Big machines have always been a thing in the USSR, and that is definitily true for both aircraft and tanks before WWII. In April 1941 some 20 proposals for a super heavy tank competed within the Kotin design bureau. War interrupted this madhouse, all guns built for the design were destroyed. However since men continue to obsess with heavy tanks that were never built in metal – what you will see below is the winning one in resin.
As you are aware OKB Grigorov is also offering the so-called “Mammoth edition” of their injection molded M24 Chaffee. There are several PE frets and a machined brass gun barrel included in that boxing.
First off are the side skirts. You’ve noticed in my original review of the plastic parts that the skirts are represented in styrene, and that their edges are beveled to appear visually thinner. For those of us who are not satisfied a fret numbered P72017 offers replacement side skirts complete with fastener detail.
Below is the galery of the completed model. It’s painted in a number of Revell enamel greens – various mixtures of ##48, 65-69 and 361 to simulate faded paint, areas where water of fuel accumulated, crew walked (or couldn’t, e.g. around the edges of the hatches and the hinges). Edges and certain areas were highlighted with green pastel chalks, then some Promodeller washes to pop the details. Decals do silver, because I did not gloss the surface underneath them.
Bronco have done a fantastic job on the kit, which does not have any assembly issues, or serious problems with accuracy. Building is very easy for such a large and well-detailed kit thanks to clever engineering; assembly process is supported very well by the instruction booklet (although several views of the completed steps wouldn’t have hurt). Outside the erroneous “cast surface” effect on the superstructure and the ejector pin marks on the fenders I don’t really have anything to complain about this kit. If I have the opportunity – I would build another one without any hesitation.
Looking for references for the SU-152 brought about the conclusion that this SPG was indeed a rare beast, and is even harder to find today. While there’s a lot of ISU-152 that were remanufactured to the M and K standards, the KV-based subject was not as lucky: there are very few survivors, even fewer are in presentable condition, and none appear to be able to move on its own.
Books on the “Beast killer” are also few and far between. I was able to find Wydawnictwo Militaria’s “SU-152” (332). Beside the examples pictured in the book (pretty devoid of any fittings, really) there’s another survivor in Kubinka, but since it cannot be photographed from all sides you’d need to rely on a very few images with scarce detail that keep repeating in all books on the subject.
Bronco has released two versions of the legendary Zveroboi SPG (popular nickname for the SU-152): early (the subject of this review) and late production. Confusingly the kit of the late variety appeared first, and this kit was released a few months later – in the beginning of 2013.
The sprue count alone is staggering: there are 59 sprues, including 1 with clear parts and the hull tub. A PE fret, decal sheet and two lengths of braided copper wire complete the kit.
Sprue A contains parts that are applicable to the entire KV-1 line and derivatives. Fenders and engine deck are marked “Not for use” in the parts plan.
First thing to do is to get rid of the molded-on tools. Considering the absurd ideas to make the hammer our of 3 layers of PE and the jack out of 9 layers – some tools were replaced with items from the Attack’s set “Implements and tools”, and I kept the jack almost stock. For the time being I glued on the retaining PE clasps and straps for them and the tow cables.
Aside from the molded-on tools and the symmetric turret there are few other issues with the Revell kit:
– directly sticking the spare tracks to the turret walls – there are brackets for this on the actual machine – I used PE items form the Part set.
– the gun that is very crudely molded in one piece together with the muzzle brake – replaced it with RB Models item 72B26 turned aluminum barrel with bronze muzzle brake. Since the barrel is turned there are visible traces from the lathe on its surface – I sanded down with 800 and 2000-grit sandpaper.
Years ago the Poles from Part have released 3 PE sets to improve the molded-on details of both Revell’s Braille scale Tigers. The three packs basically have the same main fret and mesh set, plus a third metal sheet that holds details specific to the version – P72-092 for the Ausf. H, P72-093 for the E, and P72-094 for the H1.
I got myself a set for the late variety, and here it is.
As you can notice there’s heaps of tiny detail, some so small really you will not even bother remove it from the metal sheet. There’s useful stuff like all the tool retaining straps and clasps, the side mud flaps, the exhaust heat shields, the ammo belt and can for the commander’s MG, as well as the mesh screens that are SO missing from the Revell kits.
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.