Dragon 1/35 ISU-152-2 155mm BL-10 Cannon
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The ISU-152-2 was an experimental Soviet tank destroyer. One prototype was developed in 1944. In April 1944, in attempt to increase the firepower of ISU-152, a high-power variant of the self-propelled gun was developed in Factory No. 100, designated ISU-152BM (ИСУ-152БМ), sometimes referred to as ISU-152BM-1 or ISU-152-1. The factory designation was Object 246 (Объект 246). The "BM" ("БМ") in the designation stands for "High Powered" ("Большой Мощности"). The main purpose of the ISU-152BM was the fight against heavily armoured tank destroyers such as the Elefant and the Jagdtiger. It was armed with the 152.4 mm BL-8 (БЛ-8) long barrel gun, which unlike the ISU-152's gun wasn't a gun-howitzer. The gun had a maximum range of 18,500 metres, with the 43.56 kg high-explosive shell which had a muzzle velocity of 880 m/s. The overall length of the gun was over 8 metres, with a barrel length of 7620 mm (50 calibers). The armour-piercing round, weighing 48.78 kg, had a muzzle velocity of 850 m/s. During test firing at armour plates with different thickness, the ISU-152BM have successfully penetrated a maximum of 203 mm of RHA at 90° at ranges of up to 2000 metres. However, during the trials, July 1944, the gun showed some deficiencies such as being difficult to operate by the crew, unreliable work of the muzzle brake and the breech block, and unsatisfactory performance of the shells. In addition, the gun, protruding far forward of the hull front, was limiting the maneuverability of the fighting vehicle. The self-propelled gun carried 21 rounds of two piece (shell and charge) ammunition, and had a rate of fire of 2 rounds/min. It used the engine, transmission, running gear and electric equipment of the ISU-122. In August 1944 the BL-8 gun was replaced with the improved 152.4 mm BL-10 (БЛ-10) long barrel gun, with a slightly shorter barrel of 7392 mm (48.5 calibers). The self-propelled gun was designated ISU-152-2 (ИСУ-152-2). The factory designation was Object 247 (Объект 247). The fighting vehicle was also equipped with external fuel tanks. The gun had a modified muzzle brake and a semi-automatic breech block. It had a rate of fire of 3 rounds/min. The BL-10 had a maximum range of 18,000 metres, with the 43.56 kg high-explosive shell. In December 1944 the ISU-152-2 underwent trials, revealing the barrel strength and the angle of horizontal guidance were unsatisfactory. The gun was sent for further improvement, but it wasn't completed before the war ended. The fighting vehicle was never adopted. After the war, the final and most improved, third modification of ISU-152-2 was completed. The gun had a maximum range of 19,500 metres, using a 48.5 kg high-explosive shell with a muzzle velocity of 880 m/s.
Many modelers have a fondness for WWII Soviet armor and this is undoubtedly one of the larger that has been produced; at least in length. The kit is somewhat unique among Dragon kits in that there is no photo etch. Not really any need for one as this is a prototype vehicle and so wouldn't have the additional operational 'stuff' that festoons in service equipment.
Undoubtedly, the chassis is from Dragon's ISU-122 kit. There is a single piece lower hull onto which all the suspension bits are attached. You'll have to open some holes on the hull to portray this vehicle. The kit has individual track links, undoubtedly comprising a goodly part of the 420 pieces in the kit. These look pretty easy to do and as such, would make this a good kit if you want to give this a go. Nothing really recreates the sag of the upper tracks like separate link systems.
The upper hull section is also a single piece onto wich all sorts of bits and pieces are attached, including the usual pioneer tools and a pair of fuel drums, something that is almost synonymous with Soviet armor. There are hatches that can be posed open in case you want to stick a figure in them as there is no interior detail.
Labeled a '2 in 1' kit, Dragon has provided not only the big gun as shown on the box art, but apparently you can also do an ISU-122-1 from this kit by using an alternate gun barrel and mantlet. At least according to the instructions. The box states the other option is for the BL-8 gun so take your pick.
Instructions are typical of Dragon and tend to be a bit busy. Though two options are provided, they are listed as the same vehicle and there are no distinguishing markings on them at all. Hence no decal sheet. Just paint everything but the tracks in Soviet Armor Green. Can't get much easier than that.
I think this will be a fairly popular kit. Sure it is a prototype and one-off, but it still looks very neat. For sure it will be a presence on your display shelf due to its size.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local hobby shop or on-line retailer.
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