ARM: Review - Trumpeter 1/35 scale Soviet D-20 152mm Gun-Howitzer

Kit Review: Trumpeter 1/35 scale Kit No. 02333; Soviet D-20 152mm Towed Gun
-Howitzer; 299 parts (243 in tan styrene, 54 etched brass, two black vinyl)
; retail price US$51.99
Advantages: highly detailed kit of this widely used towed gun; several diff
erent options offered for construction
Disadvantages: comes with only a single complete round of ammunition
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all fans of towed artillery
After World War II ended, the triumphant nations began to reexamine the re
sults of the war and all of them decided to upgrade their artillery firepow
er. This meant that lighter weapons such as the 105mm and 122mm howitzers w
ere soon looked at as regimental artillery and 152mm and 155mm howitzers we
re now division level weapons.
The F.F. Petrov design bureau at Plant No. 9 in the Soviet Union began wor
k on this subject, and in 1955 introduced a "duplex" weapon of the type pre
ferred by the Soviets: a long range 122mm gun dubbed the D-74, and a 152mm
gun-howitzer called the D-20. Both shared a great number of carriage parts
and systems (hence the term "duplex" as they got a great deal of interchang
eability from the design). But while the D-74 was seen as too weak a weapon
for what the Soviets foresaw as their artillery needs (they went with 130m
m and 152mm guns instead) it was widely sold to client states and was popul
ar in the Middle East and Vietnam.
The D-20 on the other hand became the core of divisional artillery regimen
ts, with regiments eventually numbering three battalions or 54 pieces. At t
he army/front level, brigades of four battalions or 72 tubes were soon adde
d for additional firepower. The D-20 only began to lose favor in 1973 when
the first self-propelled versions of the gun, the 2S3 Akatisya, began to re
ach units.
The D-20 is a conventional weapon with a normal maximum range of over 17,0
00 meters and which can fire a wide variety of ammunition to include HE-FRA
G, concrete penetrating, flechette ("shrapnel" to the Soviets) and the "Kra
snopol'" guided projectile. Prime mover is the family of Ural 375/375D/4320
6 x 6 5 ton trucks.
Trumpeter has been aggressively going through the entire Soviet arsenal an
d now offers kits of both the D-74 (Kit No. 02334) and the D-20. This is an
extremely detailed kit of the gun and offers a number of build options. No
te that the term "gun-howitzer" is a Soviet term which covers weapons longe
r than a howitzer (25 calibers or less) and shorter than a gun (usually 40
calibers or longer). The D-20 is 34 calibers in length (152.4 x 34 = abou
t 5200 mm long).
Construction begins with the center base of the carriage and wheel axles.
The baseplate (C1) is added as well. Step 3 covers the breech assembly and
breech block and 4-5 the recoil mechanism.
Step 8 is the assembly of the barrel and muzzle brake. These are two part
styrene assemblies but with the quick use of a Flex-i-File can speedily be
smoothed down. Step 9 is the assembly of what the Soviets call the "recoili
ng mass" (e.g. the gun proper) and 10 mounts the gun to the upper carriage.
11 attaches the lower carriage, and 12-17 cover assembly and installation
of the trails. Note that whereas the trails can be assembled with the spade
s stowed or in place the directions only cover the towing configuration, wh
ich is a bit of a shame. Likewise, in step 20 the auxiliary traversing whee
ls are also only shown in the stowed position.
The shield options are for identical shapes, but one is single piece plate
s and the other has folding upper sections (molded as erect). Final assembl
y is covered in Step 25 and 26 provides for the crate with its single round
of 152mm HE-FRAG ammunition (projectile and charge).
If you want to display the weapon in a firing position, you will need some
good photos of the gun in action and also after-market ammo and crates. A
full crew is about 11 men for this weapon as it is quite heavy and needs a
lot of muscle to move and feed.
Finishing is simple as it is basically all over protective green but at le
ast Option B shows what the gun looks like in firing position with the base
plate down and the spades installed. A tiny sheet of two decals covers the
firing data plates on the back of the shields
Overall this kit is more than its directions would indicate but it will ta
ke some extra research to see how to get it set up in a firing position. Yo
u also can find all of the various color combinations used by the nations w
hich purchased the D-20.
Cookie Sewell
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