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Back in 1987 I was working in the 3rd Armored Division G-2 shop in Frankfurt, Germany, and had recently been the first person to model the then new T-80B and T-80BV tanks. But now we were getting pictures of a rather odd vehicle moving into East Germany under tarps that was the size of a large self-propelled artillery piece with a very bulky turret. I was asked if I could also model this new vehicle and I agreed once we could figure out what it was and what it did.

It soon became apparent that this was the legendary “ZSU-X” which had appeared in the Pentagon’s “Soviet Military Power” annual reports for several years. But whereas that had supposed this was using a T-72 chassis, the visible parts showed it to be using a Tomashov designed chassis related to the SA-4 GANEF and 2S3 “Akatsiya” howitzer. We finally got some clearer photos and I went to work.

We had problems figuring out how many guns it had – two were visible but wear marks on the canvas showed four muzzles, two per side. We could also see what looked like four missile tubes. Reports soon indicated it was dubbed “Tunguska” (a river in Siberia) and did use both missiles and 30mm cannon. It had a target acquisition radar like the SA-8 that popped up in the back and a fire control radar on the front of its turret. We also found out it had a suspension that could be dropped down to 10 cm for stability when firing and using the search radar for more precision.

The Soviets finally paraded the vehicle, and we found out it was dubbed the 2S6. Armament consisted of two 2A38 twin-barreled 30mm guns and four 9M311 “Treugol’nik” missiles. The later, full production 2S6M variant then added four more for eight missiles onboard. I did scratchbuild the model and USAREUR made an unclassified training poster of it just before I left Germany in 1989.

ITEM: PH 35002

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