Welcome to Cold War Gamer, a blog I am using to record my Cold War wargaming projects. These range from fictitious Cold War hot projects to historical conflicts that took place around the globe throughout the Cold War era, all modelled and gamed in 20mm. The blog includes links to various resources useful to the Cold War Gamer.

My current projects include: Central Front; British & Soviet. South African Border War; Angolans and South Africans. Soviet Afghan War; Soviets and Afghans

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Review - Model 1/72, Military Wheels 2S6 Tunguska

The 2S6M Tunguska was deployed quiet late in the cold war period with the intent of replacing both the ZSU 23-4 and the SA13 Gopher in TR and BMP equipped MRR.

The system followed a traditional introduction into service for Soviet equipment with limited production from 1984 followed by an upgrade and full production of the 2S6M from 1990. It's introduction into Service also heralded an enhancement to the MRR establishment by increasing the air defence component from an air defence battery to an air defence battalion. This unit now included a 2S6 battery of 2 platoons of 3 2S6M and an SA16 Battery with 2 Platoons of 3 BMP2 deploying 9 SA 16 each. I'll be deploying them into my post 1990 MRR, with the late 80s MRR fielding an SA13 Gopher ZSU 23-4 combination and the early 80's MRR a SA9 Gaskin ZSU 23-4 combination.

Interestingly the 2S6 weapon system's gun/missile arrangement was seen as a solution to the A10 and AH64 problem where the guns gave it a faster engagement time and the heavier shells would defeat the armour plate on these platforms which were designed to defeat the 23mm shells of the ZSU 23-4. The you tube clip gives an excellent impression of the effect it can acheive. I would echo one of the other reviewers comments, that it's only when you see something like this that you realise how much you miss the Soviet Union, an unusual piece of equipment that only their procurement process and system would ever get into service.

I don't think you have a choice if you want to field these, as far as I can see the Military Wheels kit is the only one out there in 1/72 scale, which is good because if you had a choice you'd probably exercise it. Not that the MW kit is a challenge to build, it's like doing an ACE kit but with more filing, although I must admit that I find that therapeutic. The Henke of Holland review is excellent and a strongly recommended read before starting the kit.

On with the detail, if you build the hull straight from the box you won't get the tracks on, the return rollers are too close to the hull, which is a bit of a disappointment if like me you have built the whole of the hull before you find out.

So it was out the dremel and the needle files for some fairly severe filing in order to provide the clearance for the track. As the top of the hull also sits indside the sides of the hull a fair amount of trimming of the sides was requeired where they meet the hull top which scared the surface a fair bit. This was remedied by the rapid application of a quantity of Mr Surfacer.

Moving onto the turret the principal issue here was a number of sink holes that required filling, particularly on the forward radar and the back of the raised sponsons at the turret rear. If I were doing the kit again I would also drill out the launch tubes.

The instructions are quite poor around the construction of the front radar and reviewing some photos before assembly will help you avoid the mistake I made. Note how on the real vehicle the framework supporting the radar curves away from the turret.

The most frustrating component of the whole build was the rear radar. Fitting the reflector to its base before adding the elements of the receiver eventually made it manageable.

I left completion of the tracks to last and would note that I have had worse experiences with track sections. I removed the drive sprocket teeth over the covered arc, which made the fitting of the links very straight forward, the links themselves requiered little effort to clean. The biggest problem I found on the tracks was the need to divide the bottom two sections into four sections in order to complete the track, not difficult but a degree of extra pain you could happily do without.

If you enjoy a challenge you'll love this baby, having said that you would not really want a Soviet force in the 1990s without at least one, so despite the effort it is a bit of a must have.

Painting the beast was fun, for the base green I used Vajello Russian green, washed with badab black and highlighted by mixing in sand yellow, the camouflage pattern was done with khaki mixed with Iraqi sand which is a better match than I achieved on the T72B using khaki grey and sand yellow. The launch tubes were painted in Russian uniform and after the pin wash I dry brushed the raised detail with iraqi sand. An overall very dilute wash of khaki grey was applied before heavier washes of khaki grey and khaki were used to weather the lower portion of the vehicle. Tracks, metal tools and lights were picked out in sea grey, wooden components in filthy brown and I used the decals straight from the box.

Not a straight forward kit to build but the end result is a very attractive looking model of an unusual vehicle so on reflection well worth the effort.

On The way Model review 2S6
Henk of Holland 2S6
Reference Photos 2S6
2S6M1 walk around
AirPower Australia system assessment
You Tube Video


  1. That's a very fine looking model. Your painting is amazing and the size of your collection is quite inspiring.
    I am fairly new to modern gaming seriously, so could this be used in an infantry support role like some of the WWII AA units? Thanks, definitely an interesting blog which I proudly follow.

  2. Beautiful work. Is a labour of love with some of these eastern kits. Ten out of ten.

  3. Awesome stuff man. I admire your dedication, I gave up building vanilla ACE kits long ago and this looks far far worse.

  4. Thanks for the comments, glad you like the end result, will update if I find any more efficient routes on the next one

  5. Ah, you must have built yours at about the same time as I built mine! A pig of a kit!

    I echo your review whole heartedly.
    ACE kit - I had to throw one away recently, the IT-1 Drakon - fit the wheel stubs as indicated and the bottom of the wheels are level with the bottom of the hull. I gave up most annoying. Given the price of MW and ACE kits, you'd expect them to be a cut above the rest,not several below 1970s Airfix. Oh well.

    Mark Bevis
    MicroMark (thanks for the link btw :))