Friday, 2 February 2018

Zvezda 1/100 SU-152 'Animal Killer' - Part 1

My 'Battle of Kursk' project trundles forward apace with this monstrous addition to my Soviet force. The 152mm gunned SU-152, known as the 'Animal Killer' (or 'Beast Killer') as it was designed specifically to hunt the German's Tigers, Panthers and Elephants.

An abandoned SU-152 assault gun inspected by German troops, Russia, 1943.
(These Germans must be counting their blessings!) Source: Wikipedia
Quick Overview
I've made no secret that I love Zvezda's little 1/100 range of armour. Their level of accuracy for a simple 'easy build' war-game model is excellent (bar one detail) and the cost is very attractive compared to the competition.

However, every silver lining has a grey cloud attached and Zvezda kits have two slight drawbacks; they don't tend to come with optional builds/accessories and their tracks are...Well...'Bare bones'.

The Zvezda SU-152 follows this format, the kit has only 12 parts with no 'optionals' and the tracks are a little disappointing. BUT, these kits are what they are and as war-game markers they are more than adequate.

Unfortunately, to keep the part count down something had to give and that was the complexity (or lack thereof) of the tracks. Making the track sub-assembly one-piece - including wheels, suspension and the tracks themselves - seems to have impacted just how much detail can be included on the moulding. I guess they figured that - at 1/100 scale and being partially hidden by the fenders - the track pattern would not be a overtly noticeable feature. This is a matter of opinion.

(As mentioned in my 1/100 T-34/76 post, the best tracks are those done by Plastic Soldier Company. But they achieved their nice track components by using three-piece assemblies.)

However, the rest of the detail is well represented for the scale and is crisp and delicately moulded. (Other 1/100 armour manufacturers tend to go for a slightly exaggerated 'chunky' look so that details show up better - and are more easily painted.)

Completed in just a few minutes, at tabletop distance it's a lovely looking model.
The massive 152mm gun barrel is not 'drilled out', but that's easily remedied. I drilled a tiny pilot hole first - to ensure the hole was centred properly - before drilling out the final barrel width with a larger drill.

Although the kit does not come with options, it might be nice to add some stowage. Things like tool boxes or a piece of timber for 'unditching', which was a common practise on Soviet tanks. I could scratch build these easily.

Next: Painting.

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