by: Jacob Hederstierna-Johnse [ ]
IntroductionDue to the lack of firepower to deal with the German fortifications and strongholds, the Stavka issued an order to develop a heavy self propelled gun to destroy these obstacles. There were a few different types developed, even some with multiple 45 mm. and 76 mm. guns, and one type with the massive 203 mm. gun, but the choice eventually landed on the SU 152. This vehicle was based on the KV-1S chassis, mounting the 152 mm. ML-20 howitzer in a closed super structure. The SU 152 entered service in the spring of 1943, and saw action at the battle of Kursk, where they with great effectiveness held even the mighty Panthers, Tigers and Ferdinands at bay. This gave it the nickname “Zvierboi”, which means animal hunter/killer.
ContentsThe kit comes in the familiar box from Trumpeter with a nice box art of the SU 152 by Vincent Wai. The kit contains 460 pieces, and the contents are as follows:
• 10 sprues molded in grey styrene.
• 12 sprues of tracks molded in light brown styrene.
• 1 hull tub molded in grey styrene.
• 1 sprue molded in clear styrene.
• 2 frets of PE.
• 1 length of metal cable.
• 1 metal barrel.
• 1 decal sheet.
• 1 instruction booklet.
• 1 paint guide in color.
The reviewThe first thing Trumpeter wants you to do is, to drill some holes and remove some of the material from the lower hull part. Then it is on to the assembly of the lower hull, which is pretty much straight forward. Trumpeter gives you the option of using either the molded styrene part for the exhaust heat shield, or using the PE parts, which is more in the right scale. The PE parts can also more easily be bent to simulate battle damage than the styrene parts. Trumpeter also provided a PE grill for the exhaust opening. The towing eyes on the back plate have got some nice molded weld lines, but they look a bit too small for what you would expect on a Russian AFV.
The whole of the lower hull has a lot of bolt details, and the holes for installing the road wheel arms are hexagonal, so that the arms will be placed in a straight line, and you will not have the problem with “floating” wheels.
Next are the engine deck and the suspension system. The engine deck has some nice details, such as the lifting rings on the big hatch for the engine compartment, and the intake grills, even though these would be preferred in PE. Strangely, Trumpeter does not mention that the two round hatches for the transmission can be built either open or closed. They are nicely detailed on the underside, so if one chooses to use some AM product transmission; these hatches will do just fine.
The drive sprockets, idler wheels, return rollers and road wheels are all beautifully molded. They are well detailed on both sides, especially the road wheels, which really look crisp.
The tracks come as individual track links, which are very nicely molded. If you are careful and use a sharp blade, these will acquire a minimum of cleaning up. The instruction book shows that 88 links are needed for each side, which leaves 16 track links for extras.
When the tracks are installed, it is time for the fenders. These are very crisp, and have nice detail on the underside. The holders for the fenders come in PE, which looks more in scale than styrene molded ones would do. They might be a little fiddlier to construct, but the result is much better.
Next stage is the superstructure, and again, Trumpeter neglects to give you the option on whether the crew hatches can be built open or closed. They are detailed on the underside, but do have some nasty punch marks, which will have to be taken care of. Trumpeter also gives out a correction warning at this stage. The parts WY3 should not be used.
The sides of the superstructure have a good-looking surface, which represents the texture of rolled steel very well, but the best surface details are found on the gun mantle. This is the finest parts on the kit itself. The rough surfaces have a really realistic look , and it depicts these cast steel parts perfectly.
The gun comes in two options. You can choose the old school way of two halves, which are glued together, and then have to be cleaned up, or you can use the metal barrel provided, which goes with a beautifully slide molded flame suppresser – a really great-looking piece.
Finally the cylindrical fuel tanks are mounted. These come in three round parts, and not the old two halves, and therefore acquire a minimum of clean up. Smart move by Trumpeter.
Last are the tow cables, made of copper wire, which are very soft and flexible, so no problems in mounting those.
MarkingsTrumpeter provides a nice decal sheet, with some very cool-looking slogans and numbers, but where to put them? In the review sample I received, there is no guidance to the decals. It does have a painting and marking guide, but this only gives guidance to the painting and not anything for decals. I’m sure that Trumpeter will correct this issue in the future.
ConclusionThis kit represents this deadly beast, which the SU 152 really is, very well. Trumpeter has come a long way, and they do provide us with some great details and subjects, but there is still room for improvements. I think some of the smaller details could be more sharp and crisp. Like all the bolts on the lower hull and on the roof of the super structure. These are supposed to be hexagonal in shape, but they all look more like large rivets. And the weld lines should have been bigger and made cruder.