The Soviet union started the war with the F-22 and USV divisional guns as the mainstays of its artillery. In 1942 they were replaced by the lighter, faster-firing and more modern ZIS-3 design that was more suited to war time production and maintenance capabilities of the vast country. Over 45,000 guns were built during war years; many were towed, some served on anti-tank SPGs like the SU-76 and SU-76M.
Italeri and UM have already produced kits of the subject, the first one even included crew in winter uniform. My personal opinion is that either kit suffer from oversimplification, so the kit from Zvezda is a welcome addition to the market despite positioned as the wargaming piece that the Italeri rendition is.
Italeri, Heller, and more recently Roden and Dragon have released PAK-40 in 1/72. There have also been wargaming models in the scale.
Italeri’s crew are softer plastic than I like, Dragon’s “bundle” with the PAK-36 and 5 crewfigures is excellent, but hard to find and expensive. Preiser’s 5-member gun crew is similarly elusive, but tops all of them.
The cons above – along with aggressive pricing of about $3 – puts Zvezda’s new set at a very competitive position, despite the crew consisting of just 3 figures. The two sprues are molded in grey and reasonably well-detailed.
Announced back in 2013 (or was it 2012?) the expected development of IS-2 is finally here. Please welcome ISU-152 by Zvezda!
Previous Zvezda kits in the scale had sprues on their own inside the box. That made each sound like a baby’s rattle. Parts here are sealed in a soft plastic bag, which prevents parts loss, and makes plastic less prone to breaks.
The ISU-152 is big, grey and bad@$$, and at first sight appears to have a very small amount of parts in common with the IS-2 kit from the past year (which is a very good one if I may say). That’s sort of misleading because there is still a lot from the IS-2 – the sprues are simply re-done and parts are re-arranged for the new machine.
A year after it’s done I am finally posting the gallery for this model.
Aside from the typical Dragon BS instructions that are supposedly there to keep you alert the only real problem to me is that insane idea of a gun shield. There is no simple way this is getting the proper shape and position the way people at DML HQ see it. And then there are those wingnuts…
The truth is the kit is a solid, high-value, good build that could turn to impressive completion by itself, in a vignette or a diorama. All it needs is a properly dressed gun crew and a few brass shell casings for you to scatter around.
Since I actually did build the thing about a year ago, I’ll post my thoughts about the construction sequence, and especially about the instructions and some peculiarities of the kit.
There are 23 construction steps and though they are logical I built my example in a bit different way. Also, I noted some errors I am discussing below.
Step 1: wheels – lots of them. Assembling the front wheels is no problem. The drive sprockets are handed (different) on the actual machine, but not in the kit. Dragon has issued you with 2 identical assemblies.
Sprue A – 90 parts for the suspension, engine covers and firewall, front lights, fenders, instrument panel, etc.
Dragon has put its favorite slide molding routine through its paces in this kit, and even without it the effort is still rather impressive. The cooling gills on the bonnet halves have been molded through – and most other kits will require a PE set for this. Also, the pattern on the radiator is discernible even if you look through the delicately molded guard grille.
The heat shield for the muffler also has its cooling gills molded as the real deal, so your weathering efforts here will be worthwhile. Delicate suspension parts and mirror supports, as well as lightbulbs molded in the bottom of the headlamp reflectors really contribute to the feeling you’re dealing with first-rate kit.
Since I needed decals in order to complete the model I had to raid the kit collection and source some. The victims were an Italeri M113 and a Revell (Matchbox) M40 SPG. I also used the lettering from their sheets to make up a code for a 5-16th Artillery machine (but sans the yellow weight class sign). Mr. Decal Softer helped the markings get grip and conform to the model surfaces.
The decals were sealed, and I used minimal amount of pigments to add to the dusty appearance. Diluted H2Oils (Burnt Umber and Paynes Grey) were used to simulate the leaks. Mixed with some dry pigments they helped create the mud buildup on the front upper sheet.
Alright – so why do I keep labeling articles using the full kit name and number? Because most companies “milk” their designs and have multiple releases using the same basic kit (or some of it). OKB Grigorov has already released the A1 and A2 versions of the M109, kits No 72004 and 72005, respectively.
Back to our initial SPH variant.
What’s the first thing we usually do? Dry fit major components so we’re able to judge size and get motivated by the upcoming result! I sanded the turret base and the hull recess that is intended to accept it a bit. The model is pretty small, yet rather heavy for its size.
Alright, another resin + PE monster from OKB Grigorov, and despite it’s lower Cat. No. (the AT-T was 72007) I got it in the beginning of this year to build for a review.
I must say I liked the kit from first sight. Relatively small number of parts that will make for a detailed, compact model of a vehicle that has a bunch of modifications still in use today, 50 years after its introduction.
So – onto the kit.
All the parts are packaged in zip-lock bags, all protected by bubble wrap and a sturdy white cardboard box. There are