As military modelers we often throw around the phrase; “living in the golden age of modeling”. And while it is certainly true that the variety and quality of the kits that are now available are mind-blowing, perhaps a more accurate term might be “accessibility”, meaning, that our access to real-life and real-time “inspiration” (for lack of a better term) is now unprecedented. The world is at our fingertips by simply logging into our Facebook feed, watching a YouTube video or by joining any one of the many specialized groups, we are provided with unfiltered access to world events. I wouldn’t imagine that when Trumpeter released the Russian 2S3 Akatsiya in 2013, they had any idea that these vehicles recent “claim to fame” would be in the deadly, close-quarter urban battlefields of Syria. However, here it is – from the pictures and YouTube videos coming out of Syria that I found inspiration for my take on this Russian-built heavy hitter.
The sound of the caterpillar tracks could be felt as much as heard, a deep rumble that sent a rattle through windows and a tremble of fear through the guts. Then we saw them. Huge Soviet-made T72s, accompanied by troop carriers driving slowly into town, extra plates welded onto the sides to deflect rocket-propelled grenades. It was just after 9.30am, and the tanks were coming to Saraqeb.
“Light the tires!
The rebels of the Free Syrian Army in Saraqeb, a farming town of 30,000 in northern Syria, are better organized than many in the surrounding Idlib province. Squaring themselves away into formation around the central marketplace, they poured petrol on to truck tires and lit them sending plumes of thick black smoke into the air, obscuring the sun and – hopefully – the tank gunners’ visibility.