2S3 Akatsiya is the answer to the American M109 artillery piece. Its development started in the late 60s, and continued till 1971, when the first examples were accepted into service. It is a tracked vehicle, based on D-20 artillery gun, 152.4mm and its more popular by the name Akatsiya, than 2S3. It can fire up to 4 rounds in minute, which is very slow by the current standards, but 40 years ago it was decent. The vehicle was very maneuverable and gained popularity due to that fact. It saw service in many conflicts, most notable of those being Soviet-Afghan War, Iran-Iraq War, Gulf War, Syrian War and Ukrainian War.
It is still in use today, and it is known as reliable and effective artillery piece, despite the fact that there are few newer generations howitzers available. Later versions of 2S3 were modified by the Russians with 155mm gun, new navigation and computers, and are still very popular. In this article, we will take a look at Trumpeter’s Early Akatsiya, but have in mind that they have released “Late” one as well.
This kit was missing for quite a while, and was very warmly welcomed when it came out in 2013. It was designed the previous year, and as you will see it feature most of the parts required by modelers from a 21st century kit. The box is typical Trumpeter, a bit thin-ish I might add, for that vehicle. It containes 530+ parts, and two different camo schemes. Along the goodies, are 30 sprues with individual track links, photo-etch set and very clean cast parts with a lot of details. All the welding marks are there, alongside many handles and rivets, which are quite realistic.
Although at first it looks like a dull project in general, once built, the 2S3 is surprisingly good looking vehicle. The attention to detail that Trumpeter applied is visible on almost every part. Wheels are one good example for that. The threads and the hubs are looking superb, not too overdone, nor too simplified. Tracks as I mentioned above, are within 30 sprues, which are each shaped like a protective cage, and it is visible that the links are clickable. That eliminates the need of aftermarket tracks which usually is the biggest spend for a armor kit, sometimes even exceeding the price of the model itself. Trumpeter have proven their quality tracks, and I must say, that my experience, especially with their Su-122 and Komintern left me very satisfied with the results. As with them, the plastic material is brown, and the only difference I see here is that these promises to be more flexible because of the way they were engineered.
The gun barrel is two halves, which is a bit of a let down. Trumpeter have shown before that they can do better. The detail there is not bad, but I would go for an aftermarket option. There is one, but I am not sure about the availability, depending on where you’re located on the planet.
Photo-etch and the decals are nothing special or major, but with Trumpeter they are always there. That is important. Photo etch is a bit thick, and Voyager might come handy here with their photo-etch set for the fenders and other add ons. The decals have all the numbers from 1 till 9, including zeros, and also the old USSR logos. They are two camo schemes – parade one and three tone camo, but the decals provide you with a lot more if you have some fantasy and picture sources.
Overall, this will build into wonderful kit, and can be done OOTB, which makes it a good investment. The size is more than I expected, and especially with those separate track links and the attention to the minor details, Trumpeter won me. I choose the old Akatsiya because it is more widely used and gives you more options for camouflages, weathering and damages. However if you want, you can always get the Late version, as well as the Gvozdika, which is based on another chassis. Trumpeter made those kit too. I find this kit highly attractive, and highly recommended!
You can get this kit here: 2S3 Akatsiya from Trumpeter 1/35 – Early version