Review: MiniArt SU-122 Early Production

MiniArt SU-122 Early Production

The Soviet High Command became interested in assault guns following the success of German Sturmgeschutz IIIs. By 25 November 1942 the first prototype of what would be the SU-122 was ready. SU-122 production began in December 1942 with 27 vehicles built that month. The original plan for production beyond that point was to produce 100 SU-122s each month. Production continued until the summer of 1944, by which time a total of about 1,150 SU-122s had been built.

The SU-122 proved effective in its intended role of direct fire on strongholds. The massive concussion of the 122mm HE round was reportedly enough to blow the turret off even a Tiger I if a direct hit was scored, a trait shared with the larger 152mm howitzers. The new BP-460A HEAT projectile was introduced in May 1943; however, its primitive warhead design was only minimally more effective than brute concussive effects of the old HE shell. However, like most howitzers accuracy of the M-30 was less than that of contemporary weapons designed for the anti-tank role.

A small number of SU-122s survived the war. Currently, only one example remains, on display in the Kubinka Tank Museum.

The only other 1/35 SU-122 on the market is the Tamiya kit which dates back to 1976. It’s not a bad kit as I remember, having built it many years ago, but it is not up to the standards of modern kits and especially the kits that MiniArt is producing these days. MiniArt produced an initial production SU-122 a short while ago with a complete interior. This kit doesn’t have the interior parts of the earlier kit, not all of them anyway. This makes it both cheaper to buy and a bit faster to build.

The box is a large top opening box and contains:

  • Total Parts 565
  • 488 Plastic Parts on 54 sprues of various sizes.
  • 73 Photoetched Parts
  • 4 Clear Plastic Parts
  • Decals Sheet For 4 Options
  • Full-colour Instruction Booklet of 14 pages with 42 steps

As you can see in the attached  images the instructions  are in exploded black and white diagrams where each step  is usually  pretty small and straightforward. Things are clearly laid out and parts are labelled with sprue and part numbers. Colours are also mentioned where needed. Steps 1 to 17 covers the building of the lower hull  and suspension. I would be interested to see if some of the springs could be replaced with real springs to make the  suspension  movable. There are a few small interior details in the lower hull. Steps 18 to 22  build  the breech end of the main gun and steps 23 and 24 add it to the lower hull,  along with drive and idler wheels. Step 25 adds the exterior parts of the main gun and then we start building  the upper hull. The main compartment  is made from  left and right  side walls which have some  internal details. Step 28 covers the roof of the fighting compartment and also has  internal details. Steps 30 to 35 build the top of the engine compartment and mudguards and it all comes together in step 36.  After step 37 adds the final pieces of fighting compartment it’s mostly adding smaller details such as  mudguards and external fuel tanks.

The level of detail is very good and this kit is the best on the market right now.

The paints used are on the first page of the instructions in colour and are called out in AMMO, Humbrol, Mr. Color, Testors, Vallejo and  by name. Paints are called out where needed in the instructions, usually for interior details that you won’t be able to get to once the kit is built.

There are 4 build options; 3 in all green and one with winter whitewash. A small decal sheet supplies all the necessary decals.

  • Bryansk Front, summer 1943
  • 4th Tank Army, Bryansk Front, August 1943
  • Uralmash, Sverdlovsk, 1943 (This one is obviously at the factory)
  • 1434th Artillery Regt, Leningrad, December 1943 (Whitewash)

This kit is currently on sale for approx US$38.00 plus shipping at HobbyEasy.

Conclusion
This is a very good kit and streets ahead of the Tamiya kit, which is the only alternative apart from the full interior kit, also from MiniArt. The level of detail is very good even down to the cast texture on the mantle. The workable tracks are a good move and I’m really interested to see if it can be made into a working suspension by replacing some plastic parts with real springs. This kit should sell well and be quite popular seeing as it is the only modern kit of this type.

Many thanks to MiniArt for the review sample.

Paul Tosney – Editor
ModelBuilder International
Scifiantasy

 

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