The TOR-M2 anti aircraft missile system (NATO designation SA-15 Gauntlet), is designed to combat air attacks in low/medium altitude, and short range in all weather conditions. The first version (M1) of the system was adopted by the Soviet army in 1986. Since 2008 the upgraded TOR-M2 has been in service. It is capable of engaging all enemy aircraft (including stealth), helicopters and cruise missiles and UAV,s. The TOR-M2 is capable of non-stop firing, while moving into different positions. The main unit if the system is the combat vehicle on a tracked chassis, armed with 16 medium sized air defence missiles, 9M 338 and having its own target and acquisition system. Enemy aircraft can be hit up to a range of 16Kms and altitude of up to 10Kms.
This offering from Zvezda of the TOR-M2 is packaged in a cardboard tray, with in integral cardboard lid, an artists impression of the potential finish is on the top. On the rear are images of the actual model, and around the sides are advertising captions. Inside there are two plastic bags, that contain the plastic parts for the model, and there is a zip lock bag containing two grades of nylon mesh and a clear sprue and decal sheet. I really do not like companies packaging items with the decals that have the potential to damage the decal sheet. The instruction booklet and painting sheet, are loose in the box. An inspection of the sprues does not pick any areas of concern, with the mouldings having good access to all parts and care being required during the removal of some elements. There are some flow lines, on some elements, but these do not look or feel to have caused damage.
The lower hull of the model has I believe been slide moulded due to the high level of detail on the sides and bottom of the tub. The suspension arms are supplied individually and secured to the lower hull be a shaped pin. This should allow the model to sit correctly on a level surface, and if going to be displayed on a uneven surface drill out the receiving holes and secure the suspension arms as you wish. Detail on the drive and return wheels, looks acceptable. The tracks have been provided via link and length, which will make displaying on a uneven surface a more difficult task. Road wheels and return rollers are acceptable to me, with the tyre aspects just requiring some damage to be replicated for a more authentic appearance.
The upper hull has a lot of access panels added over blanked off areas, which is an interesting approach, but does mean the modeller will need to take care during placement as I cannot see any locators. The details on the hatches, is of a good standard. The sides of the upper hull are added as separate parts with just the rear and front angled plate to ensure a correct alignment of the side panels. The success of this area of the model will depend on you getting the alignment of these parts correct. The nylon mesh provided in the box, does need to be cut into various pieces and is something that I am not a fan of, and would mush rather have seen photo etch included with the kit, as I feel this would have been a far better and easier option for the modeller. With those negatives out of the way I do feel that Zvezda has done a very good job of providing a well detailed hull for this model. Tow cables and tools have been provided as full mouldings, and for a more natural look I would consider cutting up the tow cable mouldings and using a cable of you own preferred choice.
The turret of the vehicle is a single piece moulding on to which you again add panels, but this time there are locators provided, making this an easier task. The radar array can be set at your preferred angle, as can what I believe to be the tracking dish at the rear of the turret. This model being an all new moulding from Zvezda is unusual in that the part count is quite low, with a lot of the detail being moulded panels that you add as a whole. I am not going to criticise this approach, as I think it could just be considered as something different, which I believe works.
When completed the model can be assembled as both in action or just on the move. Zvezda had supplied two finishing options for the model, unfortunately they are both plain green, with one being from the Moscow victory parade on 2017 and the other based in Khmeimim Airbase, Syrian Arab Republic. The decals for either finish and are minimal. Running my finger over the decals they are on the thicker side as I can feel them.
This is an all new offering from Zvezda, and I am far more pleased with their efforts at releasing their own products than other peoples. It shows how far they have come as a company when it comes to releasing something of their own design. While the approach taken is unusual, I am happy with what in included, but please stop putting decals in with plastic mouldings due to the risk of damage.