Soviet D-30 122mm Howitzer – Early Version

Published: December 4th, 2012     
Product Image
Box Art
Reviewed by: 
David Wrinkle, IPMS# 45869
Scale: 1/35
Company: Trumpeter
Price: $28.99
Product / Stock #: 02328

History / Background

The Soviet D-30 (122mm howitzer) entered service with the Russian Army in 1963 as a replacement for the M-30 and M-1942 artillery pieces.  Nearly fifty years on, the D-30 is still in active service in over fifty armies today, including the Afghans under supervision of US forces.  Unlike a conventional artillery piece that utilizes two trail legs the D-30 uses three, and when deployed, the trails are placed into a very stable configuration separated by 120 degrees.  In travel mode, the D-30's rearmost legs fold forward alongside the forward leg, and the entire gun is pulled via the tow ring on the muzzle.  With this build, I broke one of my cardinal rules for modeling: avoid equipment made after 1946.  Why did I break this rule?  For one, the gun has been in service as long as I have been around, and for some strange reason I am attracted to the unconventional three leg configuration.

Kit

The kit comes in a small, beefy, standard top-opening box that is packed with six sprues of parts plus the three legs, one gun frame, two vinyl tires, a small fret of photo etched parts, and a small decal sheet.  My first in impression is that Trumpeter packed quite a few parts into such small box, not to mention packed them VERY well.  The legs and gun frame were individually wrapped in foam and were very well protected.  The instruction booklet is six pages printed front and back, including the obligatory history, sprue guide, as well as twelve well-documented construction steps.  Lastly, Trumpeter includes a beautiful glossy color paint guide depicting two possible painting options.

Build

First, you must decide on building your D-30 in either the travel or operational configuration.  The trail legs can easily be left movable, but the wheels, center support, and gun elevation movement would take some extra effort on the part of the builder to be left articulated.  I'm sure some of you could make the entire model articulate, but that's beyond the scope of this review.  I decided to display my model in operational mode.

Construction begins with the assembly of the trail legs by attaching small detail bits to each of the trail legs.  I was pleasantly surprised with the quality and detail of even the smallest parts.  By the completion of step four, the legs are done and it is time to move to the assembly of the D-30's base.  The base assembly is covered in steps five through nine and is very straightforward.  Trumpeter has done a reasonably good job with detail insets in the instructions to cover some of the more confusing aspects of the assembly.  Did they do a perfect job of this?  No, but they came close.  Take your time, and with a little careful study of the plans, you can figure out where the parts are supposed to fit.

Step ten covers the assembly of the muzzle, barrel, breech, and frame.  Like the previous assemblies, everything went together well, but this step is also where I found the only issue I had with the kit.  It's a very minor issue, but the edges of the breech halves were not as crisp as the rest of the parts in the kit.  The breech is the only part of the kit that required a bit of filler.

Step eleven covers the gun shield assembly as well as mating of the gun assembly to the base assembly.  Looking ahead to paint, I decided to leave the shield off to facilitate painting the interior structure of the model.  It is also where I made my first build error.  I attached the shield supports without attaching the shield.  I know it doesn't sound like much, but I failed to align the supports with the corresponding hole on the shield.  Lesson learned - don't do what I did; make sure use the shield as guide to place the support arms properly.

The final step covers the wheel hub assembly, wheel arms assembly, as well as attaching the wheels to the model.  Pay very close attention to the wheel supports and dry fit everything before gluing.  The inserts for the arms are keyed and are placed differently, depending on whether you are building the kit in operational mode or travel mode.  I'm pretty sure I followed the plans but I got it wrong.  As a result, I had to drill out the mounts and place them on the assembly and manually align the wheels.  Not a big deal, but a little preparation would have prevented this problem.  With the model essentially done, the paint was applied and I was very glad to have left off the shield.  Construction was finished by attaching the shield and vinyl tires.  The decals are only used on one of the two muzzle options, and I choose not to utilize that option.  Trumpeter provides the two muzzle choices in the kit but doesn't really explain the difference between the two.

This kit is my second foray into model artillery.  My first effort was a very old boxing of a flak gun from another manufacturer that left a bitter taste in my mouth.  Rest assured, Trumpeter hit the bull's eye with this kit.  Detail and fit both received top marks, with the instructions rated only marginally lower than the rest of the kit.  Overall, it was a very enjoyable build and I wouldn't hesitate to build another sometime in the future.

I would like to thank Squadron and IPMS USA for the chance to review this very fine kit.

  • Paint scheme 1
    Paint scheme 1
  • Paint scheme 2
    Paint scheme 2
  • Sprue 1
    Sprue 1
  • Sprue 2
    Sprue 2
  • Sprue 3
    Sprue 3
  • Sprue 4
    Sprue 4
  • PE and decals
    PE and decals
  • Tires
    Tires
  • Barrel
    Barrel
  • Legs and frame
    Legs and frame
  • Base
    Base
  • Base, braces, and travel components
    Base, braces, and travel components
  • Finished 1
    Finished 1
  • Finished 2
    Finished 2
  • Finished 3
    Finished 3
  • Finished 4
    Finished 4
  • Finished 5
    Finished 5

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