Tuesday, October 18

"Su" build Pt.II - MiniArt's 35th scale Su-122 Soviet Self-Propelled Gun Initial Prod kit

Lukas has already shown us the interior and initial production steps of his MiniArt 35th scale Su-122 Soviet Self-Propelled Gun Initial Production kit. We loved how he painted and weathered the interior…but now he has to seal it up and do just as good of a job on the outside of the tank – let’s see how he went in Pt. II of his build article.

SU-122 Soviet Self-Propelled Gun Initial Prod.
MiniArt Models
1/35th scale
Total Parts 565
Box: 345x240x70 mm
Product Link
Price: ¥6,240/ USD $61.37/ €54.44 From Hobbylink Japan

Part I of this build – Review, Interior and hull construction

Welcome to the second part of my attempt to finish SOME armour after at least one decade. I know that might not sound like much of an achievement to some of you, but being an aircraft guy mostly, well a big hunk of Soviet Armour like this is a large leap from me. I think it is going pretty well so far. Today though I bring you the second part of the build and show you the completed model.
Since I finished first part I spent most of my time with two things mainly. One was crying over the fact that interior won’t be visible anytime soon, and second was building the tracks (I know I’m not used to them – they don’t normally include these in aircraft kits)
After closing the hull up (sigh), it was time to attach all the exterior details such as buckles, handles, straps and brackets of all sorts. 
I found easier to replace these with lead wire and evergreen profiles as It was definitely less consuming than to trying to cut them safely off the sprues and cleaning them up. I think this is one of the failings from this manufacturer (already came across a similar issue in building their tram and their Mercedes truck recently.) To be fair to Miniart, this is not limited to them – lots of AFV making companies really are pushing the limits of styrene and details nowadays. It is hard to make these tiny parts without the difficulty of cleaning them and getting the parts off the sprue undamaged.

"Handle" with care...
I broke some of the handles and lights, hence the pictures missing few parts every few steps got a little repetitive, but that one was completely down to me not paying enough attention when handling during painting and weathering. 
I bent the fenders a little to bring more authenticity and a real world "worn" look to this build...
When all these were replaced, I moved my attention to tracks. Quite frankly, all of you that build armour and tracks regularly have my deepest respect because those 144 parts to prepare tracks sure felt like an eternity to me.

Each track run is completed with 76 tracks – these are made from two parts that fitted by clicking them to each other. It took me the time of making the entire first track get the hang of it how to connect them in the best and fasted method.
In this “softening up” phase of the track battle I must have broken around 10-15 of them. Luckily for me, there are plenty to spare, but you still need to take care unless you want to re-drill all of the bits (or at least those broken ones) and use a brass rod or something similar to replace the connection bits & I had to resort to that with 4-5 pieces. Somehow I haven’t lost my mind during this procedure and managing few pieces a day alongside with working on the hull. I now have a new-found respect for armoured vehicle modellers all of a sudden.
MiniArt has since come out with a workable track link set for these and T-34 tanks – “35207 T-34 Wafer-Type Tracks. Workable Track Links Set” - the kit looks pretty simple and the link is here.
There are five different colour schemes that were chosen in co-operation with the people at AMMO in this boxing, all very nice versions - here they are
And this - the scheme that I chose for this tank. Painting to me was (and always is) the most enjoyable activity to me (that applies to any subject) and here it was no difference. The Russian OD Green with white and heavy chipping gave me, once again, great opportunity to try new approaches and techniques. 
Here is this tank in action on the Russian front at the time, looking well lived in we think.
OK undercoat time! First went Mr. Surfacer, followed with very subtle pre-shading, that is now basically invisible so next time I would skip that I think. 
And with the road wheels in place - they are very well detailed don't you think? I took these just after this - so I could off to paint them separately.
After some research, I came to conclusion that “correct green” for Russian armour doesn’t exist, and so I mixed my own from Mr.Hobby shades. Then I applied a coat of chipping solution and sprayed entire tank with acrylic paint Gunze off white. 
The roadwheels were then given much the same treatment with a little faded black rubber.
After all dried out I created the chipping on the appropriate areas of the kit. I then sealed the surface ready for decals. Not much to put on, decal related, at least for me those two numbers and two stars were easy to apply and overall quality of decal sheet is very good and they are very thin.
...And the decals in place and seal ready for the dirty business to come.
Once again I sealed the decals and weathered the entire model with washes and oils. AMMO Mud was sprayed through brush with an airbrush. 
To thicken the mud, I added plaster which created a few different shades (I found this technique on AMMO Mig’s Facebook page). This left the side fo the hull nice and dirty and looking well used and abused.
When all of these spots and splatters were finished and the tracks were painted I installed them on the tank itself and weathered them in a similar fashion as the whole tank.
Final details like the large cylindrical fuel tanks & the aerial and other embellishments were then added to round up the build in style.

C-est Fini - or should I say C'завершена! 
The verdict? I think this is a great boxing of this model - the huge lump of plastic incorporating the interior, exterior and 5 decal option gives you plenty of time spent behind the workbench and enjoy it. 
The biggest decision before buying this is to whether you will want a visible interior or not. For any interior “fanatics” you can leave it like this or improve it even further more (cables, dirt, handles, ammunition), for “just fans of interiors you can leave it out of the box and still get a well-represented replica. For those who buying this purely for an exterior focussed kit, I would suggest going for that boxing. I am somewhere between the second group and third, at least with armour, as you could probably see by the fact I could not leave the kit unpainted in the first part of this review.

You can still see some of the interior - like this engine, you can always open up some hatches right around this kit.

Surface detail (welding seams, front armour etc) is very good, and with a little care, you can keep 100% of it. As previously mentioned, I don’t like the way how tiny parts are put together without breaking some of them - to me (at least my hands) they are impossible to clean due to quite soft plastic and the way they are connected to the sprue. Be careful or be prepared to fabricate your own is my advice.
In spite of minor issues like this, the many positives of this kit definitely won out with me, and if you are a fan of Russian armour or this very subject I highly recommend you treat yourself with one.

Lukas Kasuba

Thank you MiniArt for sending us this kit for Lukas to build – check out their stuff on their website.