Soviet SU-152 Self-Propelled Heavy Howitzer (early)

Published: February 7th, 2013     
Product Image
Box Art
Reviewed by: Tim Wilding - IPMS# 47420
Scale: 1/35
Company: Trumpeter
Price: $49.95
Product / Stock #: 01571
Product provided by: Stevens International

The Stalingrad counteroffensive (Operation Uranus) showed the Red Army's urgent need for mobile heavy guns. The firepower of Soviet tanks, both motorized and with infantry units, was not sufficient to deal with German pillboxes and fortified buildings. In November, 1942, the development of a heavy self-propelled gun armed with 152.4mm ML-20 gun-howitzer was begun as project name KV-14, and the first prototype, Object 236, was completed in 25 days. Using the KV-1S tank chassis, mass production of the SU-152 started in mid-February, 1943, and about 700 were produced until superseded by the ISU-152 in December, 1943. During combat, it was found that the SU-152 was a great anti-tank gun that could take out a Tiger or Elefant tank destroyer with its 107 pound HEAT projectile. During the Battle of Kursk, the lack of roof vents led to crews passing out, so a later production model added vents and a hull machine gun. This kit represents an early or initial production SU-152 Zverboy (Beast Killer).

This kit is another in a long line of Trumpeter KV heavy tank-based kits. I built and reviewed their KV-85 kit last month, and this kit was basically the same, except it swapped the turret for the fixed superstructure. The kit consists of 451 parts on 24 sprues, 180 of these being the track links on 12 sprues. There are 25 photo etched parts, a brass wire tow cable, and a metal barrel. The instruction sheet has 12 steps and the decal sheet has markings for four or five different vehicles. It is hard to tell what decals to use, since there is a color paint scheme sheet but no decal markings on that sheet at all. There are four sets of numbers, two sets of patriot slogans, four white-outlined-red stars, and two regular red stars.

The first thing that needs to be done is to cut down the KV hull for the superstructure to fit. Just follow the mold lines on the hull and the side plating to get a clean cut. There are two holes that need to be drilled into the left side for a hatch cover and two more on the front for part WY9. There is a choice of a plastic exhaust deflector or a photo etch one. The photo etch requires multiples bends and four brackets attached to the bottom. I choose the plastic part, since it looked fine to me. A photo etch exhaust screen is supplied, but it really can't be seen. The two engine intake screens on the top of the engine deck are molded in plastic. It would be nice to have these supplied in photo etch, since they can been seen. The engine hatch has interior details and a hinge, so it can be posed open with an aftermarket engine installed.

The instruction for the tracks call for 88 links, which give a slight sag, but bumping that number to 90 would give a more realist track sag. As with other Trumpeter KV kits, I installed the tracks before painting, since the sprocket gets locked in by part WC6, a demudder or track guide. The tracks took about 3 hours of cutting, cleaning, and assembly.

When attaching the fenders, I reversed the sequence of installing the photo etch mounts. I installed the upright mounts (parts B5 and B7) and then attached the flat bolt details (B4 and B9) to prevent a gap between these two pieces. Part WY4 is attached on top of the right fender and against the hull, but the fender rivets needs to be removed for this piece to fit. The instructions do not say to do this. When mounting the front hull armored cap, part WC2, there is a gap where the two mounting brackets fit into the hull. I have had this problem on the Trumpeter KV-85.

Do not make the four holes on the roof for the vents. These vents are for the later model of SU-152s. There is an orange sticker telling you not to install the vents, but it does not tell you to omit the hole, too. The hatches have interior details, but nasty injector pin marks. There is no other interior detail, so that makes it look larger on the inside then on the outside. The driver's view port is too big for the hole, so I had to enlarge this hole and make it more rectangular. There is a choice of metal or plastic gun barrel which comes in two pieces. I see no reason to use the plastic one. The muzzle break, part WN23, was molded with a nasty gap down the middle, and some of the side fluting had lots of flash. The superstructure has a really nice rolled steel texture. The gun mantle also has great casting details. I did have a large gap between the superstructure and the front armor plating. I used a piece of sprue to make internal bracing to raise the armor plate up about 2-3mm to close this gap. The brass wire for the tow cable is great. It is so easy to work with and conforms to the contour of the hull.

The decals are thin and lay down great with a little solvent. I am still curious why there is not any kind of decal instructions. I just made up my scheme from some internet photos.

The overall fit and assembly of this kit was great and it builds up very quickly, except the tracks.

Thanks to Stevens International for the review sample and IPMS for the chance to review it.

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