by: Colin Key [ ]
The T-20 Komsoletz armoured tractor was designed in 1936 and produced in Factory No. 37 Ordzhonikidze in Moscow. It entered service in 1937 as a prime mover, hauling men, artillery and other equipment around the battlefield. It had a lightly armoured welded/riveted body with armour thicknesses of 7-10mm. Armament consisted of a single 7.62mm DT tank machine gun in a ball mount. Over 4400 of these tractor were produced and they served with the Red Army and a number of captured units saw service with the Finnish army and the German Wermacht.
The ZiS-2 57mm gun was developed in 1940 and provided excellent penetrating power as well as a high rate of fire, with well trained crews capable of 25 rounds per minute. In August 1941 after the German invasion, a stop-gap mobile anti-tank gun was conceived by mounting the ZiS-2 gun on the T-20 Komsomoletz tractor, and the ZiS-30 was born. Only about a hundred of these vehicles were produced in the Gorky plant No. 92 due to problems with the availability of the chassis and the gun, but they provided valuable service during the battle for Moscow.
Mirror Models has used their T-20 Komsomoletz kit as a basis for the ZiS-30 self-propelled anti-tank gun and it is a welcome alternative to the less than stellar Maquette kit.
14 plastic sprues
1 photo-etched fret
Coloured Paint and Marking Guide
This kit of the ZiS-30 builds on the previous T-20 Komsomoletz kit from Mirror Models. It comes in a stout corrugated cardboard box with some nice artwork, and is absolutely packed, for such a small model there are a LOT of parts! Over 450 parts plus another 160 for the tracks, and a small PE fret packed in a mixture of Ziploc and heat sealed bags. Typical of Mirror Models releases, the kit is molded in grey plastic with no sink or ejector marks visible. There is some minor flash on a few pieces and seam lines that will need to be cleaned up. Details are in general well molded, although I am a little disappointed with the 7.62mm machine gun, details on that seem soft compared to some others I have seen.
There are quite a few very small molded parts, and the sprue gates are quite large so care will be needed when cutting the parts off the sprue. I highly recommend a good side cutter and razor saw to remove parts.
The instructions are provided as 6 loose 8.5” x 11” sheets, printed double sided. They look better than what I had to deal with for Mirror Models CMP Otter, but still not up to the standards of the biggies, at least not in appearance. The real test will come when I start to build.
Assembly of the kit starts with the nicely detailed engine and transmission which mount on the bottom of the hull tub. This is followed up with the assembly of the hull tub with individual pieces for the sides, front and rear. There do not appear to be any locating pins so care will have to be taken to make sure everything lines up properly. Once the tub is assembled the firewall, crew compartment interior details and fenders are installed. For those so inclined, a diagram of all the brake and shift lever cable assemblies is provided if you feel like adding that detail.
Once the tub and internals are completed, assembly moves on to the rear engine cover and deck. It is a shame that that nice little engine will not be seen unless you build it with all hatches open in a maintenance or abandoned/destroyed scenario.
The upper section of the crew compartment is next, with both the inner viewing port shutters and main shutters able to be assembled in either the open or closed position. Again, no locating pins so take your time, dry fit and align everything correctly.
With the main hull complete, assembly moves on to the suspension. Again, lots of small parts go into making the four pairs of bogies. The tracks require 77 to 78 pieces per side, and the individual links are quite small and delicate. A steady hand will be required to cut them off the sprues without damage!
At this point we will have a pretty much complete T-20 Komsomoletz (with a few added bits) and it is time to move on to the noisemaker, the ZiS-2 57mm anti-tank gun. This is provided on one of two new sprues and assembly looks fairly straightforward. Unfortunately the barrel is a two-piece molding with some flash and seam lines, so significant cleanup will be required (hello aftermarket…RB barrel?). The gun can be installed in the firing or travel position.
In addition to the Mod 1937 Late and Mod 1940 versions used for the ZiS-30 conversion, the kit also contains all the parts necessary to build two early versions, Mode 1937 and Mod 1928 Early in Russian and Finnish service, and the assembly guides can be downloaded from the Mirror Models website.
A colour painting guide is included, referencing colours by Ammo by Mig. It includes painting for two vehicles, one in basic 4BO green, and another in an interesting 3-colour camoflauge scheme. Neither have any national insignia or unit markings and not units are identified on the sheet.
I am very excited to get cracking on this kit from Mirror Models as it is a very unusual subject and looks to be a real gem. The moldings are generally done well and the instructions look logical although some alignment tabs/pins would probably be helpful for aligning the body pieces. The diminutive size and high parts count mean that this is perhaps better suited to more experienced modellers, but with patience it should build up nice and produce a great looking model. I think this is a definite must have for fans of the more unusual vehicles out there.