The 9K33 Osa (NATO reporting name SA-8 Gecko) is a highly mobile, low-altitude, short-range tactical surface-to-air missile system developed in the Soviet Union in the 1960s and fielded in 1972. It was the first mobile air defense missile system incorporating its own engagement radars on a single vehicle.
Trumpeter released their 1/35 scale Russian SA-8 Gecko as a plastic kit in 2015. Along with the older resin offering from Tank Mania, this is still the only game in town for all those interested in building the vehicle in 1/35 scale. Other than the resin wheel set from MiniArm, there are no upgrade sets for Trumpeter's kit available on the market today. Therefore, all the modelers building this vehicle and wanting to improve their models with additional details are in dire need of high quality reference images of the vehicle. Enter Wings & Wheels Publications with their recent photo reference title: SA-8 Gecko in Detail (G061).
I got the SA-8 Gecko in Detail at a modeling show directly from the WWP stand. I flipped through the pages and was impressed with just about every aspect of the book, from the layout and the large photos showing the vehicle in great depth, to the interesting information provided in image captions. But… let’s start with the basic facts:
• Title: SA-8 Gecko in Detail – Russian Amphibious AA System 9K33 OSA
• Publisher: Wings & Wheels Publications (WWP)
• Code: G061
• Authors: Jan Horák & František Kořán
• Format: softcover (22x24 cm)
• Pages: 120
• Color: full color
• Language: English
• ISBN: 978-80-87509-73-9
• Retail Price: $39 (€31)
The book follows the same format as all the other WWP titles, making it a very welcomed addition to my modeling book library.
The book comprises of 120 pages with over 450 high-resolution images of vehicles photographed on military training grounds and in military museums. The book is organized in 5 main chapters, color coded on page edges for easier navigation. The chapters are:
• Introduction (002-007)
• Launcher Vehicle Walkaround (008-079)
• Launcher Vehicle Interior (080-099)
• Reloading Vehicle Walkaround (100-107)
• Reloading Vehicle Interior (108-120)
The Introduction briefly outlines the origins of the 9K33 OSA anti-aircraft system (SA-8 Gecko) and provides technical characteristics of the vehicle. Launcher Vehicle Walkaround chapter starts with several pages showing the complete vehicle from several different angles. And then the book delves into details… the coverage of every single aspect of the system is incredibly extensive, from the hull details, wheels and axles, gas turbine, engine and generator compartment, to radar and firing system details, missile containers and the 9M33M missile itself... it’s all there. Next up is the Launcher Vehicle Interior, which shows the front compartment, as well as the details of radar and firing system operator’s compartment with all the complex electronic panels. If there are modelers interested in scratchbuilding the interior, these photos will prove a vital asset. The Reloading Vehicle Walkaround chapter displays the vehicle with the cargo space for storing 12 containerized missiles and the hydraulic crane. This vehicle is not available as a model kit, but some modelers might be interested in modifying the launcher vehicle. Finally, Reloading Vehicle Interior concludes the book, showing a slightly different crew compartment, as well as the lifting crane, gearbox and container racks.
The number of photos and diagrams provided in the book is overwhelming… I’m sure even the most die-hard modelers and vehicle enthusiasts would be more than happy with this title, as the authors left no stone unturned, displaying just about every detail of the SA-8 Gecko. Very impressive! Along with the superb images throughout the book, I have to compliment the image captions. These offer a very engaging read, briefly explaining the details shown on the photos. Altogether, this book is a very enjoyable symbiosis of high-quality large photos depicting the 9K33 OSA, and concise but interesting info on the vehicle.
SA-8 in Detail from WWP is an absolute must for anyone interested in Russian anti-aircraft vehicles and a valued companion to anyone building the Trumpeter kit.
Super highly recommended.