and clear
instruction sheet and the parts in the arrangement. It took me some
moments to understand that the rubber wheels themselves on the sprue
were already completed with the hubs and plugs; this explained some
missing parts on the sprues in the picture.
To compare the wheels, I got my PST kit out and checked. It is clear
that the Puzzle kit’s total wheel diameter (19.6 mm) is small
compared to 20.9 mms of the items in PST’s SAM S300 Grumble
kit. I converted PST’s wheels into a 1/1 diameter of 150.5 cms,
but can’t find any dimensions anywhere of the real thing or
how they should look like. (Who knows more?)
Comparing the wheel hubs, excluding of the tyre itself, is more difficult,
because Puzzle Model have the outer part of the hub/tyre rim moulded
as a part inside the rubber tyre and the inner (plastic) hub part
only fills it up so you need to measure both the hub section on the
rubber part and the inserted hard plastic together. The result is
11 mms for the Puzzle Model against the 10.9 mms measured for the
complete plastic PST item. What the truth is, I do not know, because
once more I lack real wheel dimensions of these MAZ -7910 8x8 trucks.
Sure though, the Puzzle Model vehicle height is influenced by this
and will stand 1.3 mms low.
There is a detail kit available for better detailed, resin casted
wheels under a MAZ 8x8 vehicle, by Armory. This may be a solution
for those of you who can’t stand any inaccuracies in their models.
Apart from the cost, which is equal or more than the whole Puzzle
kit, I cannot confirm if these are also good for the MAZ 7910 truck
that carried the SA-300 systems (NATO code "Grumble")
when issued around 1985. Personally, I suffer less from that aversion
as long as it more or less looks like the vehicle, (and this one does!).
That’s my credo, but tastes do differ.
The width was fully comparable to the PST kit. The width for a rocket
carrying vehicle, 3.15m) would be 43.7 mms in 1/72. Puzzle Model comes
out at 41mm. Notice that different vehicle type can give these differences.
The height of a real vehicle is given as 3.8 meters (52.77 mm in 1/72).
PST I could not measure because I had not built it yet, but the Puzzle
"Flap Lid" model was 52 mm at the maximum cabin height.
Meanwhile I bought the Puzzle Model SA 300 5P85D "slave"
version and this measured 54 mm in height over the rocket tubes, which
is good for me.
the scale length for two versions of this vehicle is even more difficult:
for a "Grumble" model with overhanging rocket pods the
overall length was given as 13.5 meters, which is 18.75 cm for the
rocket carrier version. Puzzle Model comes out longer at 20.5 cm,
but I noticed that the overhang of the back situated command structure
is much bigger than the launcher, so that could very well be ok. Later
I bought and assembled the missile launcher from Puzzle Model and
this measured 18.6cm, which is not far off with respect to scale at
Besides, what I did do, to assess if we are dealing with a well scaled
MAZ-7910 8x8 chassis common to all carriers of these variants, is
putting the PST parts with the axle interspacing stubs next to the
Puzzle parts (photo) and that’s a 100% perfect match. The pictures
also show that the widest parts for PST are 100% the same size as
the cabins on the Flap Lid version. On top of all that I took the
door unit from PST and compared it to exactly the same part found
in the Puzzle Model kit and yessss: the photo shows that they are
exactly the same. It is not a knock off from PST however, because
the sprue layout is totally different. (Check the parts and sprue
layout photographs.) So, for the moment, I feel good about the scale
of the Puzzle Model kit, apart from the wheel dimensions, although
much better informed people can still prove me wrong. After collecting
all parts and lining them up, it took 15 minutes and no glue to puzzle
all of them together into a nice representation of a Flap Lid radar
vehicle on a MAZ 7910 8x8 chassis. You get to choose between a radar
in elevated position and a lowered one, and the radar housing can
actually rotate. The two pictures show the model in this state and
although by no means ultimate in detail , and certainly leaving space
for improvements, these kits can quickly be added to your collection
of 1/72 vehicles.
I bought the S-300 5P85D "slave" vehicle as I had the
5P85S "master" version from PST, only to find that from
the Puzzle Model kit, actually both versions can be made, so you get
spare parts, according to the version you build. Some of you might
want to invest another 10 bucks in another one from Puzzle models
as I did, to convert more vehicles used on the MAZ chassis, as it
served as a command centre and a heavy lorry as well, and pictures
of those are easy to come by.
potential here if you add windows, do some detailing and solve the
wheel problem, possibly with resin aftermarket items.
I’d say, take the plunge and buy one. It’s a good deal
and an acceptable model that can quickly add some Soviet technology
to your shelves or to do all the conversion for which the PST kit
is too expensive.
model bought (and successfully assembled in 15 minutes) by the author.