SU-122 Soviet Self-Propelled Gun
Zvezda 1/72, Ref. 5043
Following the release of the SU-85 in 2020, Zvezda is enlarging its range of SPGs with the earlier SU-122. This vehicle was designed during 1942 as an assault gun for infantry support, a type of weapon very successfully used by the German army with their StuG III.
Just over 600 were manufactured between December 1942 and mid-1943.
The new release is part of the growing series of ‘Snap Fit’ kits. Those are not particularly aimed at children nor newcomers in the hobby, but rather at wargamers.
The quality of the moulding and of the fit, however, makes them highly interesting to scale modellers, even those with little experience with small scale AFVs. The instructions only call for the use of glue for some of the smallest parts. All in all, the kit is still made up of 76 parts.
The ingenious design of the external fuel tanks, like that of all parts it must be said, reduces the prep work and, provided one works cleanly, dispenses with the use of any filler.
Each track is again provided as a single black hard plastic flat element that must be bent around idler and drive wheel. The central road wheels being ‘special’ in that they sandwich and hold tight a couple (top and bottom) of larger than normal guide horns that will be invisible once the outer wheel had been added.
Although I like the idea and the system, previous experience has shown that the bent track around the idler and drive wheel is weakened if left ‘as is’ or further weakened if any liquid glue is used to secure the assembly. My advice would be to bend the track as well as possible and use superglue to strengthen the bond with each wheel.
Zvezda indicates that the tracks should also be added before the upper hull is put into place, suggestion I of course not followed and that led to problems once I attempted to attach them onto the central inner road wheels.
Colour-scheme-wise, Zvezda offers two options, one Topside Green-overall with white patriotic slogans (decals) and one in a White-overall winter scheme with Red stars and numbers (decals). Colour references are given for Tamiya and Zvezda paints.
A stunning little kit of a decidedly ‘Soviet’-looking AFV.
Review by Domi Jadoul; pictures bt Domi Jadoul & Zvezda.