4D Puzzle Model

S-300 PMU/2, 30N6E2 "Flap Top B"

Kit #:
Preview by Peter van Kempen
- P(dot)Kempen5(at)chello(dot)nl

Edited by Rob Haelterman

Preliminary remark:
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.


The kit

This 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.

Assessing 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 all.
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.



There’s 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.

Review model bought (and successfully assembled in 15 minutes) by the author.

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Article Last Updated: 27 February 2016