Su-122 is a Soviet self-propelled howitzer and assault gun, based on T-34 platform. 122 comes from the caliber of the gun, which is M-30S howitzer. That vehicle was requested by the Soviet government and Army command, based on the bitter taste that Sturmgeschutz III left with the Russians. They quickly understood, that such vehicle is a key factor in armored warfare, and started asking the designers to provide one. The official production started in late 1942, and continued until summer of 1944, by which time more than 1100 has been built.
There were no official variants of the vehicle, but there were some differences in between the production periods, making three sub-versions of Su-122 – Early, Mid and Late production runs. So far, we had a 35th scale option for that SPH from Tamiya. However, the tooling of that kit is old, and obsolete according to the current stream of new and sophisticated kits. Although Tamiya have satisfactory results with their set, especially when It comes down to fit and accuracy, the market demanded a substitute for the Su-122.
MiniArt announced their plans of doing one, and spared the public the complexity of the kit that they plan to issue. If you have modeled T-34, you would know, that this is a relatively small tank, and Su-122 is pretty much similar. Although lower in height. So it was a huge surprise when MiniArt announced that their first Su-122 kit will be initial production version with full interior. And by full, they meant “full”.
The kit is surprisingly detailed, surprisingly crowded and probably will be a challenge for most of the mid-level modelers, not to mention the newbies to the hobby. It has everything: driving and gunner compartments, engine, armament, transmission and separate track links. Everything is done in a manner not seen before in a scale model kit in 35th, and probably only Meng Model’s kits come close to that.
Some of the parts are small, but you shouldn’t have to worry, since MiniArt are using new plastic material for already about an year. It prevents unpleasant cracking of the small and tiny details, and it is flexible enough.
Full interior kits are a challenge to be completed, and trust me on this one, this Su-122 will not be any different. It will require time and patience, but you will be very rewarded once you finish it. The tricky part is how you will be able to paint all the details, and this is what I personally find to be the biggest challenge of this kit. Speaking of this – somebody once said: if it’s easy, it isn’t worth it. So, yeah, MiniArt made it worth a lot!
Instruction sheet is made from nice and luxurious material, especially the parts where the description of the camouflage schemes are. Everything is in color /where it need to be of course/ and the booklet is pretty thick. Inside there are 6 variants, one captured German and the rest – Soviet vehicles. They are made in collaboration with MIG/Ammo, which guarantees proper colors and knowing MIG, adequate accuracy. In total, the kit features 828 parts, of which 729 are plastic, 4 are clear, 95 are photo-etched.
Overall assembly steps does not look intimidating, especially on the outside. MiniArt kept it design relatively simple, cleverly adding options for side panels or hatches to be left aside for showing off the insides of the SPH.
This shouldn’t fool you, because the box is huge and crowded, but that is because of the way engineers thought it should be.
In conclusion, I first have to add that the kit is first of a series, which will include Mid- and Late- versions of Su-122 and will sent Tamiya into oblivion, at least for the foreseeable future. Also, I have to ad that this kit is not for the faint hearted. You have to know your way around plastic, you have to have time and not rush anything, and some idea of engineering decisions while installing already painted parts /if that is the way you work/. After that being said, I must conclude, that this kit is a state-of-plastic-art piece. It has everything you need in a box, the price is right, the fit /knowing MiniArt/ should be more than decent. Soviet/Russian armor fans, gotta have this for sure, and in my personal opinion, every armor modeler who is interested in “what is the future” of scale modeling subject should have this one.
This is poetry in scale, music within plastic. I highly recommend this, you should have it!
You can get this kit here: MiniArt 35175 Su-122 Initial Prod.
Scroll down for a full video review of that kit.