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Alanger 1/35 2S9 Nona-S Self-Propelled Gun

Kit: No. 35012
Scale: 1/35
Manufacturer: Alanger, from Alanger International, 905-849-4503,
Price: Contact your local dealer
Comments: Injection-molded, 351 parts, decals
Pros: Unusual subject
Cons: Some flash
The Nona-S entered service with Soviet armed forces in the early 1980s, providing airborne units with a self-propelled gun. Built on the BTR-D chassis, the 2S9 mounts a 120mm breech-loading mortar that can be elevated for direct and indirect fire. In addition to normal mortar bombs, special ammunition, including shaped-charge anti-tank rounds, were developed. The Nona served in Afghanistan and Chechnya.

Parts are molded in soft gray plastic with nice detail and individual link tracks. Separate hatches are featured, but no interior detail. Separately molded road wheel arms are keyed but could be repositioned for display.

Decals are provided for one vehicle, but no unit information is included. The tri-fold instruction sheet features 17 steps with black-and-white line drawings.

Construction starts with joining the hull top and the lower hull tub. The front didn't want to bend into position right away; I glued the rear part, waited for it to dry, then glued and clamped the front, minimizing the sanding and filling needed for a smooth joint. Openings on the sides of the rear panel reveal the interior; I added sheet-styrene floors. I attached the suspension arms but left the road wheels and tracks off for easier painting.

I attached the detail parts and tools to the hull. The lack of locator holes for the tools presented the only problem; I used reference photos to place them. Hinge pieces at the top edge of the sides stood a little tall, so I sanded them shorter.

The turret went together easily; even the halves of the barrel formed an almost perfectly round assembly.

I painted the model NATO black, Russian armor green, and a mixed light green for a three-color camouflage. The instructions offer only a rear and starboard side view, so I guessed the pattern. I alternated the color of the road wheels according to references, rather than painting them all green as in the instructions, and painted the tires Gunze Sangyo tire black.

The decals went on well over a gloss coat, with the carrier film completely disappearing after an application of Micro Sol. I sprayed the lower parts of the vehicle as well as the road wheels with thinned red brown paint to begin weathering.

After attaching the wheels, I added the tiny individual-link tracks. A little sanding stick removed the sprue attachment points and they went together well. I painted them steel, washed with dark rust and black, and highlighted with a graphite pencil, then gave the model a burnt-umber oil wash and acrylic dry-brushing to bring out details. After a coat of Polly Scale clear flat, I finished up with pastels.

The finished model measures slightly short against published dimensions but captures the squat look of the full-size self-propelled gun. I took me about 20 hours to complete my Nona, about average considering the individual-link tracks and three-color scheme. I recommend it to Russian armor fans who have a few kits under their belts.
- Aaron Skinner


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