Tos-1 is one of these weird looking Russian vehicles, that only Russians can come up with. It looks like artillery piece, but it is actually assigned to NBC Defence Forces. It reminds about the Katiyusha concept, and probably it was inspired by it, but it way more deadly, and more accurate. For whatever its worth, it might be said that this is one dead spreading machine, and it is scary. In its essence, it is a rocket launcher, but is also a thermobaric weapon mounted on the chassis of the versatile T-72. That means that it is more close to a weapon of mass destruction, rather than a conventional artillery piece, howitzer or a tank.
It was first used back in the late 80s, against the Afghanistans in Panjshir Valley and it served more like a psychological weapon than a tactical or strategic act. It was covered in secrecy, and in the next 10 years, nobody from the outside knew nothing about it. It was shown to the public in the end of the century, and by that time it already was with some undergoing modifications. Later on, TOS-1 was used in Syria, Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh conflicts, with last know usage only few weeks prior to that article appearance.
The TOS-1 is rocket launcher equipped with 24 unguided rockets, featuring thermobaric warheads. It fires with a quick bursts, and it can launches all of its rockets within 12 seconds. TOS-1 range is relatively short – 3500m, hence the need of a tank chassis for a base as an improved protection. It has a laser range finder, ballistic computer and complicated aiming sight, for improved accuracy. Currently, it is used by Russian Federation, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Syria and Kazakhstan. There are some reports of units being used in the rebel zones of Ukraine too.
The kit from Trumpeter is a stashed box, with more than 1000 parts in it, and it is based on their very popular T-72 tank. It has all the bells and whistles of the lower part of the T-72, but that is not the important area here. The missing turret and what we have instead of it is the general difference. Trumpeter made nice effort with their TOS-1 kit, providing very fine detail, flash free, good fit and relatively accurate depiction. I mean the upper parts here, but we know that the lower body is already recognized as worthy by the modelers who built some of their T-72 line.
The rocket launcher is molded with all the rockets inside, however somewhere I saw a photo etch set to modify launchers of the BM-21 GRAD, so most likely with a little will, here it can be done too. The whole upper part of the TOS-1 is movable and it looks pretty straight-forward assembly. The welding marks can bee seen everywhere, and are clear and delicate. There are two round pads for positioning the TOS-1 into a firing position, attached to the back of the vehicle. They are also depicted clearly, and are with optionable /up-down/ bonus.
The lower part of the hull is the well known T-72. Nicely detailed engine deck, photo etch all over it. Fenders with clear details, no flash and wonderful curvature of the rubber skirts. Wheels and sprockets with nice threads and details. Some flash can be seen on the sprockets, but it is nothing to worry about. It is definitely not good that we have it, but this is the only flash that I’ve seen on the kit, so anybody can live with it.
Tracks are nice, and somehow eliminate the need of aftermarket ones. They are made from different plastic and are brown in color. They are also individual track links with hollow ‘teeth’ that hold the pads together. It will be a tedious job to assemble those, and you need more than 300 on both sides, but in the end it will worth the patience. The alignment might be tricky, but the upper side of the track length remain beneath the fenders which will easy the process. For making our life easier, Trumpeter provided a plastic tool attach to each track sprue, representing a straight line for proper alignment of the length which is on the top and bottom sides of the track lengths.
Photo etch is represented by two sheets of gold-ish metal plates, slightly ticker than needed, but that is typical for Trumpeter. One of those holds the T-72 standard features, like the small round pieces that goes all over the turret and are a nightmare to be positioned, as well as the meshes for the engine deck. On the other PE sheet there are some of the fender boxes add-ons, and some parts which are supposed to go on the T-90 set, and are not used here.
The log is attached to a sprue that comes from a tank, because there is a gun barrel mantled which also is not to be used, but its worth mentioning that the sprue is made from some sort of a rubber or resin, which is rather odd. I assume it is like that because the log goes into PE brackets, and to avoid damages and unneeded complications, Trumpeter decided to give us soft-ish material instead of regular plastic. The clear parts are few, but are there, and they are nice enough as well as the decals. There are all the numbers available, and logo with both USSR and RF /Russian Federation/ signs beneath it. Also the KB Transmash /factory name/ is available, eventually for a demo vehicle painted in single tone green camo.
The camouflages are two. The one mentioned above, and one with the modern Russian colors, which I doubt is very accurate. There are other options of course, and plenty of pictures in the web. Very attractive are the splinter camo scheme demonstrated at the last Russian Arms Expo, as well as the Iraqi camouflage seen on some YouTube videos. The difference there is that the fenders of the Iraqi vehicles are with additional side plate armor, and it is highly possible that their TOS-1s to be based on T-90 chassis, like most of the newer vehicles are.
TOS-1 from Trumpeter is very interesting and challenging build of an unusual vehicle. The kit is not something fresh on the market, but the TOS-1 by itself is very popular on the news last year. It is seen firing in Syria and near Ukrainian border, as well as some information of use in Nagorno-Karabakh is here. That makes it very attractive for hobbyists and presents very nice options for different builds and dioramas. My conclusion is, that this kit is well worth the money, and it will be nice addition to every collection. It is an odd looking vehicle, a complex build, and it is far from standard looking tanks. The plastic parts are clear, crisp and there is no need of aftermarket parts, so the money spent are to be justified. It is one kit not to be skipped!
You can get this kit here: TOS-1A Multiple Rocket Launcher
Camouflage masks from DN Models available here: TOS-1 Modern Russian Camo