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Julien

Su-122-54 Tank Destroyer Late Type (37042) - 1:35 MiniArt

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Su-122-54 Tank Destroyer Late Type (37042)

1:35 MiniArt

 

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Not to be confused with the unsuccessful Su-122 of WWII era, the Su-122-54 (Object 600) was still an armoured tank destroyer without a turret but built on the more recent T-54 chassis as its basis, although this was lengthened slightly to accommodate the alterations that included a fixed casemate for the gun, this modified chassis having a larger space between the third and forth set of wheels. The gun had limited elevation and traverse like many other tank-killers and Self-Propelled Guns (SPGs) to allow fine tuning of aim.  It was fitted with the D-49 L/48.4 rifled main gun with 35 rounds carried onboard, and a pair of KPVT 14.5mm heavy machine guns with 600 rounds, one mounted coaxially to the barrel, the other on the commander's station on the roof, which rotated to give fire all round.  The commander also had a TCD-09 stereoscopic rangefinder available for targeting, and could be used out as far as 5000m at extreme range.   They were only produced in small quantities (under 100 numbers are hard to find), and were kept well away from prying eyes for much of their career, with NATO barely mentioning them in reports, despite them playing a part in some of the major exercises and deployments of the 60s most notably Operation Danube the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. In fact the whole development, deployment and retirement seems to have been largely ignored by NATO. If any modellers are interested an interesting article on the gun can be found in the July/September 2016 issue of Fort Benning's Armour publication here.

 

The Kit

This is a new tooling from the masters of armour at MiniArt, using some of the sprues from their successful T-54/55 series, and arrives after the Early version we reviewed here.  It arrives in their standard sized box, and inside are a lot of sprues of varying sizes.  There are 55 sprues of grey styrene, two in clear, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, decal sheet and instruction booklet, with colour profiles at the rear for paint and markings.  If you're not familiar with MiniArt kits, 55 sprues might seem a lot, but if you scroll down to the pictures you'll see that some are small, and often there are upwards of dozens of the same sprue.

 

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If you have built a T-54, you will recognise the construction of the lower hull, which is achieved by adding the suspension mounts to the lower panel, threading the torsion bars through the hull, attaching all the suspension parts such as the swing-arms, dampers and such to the side, then putting the sides with separate final drive housing and rear bulkhead in place.  Between the two sides is a firewall, which is there as a structural element, as there is no interior to this kit.  That said, you do get a full-length breech, which is assembled with its big coaxial machine gun and slipped through the big bolted mantlet and then set aside while the casemate is made up.  The roof of the casemate is first to be put together, with four hatches on the roof, mating with the other sides before the whole assembly is placed on the top of the hull.  Worthy of note are the two diagonal corners to the casemate, which are separate parts that normally leads to worries about alignment.  MiniArt have sensibly provided a pair of angled plates to glue inside the joints, which ensures that the sides and diagonals obtain the correct angle to mate with the glacis plate, which by now has the mantlet and breech installed.  The wide fenders are also glued in place at this stage, with large tabs holding them to the top of the hull at the front, and two pins that locate into the side of the engine compartment, which is slightly raised compared to the front.  The rectangular hatch sports the commander's periscope, and the larger round hatch at the rear has the huge KPVT machine gun attached to it, with twin magazines, one each side on a sturdy mount.  The engine deck is made up in three sections, with louvres and hatches, plus small parts, some of which are PE for scale fidelity.  A large storage box fits onto the deck once it is in place, and the rear bulkhead is decorated with towing hitches, rails and pioneer tools, plus a pair of large mud guards with separate supports on each side.  The remaining two hatches are fitted, a number of supports are glued along the length of the fenders, and stowage boxes plus fuel tanks are added to any free space, as is the large side-facing exhaust on the port side.  At the front, the fenders are finished off with front guards, which have PE stiffeners inside, and the single-part barrel is inserted into the keyed slot in the mantlet, with the outer saukopf-like section slid over before the two-part hollow muzzle-brake is closed up around the tip of the barrel.

 

The vehicle now needs some road wheels, which are created in pairs with separate hub caps that hide the axle that also holds the multi-part drive sprocket and idler wheels.  There are 10 pairs of road wheels needed, and two of each of the idler and drive sprockets, one for each side.  At this stage various small parts are added around the hull, with a choice of day or night operations headlights on the diagonal sections of the glacis, more pioneer tools, additional stowage, aerial masts, plumbing for the additional fuel cells, and a rolled up tarpaulin that is attached to the rear of the casemate with PE straps.  A common theme to Soviet era armour was the unditching beam and additional fuel drums on the rear, which were carried over to the Su-122-54, with PE straps and fuel caps that are shown from other angles in scrap diagrams to ensure you place them correctly.  The drus on the late version are larger and much mre in common with what you expect to see on Soviet armour. The towing cables are something you will have to supply from your own sources, with a requirement of two lengths of 1.1mm diameter with lengths of 175mm each, but you do get the towing eyes to use with them.

 

Now to the tracks! Each of the 90 links per side is attached by four sprue gates, and they are located in the pit of the concave track-pin tunnel, so will require extra care during clean-up.  This looks to be a bit of a shore to sort, but no doubt after a few the modeller will sort out a rhythm.  Detail on the tracks is staggering, with individual casting serials in the depths of each one, and happily no ejector pin marks to contend with.

 

 

Markings

There are three markings options available from the box, and the profiles are split between the inside front and rear covers of the instruction booklet.  You can build one of the following:

  • Soviet Army, Operation "Danube" Prague 1968 (As on the box top) **Though its worth noting none were actually deployed to Prague**
  • Soviet Army 60s, (winter camo) marked white 401
  • Soviet Army (summer camo) marked white 214

 

Decals are printed by Decograph, which as usual have good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas.

 

 

Conclusion

Whether you've heard of this Tank Destroyer before or not, it has a certain presence, and the angular casemate is appealing as well as a useful feature for deflecting shots away from the crew.  The detail levels are excellent, with PE and clear parts to give it extra realism.  The only minor gripe is the positioning of the sprue gates on the track links, but with some careful cutting and making good, no-one will ever appreciate your effort!  It's typical modern MiniArt, who have made producing great kits look easy.

 

Very highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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1 hour ago, Yimeng Wang said:

may I ask? late version rolling wheel is same as early version??

No, these are the early wheels in the review which is an error, the new wheels are as per the box art.

 

Julien

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