by: Gino P. Quintiliani [ ]
"The GAZ-69 is a four wheel drive light truck, produced by GAZ (ГАЗ, or Gorkovskij Awtomobilnyj Zavod) between 1953 and 1955. From 1954 until 1972, it was produced by UAZ, as the UAZ-69, though they were commonly known as GAZ-69s as well. The GAZ-69 was the basic light off-road vehicle of the Soviet Army, replacing GAZ-67s and Lend/Lease BRC-40s and Willys Jeeps. It was also used as the basis for the 2P26 anti-tank system.
The 2P26 anti-tank system was based on the unarmored GAZ-69 light truck - with 4 launch rails containing 3M6 Shmel missiles, NATO designation AT-1 Snapper, pointing backwards. It entered service in 1960. These vehicles were deployed in anti-tank batteries attached to motor rifle regiments. Each battery had three platoons each with three launch vehicles and a single command BRDM. The missile is guided to the target by means of a joystick; this requires some skill on the part of the operator. The operator’s adjustments are transmitted to the missile via a thin wire that trails behind the missile. The missiles are steered by an unconventional arrangement of vibrating spoilers.
One problem with the missile is the amount of time it takes to reach maximum range—around twenty seconds—giving the intended target time to take action, either by retreating behind an obstacle, laying down a smoke screen or firing on the operator. Also the large size of the missile means that that only a few rounds can be carried. The 3M6 Shmel missile was based on the western ATGMs of the time such as the Nord Aviation SS.10, however it is considerably larger. It was developed by the Special Mortar Design Bureau (SKB Gladkostvolnoi artillerii) in Kolomna. Development of the missile proceeded rapidly, the first unguided flights in April 1958 followed by controlled flights in June and July 1958. On 28 August 1959, new technology was shown to the command of armed forces. On 1 August 1960 it was accepted into the service. It was first publicly displayed in 1963.
The Gaz-69 2P26 “Baby Carriage” has been used by most Soviet Block and Soviet Sponsor states since the early 1960s. It was used by Egyptian forces during the 1967 Six Day War and Attrition War from 1969. Few were used with only one tank loss attributed to the system. The hit probability for the system is estimated to have been 25% in combat."
Bronco, in a joint venture with SKP Model, have brought us this unique vehicle in 1/35 scale. The sturdy cardboard box contains 11 main sprues in light gray plastic; a small decal sheet of markings for 1 vehicle and a larger sheet of stencils and placards; 1 medium-sized PE fret; and a sprue of clear parts. All the above items are individually bagged to keep them from being damaged during shipping. The multi-fold, 24 step instruction manual and a two-sided, color Paint & Markings guide for 2 vehicle options (1 without markings and both in Russian Green) round out the box.
The instructions are clearly written and have good illustrations for parts placement location. The assembly steps follow a logical sequence of the frame; suspension and drive train; fuel tank, battery box, and storage boxes and other small items attached to the frame; wheels and tires; cargo bed; cab, and finally bringing them all together into the final assembly of the truck. There is also paint colors called out throughout the assembly, and decals called for. The decals look to be in perfect register with very thin film. 2 marking options are given for unidentified Russian Green vehicles.
Another nice feature is that there are 2 options for tires given; a standard uni-directional tread pattern and a more aggressive off-road pattern. Both wheel types are given as complete tires and wheels (five each including spares); meaning you get two complete wheel sets in the kit, very nice.
The individual parts on the sprues look to be sharply molded and free of any flash. The two larger sprues consist of suspension, frame, and body parts. There are also four smaller sprues which hold the wheel parts and smaller items. Four sprues hold the missile launcher and rear bed parts. One sprue for an excellent, complete engine, and one sprue of clear parts for the windshield and doors.
The PE fret is small, but very nice. It includes parts for the basic truck to include a radiator fan, side steps, rear bumperettes, and some smaller items.
The plastic tires (two complete sets, as mentioned above) are well molded and represent the originals well. The uni-directional set does not have any lettering on the side walls, but this was common for Russian tires. The off-road set does include fine writing on the side walls and stiffening ribs. Both sets of rims are very nicely molded and include valve stems on them. I don’t know which is more accurate, but most pictures I have seen of the vehicle have the uni-directional tires.
The frame and running gear detail looks very good. It looks as though all the individual parts and pieces such as the gear box, transmission, transfer case, etc are represented. Shock absorbers, leaf springs, and other suspension parts are well molded as well. The bolts and fittings for the frame are crisp and present too. The cab and its fittings are also well done. The engine and running gear are very detailed and complete, resulting in a very nice model.
The interior details are also well represented. All levers and control mechanisms for the missiles are present, along with the basics for the truck. The launcher control parts are very nice and options for the right side seat to be in the firing or driving position is also present. All the dials on the instrument panel are represented with decals, along with decals for various data plates and placards throughout.
The missile launcher and missiles are very nicely molded. The unit has hoses and wires as separate plastic items. All the hoses and smaller parts appear to be present. The details on the launcher assembly and the missiles are fine and clearly molded.
It also has a very detailed bow system for over the missile launcher assembly. It can be built in either the up or down position.
Bronco and SKP teamed up to deliver a great kit of this interesting, little known Soviet vehicle. Molding is crisp, details are very good especially on the missile launcher and cab. The little extra details will make this kit stand out and comes highly recommended.