Trumpeter 1/35 2S3 152mm SPG (early)
KIT #: 05543
PRICE: $62.99 SRP
DECALS: Several options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES:  

HISTORY

SO-152 (СО-152) is a Soviet 152.4 mm self-propelled artillery developed in 1968. It was a response to the American 155 mm M109. The development started in 1967 according to the Resolution of the Council of Ministers of USSR from July 4, 1967. In 1968 the SO-152 was completed and in 1971 entered service. Its GRAU designation is 2S3 (2С3). The fighting vehicle also received the additional designation Akatsiya (Акация), which is Russian for acacia.

Designated M1973 by the US Army, theAkatsiya is armed with a 152.4 mm howitzer based on the Soviet 152.4 mm D-20 howitzer and is sometimes confused with the M109 self-propelled artillery. The artillery system was developed at the design bureau No. 9 of Kalinin Machine-Building Plant in Sverdlovsk. The factory designation of the howitzer is D-22 and the GRAU designation, 2A33. The chassis was developed by Uraltransmash.

Driver's and engine-transmission compartments are located in a front part of a hull, fighting compartment with rotatory turret in middle and rear parts of the hull. The armour is welded rolled steel. Howitzer is equipped with R-123 radio set, R-124 intercom, automatic NBC system with filtration unit and fire-fighting equipment. The V-59 12-cylinder four-stroke water-cooled diesel engine connects with a mechanical twin gear transmission, a gear box is in one block with a planetary steering gear. The 2S3 has self-entrenching equipment which allows to prepare a trench within 2040 min.

The crew consists of 46 men: a driver, a gunner, a loader, a commander, and two ammunition bearers, which are positioned to the rear of the vehicle feeding rounds through two hatches in the hull rear when in masked firing position.

The 2S3 became a well-known self-propelled artillery after combat operations in Afghanistan where it proved to be an effective and reliable artillery system. 2S3s were used quite successfully during two Chechen wars and military conflicts on the territory of former USSR. Here is a short list of the conflicts in which it has been used:

THE KIT

Trumpeter continues with their interesting new kits by doing a rather large SPG this time out. If you have never built a modern self-propelled gun, you should give it a go as they are a lot of fun. Many years back I did an M-109 and found it was a nice change from the usual.

This one is molded in grey plastic, which is a nice way to do things. Many modelers would prefer simple grey to the various colored plastics that are often used. The kit includes a small photo etch fret to take care of things like engine intake and exhaust screen, hull handholds and foot steps, as well as  what appear to be sort of like mud flaps on the back.

The lower hull handles all of the suspension bits like the road wheels, idler and sprocket. This kit has individual track links and these take up a considerable amount of box space. They look to be very easy to assemble and I dare say they may well simply snap in place. A few extras are provided to place on the upper hull.

As with any large SPG, this one has quite a few pieces to attach to the outer hull. Some are plastic while others are better done in photo etch. Hatches are separate items and while you could pose them open, there would be nothing to see on the inside. A nicely molded machine gun attaches to the commader's cupola and the two piece barrel with impressive looking muzzle brake is nicely molded.

Instructions are well done as typically, there is no color information provided during the build. That is all left to the full color painting and markings guide. The small decal sheet (not shown) provides a selection of numbers and a pair of Guards emblems. Two camo options are provided, neither of which is identified. One is in an overall armor green with a lot of white edge highlights as one often sees in images of these vehicles participating in parades. The other is in a three color camouflage with a base shade of armor green  and large splotches of light tan and black on the upper surfaces. A variety of paint references are provided with Gunze being the major one.
CONCLUSIONS

For fans of modern Soviet armor or those who like big guns, this one is a no-brainer. It is well detailed, well molded and should provide no surprises. Best of all, it will give you a very impressive model when done.

REFERENCES

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2S3_Akatsiya

March 2013

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