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In-Box Review
135
D-20 152mm Howitzer
Soviet D-20 152mm Towed Gun-Howitzer
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by: Todd Michalak [ TRM5150 ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

Shortly after WWII, the Soviet Union began development of the D-20 152mm Towed Howitzer (M1955). The D-20 was created to replace the earlier developed ML-20 or M1937 as well as other models such as the Model 1938 M10 and 1943 D-1.

The D-020 incorporates the same two wheels split trail carriage that was used on the 122mm D-74 previously. The .34 calibre barrel is equipped with a double baffle muzzle brake and a semi-automatic vertical sliding block breech capable in firing ammunition interchangeable from other 152mm platforms. One similar feature to her predecessors is the two-cylinder recoil mechanism located above the tube. With the shorter more powerful 152.4 mm barrel and the semi-automatic vertical sliding breech the rate of fire is around five to six rounds per minute with and average range around ten miles. A scallop-shaped splinter shield adds a small level of protection to the D-20’s eight to ten man crews.

The Kit

Adding to the list of towed artillery models from Trumpeter is the Soviet D-20 152 mm Towed Gun-Howitzer. I am typically not an artillery builder per se but I was drawn in by the style and the manufacturer of this kit.

The kit comes in the traditionally styled Trumpeter box with an artist’s rendition of the D-20 in use on the cover. I have to admit I was a bit in surprised once the lid came off the box. There is a ton of parts to this kit. After a little searching of a couple of variants kits, this actually comes in a bit lean from the older ones. There are 225 parts not including the photo etch parts. You have to admit this is a lot of parts for a model less than half the size of a Pz. IV. My first thought is that this may be over engineered as some other top ranked companies but only after beginning the building process did I realize this is all part of the game when it comes to artillery pieces.

Here is the rundown of the contents of the kit:

  • 9 – Tan colored styrene sprue trees
  • 2 – Tan colored styrene trail carriage frames
  • 2 – Rubber tires
  • 1 – Photo etch sheet
  • 1 – Decal Sheet
  • 1 – 12 page instruction booklet
  • 1 – 2-sided painting and marking guide

As aforementioned there are numerous parts to this kit. Upon glancing through the instructions the build looks straight forward with only one optional choice near the end as there are two versions of splinter shields contained in this kit. The slight difference is in the bottom of the shield where there is a simulated split with a molded plate and rivets.

The standard exploded view layout of the instructions is easy to read and follow. One word of advice is to go slow. Each step is like are like little kit assemblies by themselves. Step one and two cover a fair amount of the center section of the carriage assembly including the movable axels, skid plating, lower swivel plate and tube with elevation sprocket section.

Moving forward through the instructions, section 3 through 8 cover the breach construction, recoil tube installation, targeting optics, central splinter shield along with the barrel and muzzle brake construction. There are many slight mold lines on these parts as well as the lower carriage section along with some ejector pin marks that will need to be sanded and/or filled. Best to dry fit pieces as you go to double check whether or not they will show after construction.

Sections nine and ten show the installation of the barrel to the breech and tube and subsequently the trunnion and gun supports. Step eleven show the mating of the carriage section to the gun supports along with the first step of trail carriage construction which continues over the next six steps on the instruction manual. It seems to keep this less congested the trail carriage was shown this way as there are not a lot of parts to be added to the legs.

After the trail carriage construction come step nineteen and twenty where various elevation and pivot controls are added along with one of the two trial carriage mounted wheels. At this point there is a tremendous amount of detail to this kit, but yet again there are many light mold seams and a few ejector pin marks again.

Step twenty one shows us one of the splinter shield constructions. This is where you will need to make that choice I mentioned earlier. Step twenty-two and twenty-three show the shield installation and tire construction and installation of one of the wheels.

With step twenty-four is the construction of the second shield. Both shield sections have many small photo etch parts that need to be installed, so taking your time with these two constructions is advisable.

The final two stages of the instructions finish up the building of this mighty little piece with the second wheel installation and the construction of the included ammunition and holding box.

There is only two decals included with this kit; one is located on the left hand side of the breech and the other on the inside top edge of the splinter shield. There is only one painting suggestion being Russian light green although there are two shades of green shown between the two sides of the painting and marking guide.

Conclusion

As I stated, I am not an avid artillery builder…yet! But I feel this is a well-designed model. The construction instructions are straight forward and aside from the many, many….many extremely tiny styrene parts this is a really fun kit to build. Many of the parts and built-up assemblies fit as true Trumpeter fashion; snug upon a dry fitting. There are a few hurdles as with the various light seam lines and ejector pin marks but with some clean up this will make a nice static show piece. With a little change in the painting scheme anyone could easily paint up a Chinese made version of the D-20 152 mm Towed Gun-Howitzer.

Although I did start the construction of this model prior to writing this review, I have not finished upon submitting this review. The construction is taking a bit longer than anticipated and rather than feeling rushed in the construction to get the review completed and posted, I opted to submit the quasi-OOB review now and submit construction photos upon completion of the build.
SUMMARY
Highs: This is a highly detailed kit with many construction parts sure to please the avid artillery enthusiast.
Lows: A little high priced at the suggested $52.00 UD. There are numerous light mold seams throughout the kit along with several ejector pin marks that will need to be dealt with.
Verdict: I feel this is a decent kit, a bit high priced but well manufactured and after a little tender-loving care in regards to seams and EPM’s will build up to a beautiful static display to stand alone or in a dioramic setting.
Percentage Rating
88%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 02333
  Suggested Retail: $52.00
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Oct 03, 2013
  NATIONALITY: Russia
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 95.48%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 84.63%

Our Thanks to Stevens International!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Todd Michalak (TRM5150)
FROM: MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES

I am building what I like, when I like and how I like it; having fun doing it. I have been building and finishing models on and off my whole life but the past ten years things really exploded. Just about anything goes when it comes to hitting the bench, but wrecked armor, rusted hulks, ships or ...

Copyright ©2017 text by Todd Michalak [ TRM5150 ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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