Tuesday, July 3, 2012

15mm Syrian Build-Up Continues

15mm tanks on the assembly line - all from Old Glory
I'm continuing to build up my Syrian forces for my 15mm 1973 Golan Heights project, assembling some vehicles to go in the supporting cast for the Syrian army.  These are models from Old Glory (or Battle Honors, or Command Decision, or whatever the f*ck it is called these days - I'm not even sure how I managed to get them).  The Old Glory models are definitely a mixed bag in terms of quality.
ZSU-23-4, an iconic piece of Cold War Soviet kit
One of the reasons the Golan Heights was so touch-and-go for the Israelis in 1973 was the strength of the Syrian air defences.  The Yom Kippur war was a rude shock for the Israeli Air Force, used to doing whatever it liked, and the Israeli Defense Forces, which had based all of their strategic assumptions on the IAF kicking major butt in the opening hours of any conflict.  The IAF found over the Golan (and in the Sinai) that the Soviet-supplied air defences were fearsome and effective, and the pilots paid a terrible price as a result.

On the Golan the ZSU-23-4 air defence tanks were a big part of that, with radar guided quad 23mm cannons accompanying the advancing armoured columns, shredding the IAF A-4s - any that survived the network of SA-6 SAM batteries, that is.  The ZSU is one of the iconic vehicles of the Soviet  Cold War-era arsenal, and I look forward to painting one up.  This one is an Old Glory casting, and like the other Old Glory products it scores good marks for low cost, but you get what you pay for.  In particular, the assembly of the 23mm cannons was painstaking and I'm not confident they will survive the first game....oh well...I added an aerial on the back of the turret.
The BTR-60 APC - not very glamorous, but a big part of the 1973 war
Another key supporting player for the Syrian forces was the BTR-60 wheeled APC.  The Warsaw Pact manufactured a gazillion or so of these things and they were widely given away/exported to client states like Syria.  The BTR-60 doesn't get any of the glory from war gamers like some of the other Soviet kit (such as the ZSU), but this was a widely deployed vehicle among the Syrian divisions that assaulted the heights in 1973, so I have three of these to carry some infantry in support of the tanks.

These are Old Glory models too, but the quality was not bad.  I'm not sure that all eight wheels line up perfectly, but all in all a pretty good buy.
T-62 platoon showing off their new aerials before priming - key question is whether they have the right wireless plan....
I gave my T-55 test model an antenna, and I've found that once you do that on one tank, you sort of feel like maybe all of the tanks should have one, so I drilled out the (poorly cast) antenna mounts on these Old Glory T-62s with a pin vise and added aerials.  The T-62s are supposed to be the elite armoured force for the Syrians, representing the best tank in their arsenal at the time....so far I'm not sure these Old Glory models will live up that, especially beside the wonderful Peter Pig T-55s.  We'll see whether a coat of paint can improve that...but in the interim, I am ordering a brace of T-62s from QRF.


Chris said...

the ZSU-23-4 LOOKS AWESOME! That is a sweet looking piece of kit. Can't wait to see that painted up.

Vladdd309 said...

That's a lot of metal! Love that ZSU though, think I've a 20mm plastic kit somewhere, bought on a whim.

Lasgunpacker said...

Loving this series, and agree that the ZSU looka awesome.