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Soviet SU-18 Self-Propelled Howitzer. 1:35


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Soviet SU-18 Self-Propelled Howitzer

HobbyBoss 1:35




Initial experience with tanks in the Soviet Union was related to captured foreign models (British and French) used by the Whites during the Civil War. However, in 1920, fourteen burned-out captured French Renault FTs were dismantled, studied and replicated by the Krasnoye Sormovo Factory. Fifteen exact replicas delivered in 1922, called the “Russki Reno”. These were the first locally-built Soviet tanks in service. However, they were plagued by manufacturing defects, but gave enough experience to the Russian engineers to plan a new model. This came with the formation of a “tank bureau” in 1924, which was charged with writing a specification for the first Soviet indigenous model. This called for a 3-ton tank (later 5) capable of a 12 km/h (7.5 mph) speed, having 16 mm (0.63 in) of armour and armed with a 37 mm (1.46 in) gun, similar to the French Puteaux design, but with a longer barrel.


In November 1929 ANII K. M. Ivanov, commissioned by the UMM RKKA produced a self-propelled gun based on the T-18, as well as the ammunition carrier for it. The prototype was a captured French Renault FT-17BS. The SU-18 kept the same design as the French vehicle, but replaced the turret with one that resembles a truncated pyramid. The SU-18 used the 76.2-mm regimental gun model 1927 with a slotted muzzle brake to reduce rollback. It had an ammunition capacity of 4-6 rounds and no machine guns. Other prototypes were created using a high power 37-mm PC-2 gun and a 45-mm model 1930 tank gun, which was planned to be installed on T-24 tanks. Armour consisted of 5–7 mm thick plates. The ammunition carrier could hold 10 trays with 50 rounds each of 76.2 mm shells, or 16 trays of 169 shells each 37mm or 45mm guns. The crew consisted of one driver and one gunner. The decision to build the SU-18 was made on June 11 and stipulated the delivery of a prototype by October 10, 1930. However, due to the small ammunition capability and the limitations of the T-18 (a narrow gauge chassis and a high center of gravity) the design was abandoned in favour of larger and better self-propelled gun designs and further work on the SU-18 was stopped.


The Model

The kit comes in a standard Hobbyboss top opening, and quite attractive box, with an artistic representation of the tank trundling along in the country. Inside there are five sprues of beige, almost caramac, (for those old enough to remember), coloured styrene, three separate parts for the hull, turret and turret base, two brown sprues of track links, a small photo etch sheet and a small decal sheet. The parts are really well moulded with no flash and only a few moulding pips needing removal.  Although not to everyones taste, the track links, whilst pretty small, are beautifully moulded, and fortunately only 102 required, (51 per side), which isn’t so bad considering the small size of the links.








Considering the small size of the model, it’s nice to see that Hobbyboss haven’t gone mad on the detail as they have done in the past, particularly the suspension. The main suspension units are moulded as a single piece and all the modeller has to do is add the wheels. There are two units with four wheels and single unit with six wheels per side. The completed units are glued into position on the lower hull, followed by a single return roller aft and a six wheeled bank forward. The idler axles and sprocket gear covers are attached, followed by the front glacis plate and single shackle at the front.








On each side of the front hull there is a two piece bracket. The left hand one is fitted with a headlamp, whilst the right hand one si fitted with a horn. Both the sprocket and idler wheels on each side are two piece affairs, which, when assembled are glued into position. The two hatches that cover the driving position are each given a grab handle and glued into place. With the lower hull done, it’s onto the so called turret. The howitzer itself is made up from seven parts for the recoil slide and four for the gun itself. The assembly is then glued to the floor plate, which in turn is glued to the support brackets below it. The turret is then slide over the barrel and glued into position, followed by the two rear doors, each with separate grab handles.






The turret rings of the original FT-17 is fitted with angle plates and grab handles before having the two track guards attached and the drivers viewing port. The turret is then attached to the original ring assembly before the whole lot is glued to the lower hull assembly. The PE grille plate is then folded and rolled to shape and fitted to the rear bulkhead, which in turn is fitted to the rear of the hull. Two engine hatches are attached, followed by the three piece slide panel, (unditching panel), that is fitted to the rear which is in turn fitted with a stowage plate. Then it’s on with the tracks, which probably are best made up into link and length style to get the sit/sag right.





The small decal sheet contains just two red stars for each side of the turret. It’s also very simple to paint as it comes in only one colour, Russian green





Hobbyboss have been releasing some really obscure vehicles from between the wars/early WWII Russian vehicles and they should be commended for it, at least there is a little more information on this vehicle than there si for others I have reviewed.  It is certainly a rather odd looking little tank will make an interesting addition to any modellers collection.




Review sample courtesy of

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Hi Shar,


Interesting little model that. Thanks for the review and, funnily enough, I can confirm that the colour is very similar to a Caramac as I am munching on one right now!


Christian, exiled to africa

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As you say kudos to these guys for coming out with these weird and wonderful kits, although I have little interest in the subject matter I find myself wanting to get it.

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