ARM: Review - Miniart 1/35 scale Soviet Divisional Artillery

Kit Review: Miniart 1/35 Scale Kit No. 35045; Soviet Divisional
Artillery; 419 parts in grey styrene; retail price US$63.00
Advantages: complete gun team and crew in one set; may be converted
for motorized drayage if the modeler desires
Disadvantages: no rigging or rein material provided (see text)
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for modelers with some experience with model horses
and rigging up their harness
At the start of WWII (the Great Patriotic War) much of the Soviet
=93God of War=94 =96 its artillery arm =96 was horse-drawn just like that o=
f
the German Wehrmacht. But whereas the Soviets were able to produce a
goodly amount of trucks - and receive hundreds of thousands more via
Lend-Lease - the Germans were not so fortunate. Still, for the first
year or so of the war most lower echelon Soviet artillery had to be
horse-drawn.
This generally meant that battalion level guns =96 45mm antitank and
76mm howitzers =96 and division level =96 57mm antitank and 76mm guns =96
were either horse-drawn or used trucks like the GAZ-AA or ZIS-5 for
drayage. Since the guns were lightweight, regiments could use two-
horse teams and divisions four-horse hitches. (Considering during WW I
the heavier light guns took six and eight horse teams, this at least
was a blessing.)
Miniart has now combined three of their earlier kits =96 35032 ZIS-3
76.2mm Soviet Divisional Gun, 35044 Soviet Infantry (Summer 1943-45),
and 35115 Limber 52-R-353M Model 1942 =96 with two sprues containing
horses and outriders to provide a complete artillery section.
The ZIS-3 was probably the most popular single gun in Soviet service
during WWII as it shared all the ammunition of the F-34 and ZIS-5 tank
guns and had the same capabilities, so it could be used
interchangeably as a field gun or antitank gun. The limber was
designed for general use but in its 353M model was specifically mated
to 76mm guns such as the ZIS-3 (translation - the racks inside were
set for 76mm rounds for the ZIS-3 gun).
Miniart has added some changes to the kits to improve them as well.
Each tire now comes in seven thin sections in order to replicate the
=93street tire=94 profile more accurately (the original tires are also
included with only five sections). While the 57mm ZIS-2 barrel is
included, and with some care can be used as well, the kit is more
suited for the ZIS-3.
Assembly of the gun is pretty straightforward. The gun comes as noted
with two different options for its wheels and tire.(If you don=92t like
them, they are standard GAZ-AA wheels and those from any after-market
resin manufacturer covering the GAZ-AA or GAZ-MM or BA-3/6/10 series
armored cars should fit.) Construction is pretty straightforward
beginning with the trails and then the axle, carriage cradle
(=93l=92yulka=94 in Russian) and locking levers,wheels, barrel and recoil
cylinders, muzzle brake, gun shield, ammo crates, breech, and on to
final assembly and then the crew. While the directions are similar to
DML=92s the latter should pay attention as the Miniart layout and
graphics are much clearer and present things in a much less cluttered
and more understandable format.
No ammo chests are provided but it comes with the previous 10
complete 76.2mm rounds and three casings =96 four of the rounds are the
late war =93arrow=94 shells, however. (Also in the kit but unflagged are
four 57mm rounds and three casings for the 57mm ZIS-2 gun which uses
the same carriage.)
The limber is more complex than the gun (!) and will require care to
assemble. If the extension to set the harness for horse movement is
left off (part B21 and related parts) the remaining section is
suitable to attach to a Studebaker US6 or ZIS-5 truck. (Note that the
Soviets were bright enough to make their limbers convertible so they
could use either mode of drayage.) However, the limber does not
provide any way to open it up in an =93in action=94 pose so the shells
have no =93home=94 so to speak.
Where the directions fall down is when it gets to the figures. These
directions are in black and white and only cover the usual =93stick
here=94 assembly, and the box art is necessary for painting. Each figure
consists of six parts (head, arms, legs, torso) and weapons and kit.
The soldiers all carry either a carbine or submachine gun.
The horses are all in the Historex mold and consists of six parts -
sides, head, tail and ears. Some strapping is molded in place, and the
buckle and keeper parts are also provided. However, no strapping
material of any sort is included so the modeler is on his own. The
most common ones used by figure modelers are lead foil (off wine
bottles), thin styrene strip or very thin leather, so you are on your
own to find one of those materials or something similar. The rigging
instructions at least are very clear, and due to the Soviet style of
using outriders on the left hand horses there are no long reins to
futz with. Note that the manes and tails can be easily improved with a
pyrograveure or =93hot pin=94 treatment to =93fluff=94 up the plastic. (You
put a needle into a pin vise, heat it over a candle or alcohol lamp,
and use it to raise the plastic to look more like hair and less like,
well, plastic.)
Finishing directions are simple. Paint the gun and limber green
(actually 4BO green). I suggest the box art is your guide here.
Overall this is a very nicely done kit and a reasonable bargain as it
combines three smaller kits and the new horse sprues to offer a very
nice chance to produce a complete weapons system. But it will be more
enjoyable to modelers with experience rigging horses.
Thanks to Bob Lewen of MRC for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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AMPSOne
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