Soviet SU-152 Self-propelled heavy howitzer - early and late versions
|Kit #: 07129 - 07130||
Edited by F. Giovagnorio
A Wee Bit Of Vehicle History
The SU-152 was a Soviet self-propelled 152-mm howitzer mounted in a fully enclosed casemate (or superstructure) similar in concept to the Sturmgeschütz III and Sturmpanzer Brummbär. While providing mobile artillery support the vehicle became a useful tank destroyer based on the shear explosive force of its 152-mm projectile. The vehicle is based on the KV tank chassis and looks similar to the ISU-152 which is based on the IS-2 Stalin tank chassis and which replaced the SU-152. It retains the muzzle brake of the towed 152-mm howitzer. Like the SU-85, most Sturmgeschütz, the ISU-152 and the Ferdinand self-propelled guns, there is no coaxial or ball mounted machine gun for close-in defense.
It is about time we see this somewhat recent release of this vehicle in small scale styrene plastic. Though we have had smallscale KV tanks from PST, ESCI and Trumpeter, and we have ISU-152 kits from the likes of PST, Italeri, S-Model and from Zvezda, this is the first SU-152 in styrene plastic I am aware of. Trumpeter produces both an early (kit 7129) and a late version (kit 7130). Alain Levesque of LEVA Productions produced a respectable resin kit of the SU-152 about 20 years ago.
Rather than the typical photograph of an as built model we often see on Trumpeter boxes, this time Trumpeter chose to have a simple port-side profile drawing. The box art of the SU-152 early kit 7129 is the photo of a completed SU-152 model. In the above box art, we see the boxy superstructure, lower than that of the later ISU-152. On the roof we see two domed armored ventilation fans. Exterior fuel tanks sit on the rear fender. The wheels and track are those of the KV tank: six steel roadwheels on torsion bar suspension, large sprocket wheel at the rear, three all steel return rollers. On the side of the casemate is a long rack of gun cleaning rods. The vehicle is painted in a green color with no markings.
The only obvious external difference between this kit and Trumpeter’s early SU-152 kit 7129 is that the early variant is missing the two ventilation domes on the roof, and the decal markings are different. I refer you to Henk of Holland’s website to view the parts of the SU-152 kit 7129 which only difffer in the superstruture part (called “turret side” on the parts diagram). Since the parts for this model kit are almost identical to the early SU-152 kit I think this review can cover both models.
The Kit Parts
I counted 55 pale gray color, injection
molded, styrene plastic parts on four sprues, and a sheet of water
slide decal markings. In addition to the parts on the sprues there
are five large loose parts. There is no resin, or etched brass parts
and no crew figures. The parts are molded well with no significant
sinkholes nor flash.
Above are the three hull and superstructure parts not attached to a sprue but loose in the bag and with no parts number. These casemate and lower hull parts are slide molded. The engine deck with fenders and the lower hull are that of the KV tank. On the casemate at upper right we see the three crew hatches are molded closed which is unfortunate as this boxy superstructure is crying for interior detail. The casemate roof has the two dome vents that are not present on the early SU-152 model. I see five periscopes atop the roof but the openings are all solid; it would be good to have given separate periscopes to glue on. For a good display model, I would drill out the periscope openings.
I like comparing things. Above at left is the ISU-152 hull part as interpreted by PST Company. In center is the upper hull part for the Trumpeter SU-152 kit 7130. At right is the LEVA Productions SU-152 cast resin hull part. We can see that the ISU-152 and the SU-152 have similar dimensions and casemates but have different engine decks. My references indicate that the engine deck on the LEVA kit is significantly too long, but the kit does offer open hatches. The LEVA IS-152 lacks the dome vents and appears to represent the early version like the Trumpeter kit 7129.
Giving a good view of the slide molded hull with suspension arms we also have a view of the two Sprue F at left and Sprue-E. The exterior fuel tanks (parts F10) are at lower left of the photo. These sprue are common to both Trumpeter kits.
Sprue E holds the gun barrel (part E4) with slotted muzzle brake and the mantlet parts (E1 & E6), as well as the grab handles (parts E5, E6 and E10) for the superstructure sides. The 152-mm howitzer muzzle is molded open.
Each sprue F supplies wheels and fuel tank parts for one side. In the center is the quick assembly track & wheels (parts A-A and B-B) While the track detail often suffers when the tracks are molded as one large part with the wheels, I appreciate how Trumpeter molded one side of the paired wheels separate so the complete set looks like paired wheels rather than one very thick wheel. The outside track surface detail is excellent but there is link detail on the inside surface of the track.
The last page of the assembly instructions gives us painting instructions for Russian Green color but no guidance on the markings for any particular vehicle. We will have to look at reference books and historical photos to model particular vehicles.
For comparison and reference, here is a photo of the old LEVA Productions SU-152 model in cast resin. The overall accuracy of the LEVA model is surpassed by the newer Trumpeter model but still very good for a resin model of the 1990’s. To be honest, the resin howitzer barrel has been replaced by a plastic one from a PST model. One reason for the snow scene is to mask roughness of the cast resin track.
Preview sample purchased by the author.