We have previewed the new 35th scale SU-122 SPG from MiniArt with & without interior here on TMN and we can say we were quite excited about both releases. They suit both the completist modeller and the volume guys/gals in their approach. Lukas has kicked off his account here with the full interior version of the Su-122 and he has not held back. Let’s see how his stripped back approach soon changed to an all-inclusive package in Pt I of his build.
SU-122 Soviet Self-Propelled Gun Early Prod.
Total Parts 565
Box: 345x240x70 mm
Welcome to my build of SU-122 from MiniArt’s newer releases. This one with interior details. I choose to return to the “armour waters” thanks to this rather great looking subject and being a huge fan of airbrush and all kind of weathering I saw this as a great opportunity inside of this box.
Speaking of packaging, the large bag of plastic inside is impressively heavy, and accompanied with lovely instruction sheet. Please see previous preview (link here) where Adam had a look over what all you are getting, but in brief expect with this boxing:
828 Total parts
712 plastic parts
117 photo-etched parts
7 clear plastic parts
Decals sheet for 6 options
Fully detailed engine compartment and chassis
Interior is accurately represented
Workable track links
Up-to-date technology using sliding moulds.
My intentions were to build interior unpainted but shortly after I glued first few parts I couldn’t live with just leave it in bare plastic. This gave pretty much directions to this adventure. Particularly with the instruction sheet. A very lovely booklet will you’re your model coming along nicely, missing paint recommendation with few little parts and in few instances not 100% clear where to put some parts. I went with what felt correct, especially with the interior as I haven’t found any pictures of crew compartment and dry fitting and photographs on the exterior.
The Build commences
First I built transmission and engine and left the hard to paint parts (radiators and some pipes) separate, to make it easier for painting. The engine will look great if you display it – you can even save it to use in a workshop diorama or engine change scenario if you like…
Transmission can be shown open in the gate at the rear of the tank…
The base is shaded darker on the recesses to create depth…
…and then shaded over with a light base colour
The Level of the engine detail is (at least to my eye) high and the only thing that I added here was cables that will be the first thing to see when leaving engine hatch open. The engine is painted in a metallic colour, and then the rust on the exhaust manifolds was added to give the engine a well-worn in feeling. It was then placed on the hull floor.
A similar effort in what looks like gaudy colours is soon to be dulled down with alternate shades of lighter and dark, along with grease, oil and scratches. Painting this part of the model was very enjoyable although I was doing all that work knowing that only about 3% of this will be visible in the end. It was a similar story with the transmission.
Here is the engine and transmission all in-situ on the hull deck, the gearbox flywheel especially is a highlight of this part of the model. You can see here how the colours I added to the transmission make it look used and well worn.
The radiators of the engine were added to the sides - they do look very nice, and the ribbed detail can be picked out with metallic paints and some rust tones to make this look very nicely realistic.
Nice huh? The top internal ribbing of the rear engine deck (here in green above the flywheel) is seen here installed. Only the middle ones will be added later on alongside with exhausts.
Weathering the exhaust chambers added a lot to the look of this kit.
Next, I put together the internal side walls of the kit – a fairly simple process for both sides but some promising detail I could pick out.
I slowly started to work on sides and suspension columns for the road wheels. I simply added them to the floor of the tank and added sides with already attached fuel tanks. You can see in this picture the fuel tanks are painted in the reddish undercoat colour.
By joining sides with the floor I finally had crew compartment defined which allow me to add remaining details, paint them and do some weathering on them.
Next as per instructions, I attached the front of the tank. The inside of the front glacis plate was painted in an off white and then chipped and weathered in a darker shade to look like a machine of a high usage life. This was done with sponge chipping and some brown highlights. It left a pretty nice result.
The lower front glacis plate was joined to the hull.
The rear lower deck is just as simple with the same weld detail on some of the joints.
The outer suspension arms are installed next – you can see the internal detail fo the springs thru here and it’s starting to look very nice.
The driver’s seat and the other parts of the crew cab interior are painted up.
Then It was time to assemble the main 122mm weapon for this beast and place it on its spot inside.
Then simply glued the glacis (part D6 and G22, G25, G26, G17) on the front and silhouette of the tank became finally obvious.
Care is needed as it is not very clear in which position to attach parts G18 and G19. Two sides were then glued to the main body. I had to drop part B17 all together and needed a little bit of pressure to fit it correctly. Mind you this might be just me but all other stuff went together without any drama so It was bit unexpected.
The front of the gun peaks thru the glacis at this point and at least this beast has its claws. With the open driver’s hatch, you might be able to peek in to see all of the good work in here.
The rear deck now goes together. A simple affair that is covered with rivets so the weathering detail potential on this tank is huge.
MiniArt add the mesh decking so you have the option of a fast or a detailed finish. With the mesh in place, it is just clear enough to peek into the lovely engine I had painted up. Of course, you can leave these doors open if you wish.
The tank was all in shape and all that was missing was top hull. The decision whether to leave this open or closed took about the same time as building rest of the tank.
I didn’t want to close it all up and members of my local model club suggested the option to leave this open (Part Jd1 would simply “sit” on the vehicle) - but a dry fit showed that I wouldn’t like the gap. It was a very little gap, but there wasn’t any issue with glueing but It was too big for my eyes.
I added engine cover to close it all up. The only real fitting issue was with back deck sloping hull (part Ca11).
At this point, I started with cleaning up all ammo according to instruction sheet and intended to add it is all inside holders just before closing.
After I decided that it will be closed forever I stopped working on ammunition - I might replace it with RB model’s brass set for SU122 if I decide to go that way with a diorama. Although a full loadout of ammunition is provided in this kit. However, it is quite difficult to clean up whilst keeping the perfectly round shape of the shells. Mine ended looking a bit more like a freshly sharpened pencil if anything. Since I knew none of these was required on this closed up model I gave up on ammo, and saved the time for tracks instead.
In the second part of this article I will bring fitting the tracks, road wheels and painting and weathering the exterior of the kit …and of course “the verdict” so stay tuned –
Thanks for reading.
You can find where to get yours closer to you on the MiniArt Site Thanks to them for sending this to Lukas to build up for you all here.