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You are here: Home KV Series Plastic & Resin Kits 1/35 Scale Eastern Express #35103 Self-Propelled Gun KV-14 (SU-152)

#35103 Self-Propelled Gun KV-14 (SU-152)

35103 Box Cover

The kit represents an early production example of the SU-152, completed between April and late July/early August 1943.  The kit lacks the ventilators on the roof of the superstructure and the shorter exhaust pipes on the engine compartment roof plate, which were added in the summer after the Kursk battles.

Since the kit uses the same lower hull components as all Eastern Express kits, it lacks the shell loading hatch on the right-hand side of the lower hull, between the first and second return rollers.

The mounting plates for the towing eyes on the front and rear hull are trapezoidal, rather than round as they should be for the SU-152, which was based on a KV-1S hull.  They can be carved away however, and replaced with styrene discs.  The lower front hull includes the bracket for the hydraulic fluid container as a separate part, allowing you to position it differently according to the vehicle you are modeling.  There were several different locations so check your references.

An exhaust air deflector plate is included, but it lacks the cut-out for the tail light and no tail light is provided in the kit.

The hull sides feature integrally molded mounts for the suspension swing arms, return rollers and drive sprockets.  The swing arms themselves are separate moldings and feature the correct three retaining bolts for the torsion bar hub.  The mounts include two grease fittings rather than one on each base plate, but this is a minor error.  If you care, you can cut off the extra fitting in a matter of seconds.

The tracks are of the narrow split-link type with no guide 'bump' on the split links.  This track pattern was the most common on the SU-152.  The kit tracks are molded in a very stiff vinyl however and it is difficult to replicate a realistic track sag.  Replacing the tracks with aftermarket items will significantly improve the appearance of the finished model.

The kit provides two sets of road wheels.  One full set of all-steel one-piece wheels with eight small lightening holes is included, and these wheels were the most common type on the SU-152.  The other set feature eight larger lightening holes, as seen on some KV-1S vehicles in 1943.  The drive sprockets are the late pattern with eight bolts securing the hub cover, which is correct for the SU-152.  The idlers are well detailed but the hubs lack grease fittings.

The upper hull is molded as a single piece including the superstructure, with integral fenders.  The engine access hatch is a separate component, as are the transmission maintenance hatches, but the radiator intake screens are molded integrally with the hull top.  The bolt configuration on the engine and transmission compartment roof plates is correct for the SU-152, though some vehicles lacked the central bolt at the rear edge of the transmission compartment roof plate.  For the extremely pedantic, the bolts are depicted with conical heads where they should be flat-headed for all KVs manufactured after the end of 1941.  The lifting eyes are present but are solid and should be drilled out for an improved appearance.  The kit includes lifting rings for the eyes but these are overly thick and should be replaced with thin wire or simply omitted altogether.

The engine access hatch is the domed variant with an inspection port and two lifting eyes.  This is correct for an SU-152, but the hatch lacks the large lifting handle on the rearward portion of the dome.  The instructions direct you to install the hatch with the hinges at the forward end, as is the case for other KV variants.  On the SU-152 however, the hatch was reversed with the hinges at the rear.  Since the hinges are also separate components, it is a simple matter to rotate the hatch and attach the hinges at the rearward edge.

The fenders are accurate in width, though the outer vertical lips will benefit from light sanding to thin them down.  The flanges that attach the fender brackets to the fenders themselves are molded integrally with the fenders, but the vertical portions of the brackets are separate components.  The brackets are the skeletal pattern, though photographs suggest that solid brackets were more common on the SU-152.  The brackets are quite thick and should be sanded down.  Alternatively, you can replace them with aftermarket items or make your own from thin styrene or brass using the kit parts as a guide.  The rearmost bracket on each side does not feature a truncated top edge as seen on many KV-1S and SU-152 hulls.

The integrally molded radiator intake screens are the correct pattern for the SU-152.  However, the representation is a little crude and the screens should be replaced with after-market items.  This is no easy task however, since the parts are very thick and are surrounded by bolt detail.

The transmission maintenance hatches are separately molded and are the correct pattern for the SU-152.  They include some interior detail but this is incomplete and no hinges are provided so it will be difficult to depict them in the open position unless you wish to scratch-built the hinges.  The operating mechanisms can be sourced from aftermarket sets however.

The exhausts are separate components but are solid.  They should be hollowed out with a drill bit and a hobby knife, or replaced with aftermarket items.

The glacis plate features an integrally molded representation of the crescent shaped armor fillet that protected the underside of the mantlet, but this is incorrect in shape.  The slope of the forward edge is far too shallow, an error that can be easily seen when the kit part is compared to photgraphs of the real vehicle.  This will be difficult to rectify due to the complex shape of the fillet.

Since the kit represents an early production vehicle, the superstructure lacks the domed ventilator covers on its roof.  The edges of the plates are much neater than production examples.  The kit parts depict beveled edges on the sloped plates which were not present on the real vehicle.  The kit was apparently based on the prototype that now resides at Kubinka, which differs in minor details from production vehicles.  For example, the kit is missing the row of nine rivets on the forward superstructure roof plate, which was present on all but the first few production examples.  The bolt heads on the roof are in the correct configuration but have conical heads rather than the correct flat heads.

All three superstructure hatches are provided as separate components and can be attached in the open position.  The commander's and gunner's hatches include some interior detail, but the two-piece loader's hatch does not.  The torsion bars for the hatches are separately molded, as are the episcope covers and the commander's periscope.

The driver's visor and the pistol ports for the front and rear superstructure plates are separate components and the superstructure includes raised location marks to assist in their placement.  No such marks are provided for the headlamp and siren however, which must be positioned by eye.

The gun barrel is assembled from two halves which attach to a separate mantlet.  The gun mount is another separate component.  While basically accurate, the amount of flash on the barrel parts makes it very difficult to clean up the flutes on the muzzle brake without damaging them.  I recommend replacing the barrel with an aftermarket item.  The mantlet lacks the grab handle on the left-hand side of the recuperator cover and the gun mount lacks the tie-down loops for the tarpaulin that was used to cover the gun mount in bad weather.

The kit provides late style tow cables with cast ends.  The ends are included in the kit and the instructions direct you to use thread or wire for the cables themselves, but no thread or wire is provided in the kit.  The turnbuckles and rear attachment brackets are included, but are not mentioned in the instructions.  The parts must be positioned with reference to drawings.

Two small rectangular stowage boxes are included for the fenders, though only one should be used, on the number 7 position.  The small stowage box on the number 8 position is missing from the kit  The kit also includes four cylindrical external tanks, which is correct for the SU-152.  No spare track links are included, so these must be sourced from aftermarket sets or other kits.

Grab rails are provided for the superstructure side plates, but not for the upper edges of the hull sides alongside the engine compartment and transmission compartment roof plates, which were present on most SU-152s, even early examples.  These must be added from rod or wire.

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