Wednesday, 9 March 2016

1/72 Egyptian 122mm SPG Project - Part 3

Having examined the T-34/85 tank kit that will be used in this conversion, it's time to look at the main event! Central to this project is Black Dog's Egyptian SPG 122mm conversion set [cat. no. T72027]...

It's a small collection of supplementary parts which are intended for the Revell or Dragon 1/72 T-34/85 kits, but I don't think it's vitally important that just these makes of kit are used for the conversion (they just happen to be very good models of the WW2 Soviet medium tank).

The polyurethane components come jammed in a small plastic bag, something I never like (with good reason as it turns out)...

So let's see what we have. First of all, we have a set of post-war style 'starfish' T-34/85 road wheels (there are hints that these *may* have appeared very late WW2, but I haven't seen any photographs to prove this).

Patience is the key here, as all these wheels will require a varying degree of TLC. Flash is apparent on them all. I'm also a wee bit suspicious about the make-up of these wheels, as I *believe* the Starfish wheels were supposed to have a small hole in each of the raised 'spokes' [see 'Identifying variants of the T-34/85' Brett Green on].

Edit: Nothing is ever straight forward! Apparently, certain T-34/85s were retro-fitted with T-55 style 'Starfish' wheels. On this type of wheel the holes at the top of the raised 'spokes' are not so apparent (but it is still there). Also, the 1963 upgraded T-34/85 (designated T-34/85M) was fitted with these T-55 pattern wheels as standard. I have read that - and it's probably important to note - that these are T-55 *style* wheels, they are not actually T-55 wheels - as the two wheels are different diameters so not swappable. To further muddy the waters, I have seen photos of Egytian 122 SPG's with wartime T-34/85 'dish' style wheels...Go figure!

Next we have a couple of 'sprues' of hull furniture, and we see the problem with packing resin parts tightly in a plastic bag...

Nice boxes for the hull fenders, but - oh dear...
Drat! Not irreparable, but quite an annoying breakage.
The broken part I received was the delicate gun traveling lock. This component is fitted to the rear of the T-34/85's hull and is designed to hold the 122mm gun barrel securely in place for travelling (in 'travel mode' the Egyptian 122 SPG's turret is turned to the rear). Now it's not a hugely critical break, I can glue it back together OK - it's just annoying.

And so, we get to the mean feature...The turret...

Quite a slab of resin! Again, some rough edges which will have to be cleaned up, but generally very nice detail. One of the nice things is that you can just make out the shape of the original T-34/85 turret that has been absorbed into the design of this turret...

This highlighted area of the Egyptian turret conversion is the part of the original
T-34/85 turret onto which the sheet metal expansion has been constructed!
And finally, we have the 122mm howitzer itself. A Soviet 2A18 (D-30) artillery piece was used as the basis for the SPG conversion, this was originally a towed field piece which first went into service in 1963. It's probably worth noting that while this was an indirect fire gun it did have the ability to shoot AT ammunition and there were 'emergency' direct fire sights, but as desperate as the Egyptians were for armour during the Yom Kippur War it would have been a brave man (or a fool) who would have wanted to take one of these vehicles into the front line!

The resin gun of the kit is what it is, but - unfortunately - the very distinctive muzzle break is plagued by the same flash as some of the other parts of the kit. This flash is far harder to reach, though...

There are four parts to the gun kit, the barrel, two halves of the muzzle break and the recoil block (which sits atop the gun).

RB Models metal 1/72 D-30 122mm Howitzer
A solution to the so-so Black Dog 122mm gun is to buy a third-party metal model instead. I mean, if you've gone this far to make something a little out of the ordinary you might as well go all the way!

Now, isn't that much better?

Well, it's going to be a challenge, no doubt about it. But I want to step up a gear in my model making and this seems an interesting subject with which to do this.

Next: Checking the Black Dog turret against the Zvezda hull!


  1. Rather you than me! All those wee bits of resin.

  2. Looks a decent kit- may I ask where you picked it up from?