Saturday, 5 March 2016

1/72 Egyptian 122mm SPG Project - Part 1

Oh, happy day! The final part of the set of components that I needed to begin my Egyptian SPG arrived today. I'm quite excited...

Today's parcel contained Zvezda's 1/72 T-34/85 kit. This is a fairly new model and is based on the success they had with their T-34/76 m43, of which I have an example of. In fact, I was originally going to make this conversion using the earlier T-34, but decided that there were too many differences in the hull and that it would be easier to just buy the correct T-34/85 model instead.

As it happens, I am curious to see Zvezda's take on the T-34/85 - the c1944 development of the original 76mm gunned T-34 - as I am in the midst of completing PSC's T-34/85. Zvezda's kit is marketed as an 'easy build' model, so comparing this to PSC's 'easy build' will be quite fascinating. But, that's an aside and I'll get to that later.

The Egyptian 122mm Self-Propelled Gun
Now, I'd love to give you a little history of this cobbled-together Egyptian SPG, but I'm struggling to get any information about this vehicle (so far). I'd hazard a guess that this was used by the Egyprian army* around the time of the Yom Kippur War (1973), and represents just one of a variety of ad-hoc armour designs that the Egyptians deployed.

* The Syrians made a similar conversion, apparently.

Sadly, one of the better quality photos of a 122SPG. Turret in 'travelling' position.
The concept was very simple; re-use obsolete T-34/85s by slapping a Soviet D-30 122 mm howitzer into a makeshift turret. It's interesting to note that this was not an altogether new turret, but rather a conversion of the standard T-34/85 turret, which was enlarged by the addition of large steel sheets onto the original tank turret.

A useful shot if the front of the 122SPG in which you can just make out the shape
of the original T-34/85 turret, over which the Egyptians built the larger 'box'
turret of their AFV conversion.
This was intended to be a support artillery vehicle and not a front-line tank. Which was just as well, as the sheet metal turret was hardly protection against much more than shrapnel and light arms.

(Hopefully, I can find out more about this AFV.)

The conversion components
The main part of this project is, of course, Black Dog's conversion kit. This contains the Egyptian SPG turret, replacement 'starfish' (late T-34/85) road-wheels and some hull furniture.

Jewel in the crown is the immense SPG122 turret...

Downside maybe the resin D-30 122mm gun. I'm not a fan of resin for tank guns, I simply think resin is too much of a volatile material and I've yet to see a straight resin gun! (I know you can straighten out resin guns quite easily by submerging the component in warm water, but they always feel too spindly to me.)

To rectify this niggle I have bought a lovely RB Models metal and brass D-30 gun barrel. It is a little piece of scale model porn...

And last, but certainly not least, is today's arrival - Zvezda's 1/72 T-34/85. As I mentioned earlier, this is a fairly recent addition to the Zvezda line, I can't even find a review of the kit.* But, I was quite confident that this would be a very nice model of the Soviet WW2 medium tank as I already have their earlier T-34/76 m43 kit (and it's really very nice).

Zvezda have taken their T-34 further by adding the necessary parts to turn their model into a Model 1944 variant of the T-34/85, with the 'step-jointed' Zavrod 183 style turret. This involved new 'flat' fenders, hull furniture, 'full spider' road-wheels and external fuel pods.

Of course, I won't be needing the turret parts or the roads wheels - these will be replaced by the Black Dog conversion kit parts.

* Typically, I've just found a review of this kit on - it's generally quite positive.

Final notes
The Black Dog conversion kit was intended, I believe, for the Dragon or Revell T-34/85 kits. I don't know - yet - whether my using the Zevezda model will have an impact on the build. We shall see.

I was very tempted to buy a Dragon kit for this conversion, as I think I am about ready to try a 'premium build' (as thus far I have mostly made budget 'easy builds' and cheap conversions). But, in the end, I was more keen to try out the Zevezda kit. Though, as far as I have seen - by way of reviews - I don't believe there is a huge difference in quality between the Zvezda hull and those of, say, Revell's or Dragon's (and certainly the Zvezda hull can be brought up to near-Dragon level, by adding one of the readily available etch accessory sets).

Next: We'll have a look at the Zvezda kit parts and do a test assembly.


  1. That's pretty eclectic - even by my standards!

    1. Blimey, that's saying something, Mr. Gow! ;)