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Panda 9A310M1 TELAR Buk-M1

Build review of the 1/35 scale Buk-M1 kit with nice metal track links but errors in instructions
Kit:No. PH35033 // Scale:1/35 // Price:$69.99
Panda Hobby
Metal individual track links; optional missile types; extra parts guard against loss
Errors in instructions; antenna mast difficult to attach
Injection-molded, 1261 parts (234 cast-metal, 49 PE, 250 pins, brass wire), decals
The Soviet Buk TELAR (Transporter, Erector, Launcher, and Radar) entered service in 1980 as the first surface-to-air missile system to incorporate its own tracking radar. With upgrades, the system, known to the U.S. as the SA-11, is still in use today.

Panda’s 1/35 scale Buk-M1 includes individual metal track links, although this feature may be limited to the initial kit run. Other releases have individual plastic links. The model also includes two types of missiles, the 9M38M and 9M317, optional road wheels, clear plastic light lenses, windshields, and vision blocks, photo-etched metal (PE) details, and twisted brass wire for the tow cable, and decals for eight vehicles.

The fit of the parts was generally good — I used no filler — but be sure to test-fit parts before gluing as some of the mounting holes don’t match the pins, or there are no holes, or pins where there should be holes. Study the diagrams carefully to pick up these problems as well as errors in the instructions and vague folding guides for the PE parts. For example, in Step 21, a PE screen (PE17) is shown being glued to the upper hull, but it should actually attach to the opening of Part C14.

Holes need to be opened in the upper hull, but don’t drill out the second and third from the bottom of the diagram in Step 1. I couldn’t find anything to attach to those holes and ended up covering them with the axe. Not shown in the instruction are a pair of holes that need to be opened in the rear plate (C19) to mount a detail (C46).

The one-piece lower hull has all of the access hatches molded in place. Paint the interior black before gluing the hull together since there are a lot of openings that may show light.

The suspension arms fit well and I did not use glue for them. However, the front idler arms were not keyed; I left them loose until the tracks were mounted so I could adjust the track tension.

Metal pins connect the cast links and leave the tracks workable. I ran a drill bit through the mounting holes to clear any debris. Each link needed a swipe from a metal file to improve the fit between them. Note: The tracks and pins come loose in a plastic box that also includes the glass for the windows. Be careful not to throw out the clear parts.

In steps 18 and 20, the vent covers were both labeled C33, but each is different; one has a notch for Part PE27. The drivers’ and engine hatches were separate, but no interior detail was provided. I recommend painting a shadow color around the hatch opening before adding the hatches as they have large overhangs that are difficult to get paint underneath. The drivers and co-driver’s hatches can be built with the protective hatch for the windows open or closed.

Moving to the turret, in Step 33, Part B39 should be B90, and the instructions show 13 handles (parts E14) for the hatches, but only 12 are included. I made the extra from styrene strip. I left the cover (A2) separate for painting.

Assembly of the antenna mast in Step 36 proved to be the most frustrating part of the build. First, holes need to be drilled in the sides of parts B29 and B30. Then, the directions are vague about building the support frame. If I did it again, I would glue parts B78 and B79 to the launch arms, then add the cross members after the launcher was assembled. I was never able to get the antenna pistons (B75 and B49) to work with the antenna in the proper raised position, so I left them off and glued the antenna mast in place.

Myriad instructional errors complicated assembly of the launcher arms. To begin, parts D27 and D28 are the same and labeled D26 on the parts tree. To ensure the correct parts were attached where they needed to be, I glued the mounting brackets (E44 and E45) to the launcher arms, then glued the completed assemblies of D26. Holes need to be drilled into Part E6 so it holds the launch-rail ends in place.

The completed launcher in theory could be made to move if it were not for the antenna mast, so I glued the assembly in launch position.

The directions mount the missiles to each launch arm and then attach the arms together on the turret sandwiching the antenna assembly. Instead, mount the missiles once everything else is on the turret, including the antenna. No plumbing is included for the missiles although the hose ends are included in the kit if you decide to add that detail.

Do not test-fit the turret to the hull until the model is completed since it clips in place and cannot be removed.

Choosing marking option C, I painted the Buk with Tamiya acrylics and the decals went down well over a clear gloss.

The metal tracks were dipped in Blacken-It and weathered with brown and rust colored washes.

Panda’s BukM1 produces a large, impressive model that is almost 12 inches long and more than 9 inches tall with the missiles in launch position. The difficult assembly of the mast and numerous errors in the directions make this a build for the experienced modeler; I spent 57 hours on mine.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the February 2020 issue.


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