Announced back in 2013 (or was it 2012?) the expected development of IS-2 is finally here. Please welcome ISU-152 by Zvezda!
Previous Zvezda kits in the scale had sprues on their own inside the box. That made each sound like a baby’s rattle. Parts here are sealed in a soft plastic bag, which prevents parts loss, and makes plastic less prone to breaks.
The ISU-152 is big, grey and bad@$$, and at first sight appears to have a very small amount of parts in common with the IS-2 kit from the past year (which is a very good one if I may say). That’s sort of misleading because there is still a lot from the IS-2 – the sprues are simply re-done and parts are re-arranged for the new machine.
Below is the galery of the completed model. It’s painted in a number of Revell enamel greens – various mixtures of ##48, 65-69 and 361 to simulate faded paint, areas where water of fuel accumulated, crew walked (or couldn’t, e.g. around the edges of the hatches and the hinges). Edges and certain areas were highlighted with green pastel chalks, then some Promodeller washes to pop the details. Decals do silver, because I did not gloss the surface underneath them.
Bronco have done a fantastic job on the kit, which does not have any assembly issues, or serious problems with accuracy. Building is very easy for such a large and well-detailed kit thanks to clever engineering; assembly process is supported very well by the instruction booklet (although several views of the completed steps wouldn’t have hurt). Outside the erroneous “cast surface” effect on the superstructure and the ejector pin marks on the fenders I don’t really have anything to complain about this kit. If I have the opportunity – I would build another one without any hesitation.
Looking for references for the SU-152 brought about the conclusion that this SPG was indeed a rare beast, and is even harder to find today. While there’s a lot of ISU-152 that were remanufactured to the M and K standards, the KV-based subject was not as lucky: there are very few survivors, even fewer are in presentable condition, and none appear to be able to move on its own.
Books on the “Beast killer” are also few and far between. I was able to find Wydawnictwo Militaria’s “SU-152” (332). Beside the examples pictured in the book (pretty devoid of any fittings, really) there’s another survivor in Kubinka, but since it cannot be photographed from all sides you’d need to rely on a very few images with scarce detail that keep repeating in all books on the subject.
Bronco has released two versions of the legendary Zveroboi SPG (popular nickname for the SU-152): early (the subject of this review) and late production. Confusingly the kit of the late variety appeared first, and this kit was released a few months later – in the beginning of 2013.
The sprue count alone is staggering: there are 59 sprues, including 1 with clear parts and the hull tub. A PE fret, decal sheet and two lengths of braided copper wire complete the kit.
Sprue A contains parts that are applicable to the entire KV-1 line and derivatives. Fenders and engine deck are marked “Not for use” in the parts plan.