Thursday, December 22

In-Boxed – Panda Hobby 9K330 "Tor" Air defence system in 35th scale

The state of the art TOR Air Defence System from Panda Hobby in 35th scale is up for review today – Paul gives us a look inside before he gets cutting and glueing plastic. See what he thinks so far...

In-Boxed: 9K330 "Tor" Air Defence System
Manufacturer: Panda Hobby
Scale: 1/35th
Type: Multimedia Kit
Price: ¥6,640/ USD $56.63/€54.22 from Hobbylink Japan
Available from Panda Hobby distributors worldwide

The 9K330 Tor replaced the SA-8 Gecko in Soviet/ Russian service, is a TLAR (Transport, Launcher and Radar) system and uses the SA-15 Gauntlet missile. Designed to be fully autonomous, the Tor features a frontal tracking radar and top mounted target acquisition radar with the battery of eight missiles stored vertically in a VLS (Vertically Launched System) and capable of engaging a wide variety of low to medium altitude targets including aircraft, helicopters, UAVs and PGM’s.
Not being very familiar with this vehicle, I will say that a simple Google search about this vehicle proved to be more confusing rather than helpful and I ended up having to do a fair amount of digging to differentiate between the variants of the Tor, so I could find out which variant this kit represents. Panda previously released some images of some box art labelling the kit as a 9K330 Tor-M1 which added to the confusion, but the most obvious visual difference is that the M1 uses a longer hull with seven wheels per side, whereas the original which is actually, designated as 9A330 uses a hull with six wheels per side. Just to add a bit more confusion, the M2 variant goes back to a hull with six wheels per side, but the top radar is a bit different.
Panda’s Tor comes in a sturdy top opening box, and while not overflowing, the contents fill out the box quite well. Each sprue is individually bagged with the exception of duplicate sprues which come in the same bag.
The upper and lower hulls are not labelled but it’s pretty obvious what they are they measure in surprisingly large when compared to the typical Russian AFV. Hatches are provided as separate parts, but there is no interior detail so no reason to pose them open.
The lower hull.
Sprue A is the turret shell, and mostly smooth since the exterior details are glued on, but it does feature some nicely moulded perforations.
Sprue B is the frontal tracking radar with some nice raised details and rivets on the sides but the little stub right in the centre which will need to be removed.
Two copies of Sprue C are provided and has a variety of details including the idler and sprockets. I originally thought Panda had a bit of a shocker with the missile as it looks nothing like the SA-9 Gauntlet, but the missile turns out to be unused and is actually the SA-19 missile which gives this sprue away as being from Panda’s earlier release of the 2S6 Tunguska.
While trying to identify the different variants of the Tor, I found that most pictures showed vehicles with idlers that had cut-outs in them, and funnily enough the box art also shows the cut-outs in the idlers, which are different to the ones that are provided in the kit. However, I did find some pictures of the Tor with round idlers, and the 9A330 did share the same chassis as the 2S6 Tunguska so this is not necessarily a mistake by Panda.
Three copies of Sprue D are provided which includes the wheels, as well as some missile tubes which again give the sprue away as being from the Tunguska kit. The parts are generally well moulded although I did notice a bit of flash on this sprue, particularly on the wheel rims.
The sprues then jump to G, which is clearly specific for the Tor as it has the frames for the target acquisition radar on top of the turret and is definitely the star of this kit once the etch is added and will be interesting to see how the fit is. The smaller array on top does look a bit chunky in plastic, although making one out of photo-etch would be an extremely delicate task but we’ll see how it looks after I put it all together.
Sprue H has the lower section of the turret and well as an assortment of features for the turret. Most of the detail is raised but it is appropriate since they represent a lot of hatches, and there is some nice recessed detail on the structures on the side of the turret.
The next sprue jumps to K and comprises mostly of the details on the upper hull. I did notice a different type of side skirt used on some pictures of the Tor which again is featured on the box art but different to the ones provided in the kit, but there are pictures of the ones supplied in the kit so again, not necessarily a mistake by Panda.
Sprue L is a smaller sprue and features the tow cable ends and some grab handles.
The tracks provided in the kit are the individual link and pin type so they should be fully workable if glued carefully, but strangely, different to the type advertised on the box and illustrated in the instructions which feature separate hollow guide horns. The tracks in the kit come with a smaller solid guide horn attached to each link, and also a strange piece that I originally thought to be some sort of connector but turned out to be a track pad.
Going through pictures of the Tor, there are a variety of combinations of vehicles with round idlers or ones with cut-outs, with tracks with hollow or solid guide horns so do your research if you are going to do a particular vehicle as I couldn’t find a particular pattern to it. However, the trackpads do appear to be a feature of the later vehicles, although older pictures are not clear enough to really definitively say they weren’t there.
A small fret of clears is provided for the usual headlights and vision ports.
A medium sized fret of photo etch has the mesh for the radar arrays and some grills for the vehicle which will add a nice touch to the completed model. A length of braided copper wire is also provided for the tow cable.
The kit itself is rounded out by the small sheet of decals.
The instruction booklet comes with a glossy cover and features some clear line drawings, but make sure to study them first as the construction sequences of sub-assemblies are not necessarily from left to right, or even up to down in some cases so take note of the arrows.
Lastly, a glossy page in colour is provided for the two marking options, although no unit information is provided and colour callouts are only given for Gunze paints.
So overall, the kit in the box looks nice and should build up fairly easily with the Tor having such a boxy shape so it shouldn’t provide any real traps in construction although the PE for the radar would probably make the kit unsuitable for beginners. However, for me, the question is about what Panda are giving you in the box. There are some differences in regards to the tracks and the idlers shown on the box art, although pictures of the actual vehicle show that while rare, the combination provided is not necessarily wrong. From what I’ve read, I believe the kit provided would be more accurately described as the 9A330 rather than a 9K330 or 9K330-M1 but don’t take this as gospel and I’d be more than happy to get feedback if I’m wrong.

Paul Lee

Thanks to Panda Hobby for providing this kit to review