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Built Review
172
SU-152 Soviet Assault Gun
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by: Jan Etal [ TREAD_GEEK ]

Introduction

Introduced in early 1943 the SU-152 was an assault gun based on the KV-1S tank. Originally designed to provide direct fire support for infantry units, the SU-152 was soon found to also be an effective tank killer. Weighing in at approximately 46 tons this assault gun was armed with a 152mm ML-20 L32 howitzer firing separate loading, or two piece, ammunition. The fighting compartment housed a crew of five and 20 rounds of ammunition.

Figures from numerous sources vary, but most estimates suggest the number produced were from 640 to a little over 700 SU-152’s before production ceased. An improved version in the form of the ISU-152 began replacing it in the field by late 1943.

The subject of this review is the 1/72 scale Pegasus SU-152 Soviet Assault Gun, kit No. 7668.

Contents

Upon opening the box you are presented with four sprues moulded in a medium green styrene and a two sided half page instruction sheet. Each pair of sprues is used to produce one vehicle. Total parts count is 64 pieces with each individual vehicle requiring 32 parts to complete.

The instructions comprise six steps with multiple parts placement shown in exploded view drawings. While part reference numbers are provided in the instructions, there are no reference numbers on the sprues, nor a part numbering diagram. There are no painting directions and no decals are provided.

Review

From looking at the sprues one can immediately note almost a contradiction. Some parts are rather plain yet others exhibit very delicate and fine detail. Flash was absolutely minimal with sink holes and ejector pin marks for the most part being limited to surfaces that will not be seen after construction. A few rather large sprue gates were evident, in particular those that attach the larger track section to the sprue.

The upper portions of the fighting compartment have a nice cast texture to them and some weld seams are also evident. The gun mantlet pieces also show casting detail effectively. Rivet details are plentiful on the plate sections of the body but the engine ventilation screens or grills are quite plain. Moulded on hatch detailing is effective and the gunners hatch is a separate piece with both exterior and interior detail.

The suspension pieces are of an interesting configuration in that the tracks, outer road wheels, return rollers, idler and drive sprocket are moulded as one piece. The track portion has a pleasant sag over the return rollers and very fine detail can be seen in the reproduction of the numerous track guide horns. What is most impressive was that the centre of each guide horn was hollow and I have yet to see this in this scale. Unfortunately, the track section itself is almost totally devoid of any details other than a raised section signifying the separation point between each link.

The inner suspension components (idlers, sprockets, road wheels) are as finely detailed as the their outer counterparts. Two auxiliary external fuel drums are provided to fit on the rear fenders and are somewhat plainer than other kit parts. A small toolbox is provided for the right side but lacks any back to it while the one headlight is also rather light on detail. The main gun comes with the bore open so no drilling will be required. The muzzle brake sides are reproduced as raised details.

Build Observations

The first three steps of the construction process went reasonably smooth. The first part to fit after removing the track sections from the sprue are to attach the idlers to the large suspension moulding. This is a must or the last road wheel will not be able to fit into the body. The next step was to attach the inner sprocket halves to their lower side hull locations.

Attaching the road wheels is a bit tricky due to the small size of the parts involved. If the builder has more substantial fingers, then tweezers will need to be employed. The road wheels themselves also possess a connecting arm that attaches them to the lower hull. Each road wheel has a larger locating hole located at its bottom that will mate with a positioning pin located at the base of its external counterpart. The fit was snug but quite positive. After I had one side completed I attempted to see how the section with all its locating pins would fit into the body. I was happy to see that except for a bit of tightness with the sprocket’s pin, all pins lined up and inserted into their respective holes in the hull side. It is a credit to those that designed this kit that such a complex assembly point could go so smoothly.

The fourth step in the instructions involves attaching the two completed suspension assemblies to the hull sides. As stated earlier, the alignment and fit of all the locating pins into their respective receiving holes was quite positive. The only other parts to put in place are two front towing eyes. As these parts are so small, care will need to be taken in their placement.

Step five in the construction is the placement of various pieces on the upper hull. These comprise the external fuel tanks, toolbox, headlight and loader’s hatch. A two piece gun mantlet and the gun tube itself are assembled and then placed into the hull front. With the exception of the loader’s hatch, most parts have a stiff but positive fit that suggests that the model could be assembled mostly without glue. Some minor sanding may be required in order to ease assembly.

The final assembly step sees the placement of the rear fighting compartment wall and rear hull plate. After these two steps the upper and lower hulls are mated and assembly is complete.

While in many ways nicely detailed, the kit vehicles as they stand struck me as somewhat plain. After studying numerous pictures of the subject I felt a bit of simple embellishment would add to their appearance.

Many pictures of these vehicles showed them with an assortment of grab handles and rails on the upper hull. To fabricate these grab handles on the fighting compartment sides I raided my spares box and found six unused grab handles from a previous Soviet tank build. As each SU-152 appears to have at least six of these, I decided to use the styrene ones on one kit build and construct six more using .035” (.09 cm) brass wire for the other. I used a styrene part as a template for the six brass versions. Following this I attached the plastic versions to one SU. To attach the brass versions required the drilling of appropriate sized locating holes into the plastic of the fighting compartment. With that accomplished I used gap filling CA glue to fix them in place.

From further pictures, I noted that on a large domed hatch just behind the crew compartment there was a prominent “V” shaped support/bracket that lay flat on top of it. Interestingly, the kit had a raised plastic knob on the hatch where this object would have been attached. The knob was large enough that I was able to drill a small hole through it. After this I formed an appropriately shaped piece from brass wire and threaded it through the hole. This was done to both vehicles and it was again affixed with CA glue.

Some SU-152 and their KV brethren showed various tubular rails along the upper side edges of the engine compartment. I decided to add some of these to my builds using a similar technique to the wire grab handles. The exhaust outlets are basically two small mounds of plastic over the engine compartment so at this time I also decided to at least drill out openings in them.

After reviewing more pictures of these vehicles I desired to add a few touches to further enhance and individualize them. For the first I chose to mount a large fuel drum on the right fender forward of the kit external fuel tank. The drum was from the spares box and after assembling it and cleaning it up I created a mounting frame and attached it. On the opposite fender from this drum I placed a scratch built storage box based on ones from previous Soviet vehicles I have built.

For the sake of this article, I decided to do some painting of the more or less complete SU-152. I used Model Master 4807 Russian Armor Green straight from the bottle to pre-shade areas of the assault gun. This was followed by an overall spray of the same colour but progressively lightened with flat white. The tracks detail painting was begun with Tamyia XF-56 Metallic Grey and further washes of various colours. While not 100% completed I believe that it shows the potential for what is basically a simple kit.

Conclusion

For what many refer to as a fast build kit, the detail on this kit is good. In some ways it is far better than other “fast build” kits that I have seen. For the beginner this might be a perfect kit to experiment with. For the more serious, there is quite a bit of potential to really enhance it.

The main down side is the rather sparse to nonexistent outer track detail. I have seen it suggested that some drilling, scribing and use of styrene could be used to enhance the links. Perhaps an easier solution would be to mate the lower hull/suspension of some other manufacturers KV kit with the Pegasus upper hull. Considering that you get two of these assault guns for such a low price it might be an interesting option for some.

I will recommend this kit with the previously stated caveats.
SUMMARY
Highs: Inexpensive with good detail. Tight, but good, parts fit.
Lows: Poor external track detail, no part identification and no decals or painting instructions.
Verdict: A fine kit for those new to the hobby or interested in wargaming pieces. Possesses some great opportunity for enhancement.
Percentage Rating
80%
  Scale: 1:72
  Mfg. ID: 7668
  Suggested Retail: $10.00
  PUBLISHED: May 01, 2011
  NATIONALITY: Russia
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 84.51%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 91.50%

About Jan Etal (tread_geek)
FROM: ONTARIO, CANADA

I've been building models since about age 10 with the occasional hiatus due to real life events. First armour model was a 1/76 Airfix Tiger I and was followed by a 1/72 Revell F4U Corsair. I've built primarily 1/76 and 1/72 armour and aircraft but occasionally have tinkered in other larger scales....

Copyright ©2017 text by Jan Etal [ TREAD_GEEK ]. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Very interesting to see one of these fast assembly kits reviewed. I have seen some from other makers and they have been pretty poor. I am not an expert builder but the kit is a bit too simple for me. Always nice to see these things before you buy. Regards, AJ
MAY 05, 2011 - 11:36 AM
Jan, I have seen a number of these type of fast build / war gaming kits in the 72nd scale range from a few manufactures. I’m glad to see this review as it helps to point out any assembly fit issues, clarity of assembly instructions and quality of decals issued (if supplied with kit). Looks like these kits are far better than the tank kits of yesteryear that I started building when I was young and starting out in this hobby. The kit that you’ve reviewed is most excellent for the beginner and it would not be out of the question for the advanced modeler to turn it into a nicely detailed representation of the real vehicle as you are doing! From the photographs you presented this kit is loaded with a lot of surface detail with nicely textured armor panels and reasonably detailed suspension and hull parts just like on the real vehicles. And the quality of the castings is up to current molding standards. The only deficiency I noted is the detail of the outer surfaces of the tracks and these could be handled with a little mud, or as you mention, modified via drilling and adding bits of sheet styrene. This manufacture is putting out a WWII German E-Series fast build tank that I have had my eye on for some time now. And as this E-Series tank is yet unavailable from any of the other Braille manufactures I may go ahead and spring for it after seeing this review and noting the quality of this manufactures kit. Thanks, -Eddy
MAY 08, 2011 - 08:23 PM
Sorry to take so long to respond but... @AJB - Thanks for the comments and can I say, don't totally write this kit or the manufacturer off. There is a lot of potential with it and for the price it makes for a nice base to experiment on. @Braille - Eddy, from what I have read of other Pegasus kits, they all appear to have in many ways an equal or similar level of detail. As I state above and you imply, they can potentially be transformed to really be something with some work. Here's how the kit has progressed with the first stages of weathering. The process so far has involved two applications of different coloured textured medium. The base of each is Snow-Tex white textured medium with one coat having Buff acrylic paint mixed in and the other coat with Dark Earth. Each are applied randomly with a "stipple" brush. The combination is great as you can vary the texture and thickness of the mix. More thinner and it gets rather soupy. Less thinner and you can end up with thicker clumpy "mud". I'll post more progress pictures as the build nears a more completed state. Cheers, Jan
MAY 23, 2011 - 11:41 AM
Well, best laid plans are gone to waste when the necessities of everyday life decide that they require one's attention. I put down where some Future acrylic where the decals were to go, then the decals and added a tarp from the spares box. Next step was to begin distressing the white decals with various washes of acrylic and then more Future mixed with Tamiya Flat Base. My next step was to pick out subtle details (highlighting and shadowing) with greys, browns and tans. Even with acrylics it's a slow process as there is a need to wait for each layer to dry. Not there yet but it's progressing. I am able to devote a few hours to this project today so with some luck I might get this one finished. Thanks for looking. Cheers, Jan
JUN 12, 2011 - 11:22 AM
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