The Soviet 152mm howitzer M1937 (ml-20) was a development of the pre-war 152mm M1910/34 which was in turn a development of the pre-World War one M1910 siege gun. Designed by F.F Petrov, the type was produced from 1937 to 1946 saw service throughout the second world war with the soviet union with some captured pieces being used by German and Finnish units. After the war, many middle Eastern and African countries deployed it due to its simple and rugged design and was still in service in some parts of the world up until the end of the 20th century.
Opening the sturdy cardboard box, the model is securely packed with a seperate compartment for the turned metal barrel, tyres and trails. Each sprue is individually wrapped in its own plastic bag and is cast in a light brown styrene, which is maybe an unusual choice, as the supplied colour scheme for this kit is Russian Green. The parts are as follows:
- 9 light brown styrene sprues
- 3 Photo Etch Frets
- 2 small rubber tyres
- 2 large rubber tyres
- Turned metal drum barrel
- 2 styrene trails
First thing that struck me is the high level of surface detail displayed on the parts. The gun carriage is very nicely rendered with the rivet detail being especially sharp. The gun shield and the area around the pivot look like they have been slide moulded to include as much detail as possible. Other smaller parts such as the gun elevation and traverse controls and the breach are also very delicately moulded with no flash or ejector pin markings to speak off.
The tyres are also very nicely moulded in rubber (never thought I would ever say that!) and have a high degree of detail on both the side walls and the tread. Interestingly, they also have a matt appearance, something lacking in the rather glossy vinyl tyres supplied by other manufacturers.
There is a turned metal barrel supplied with the kit, which along with the three photoetch frets supplied with the kit should make a very detailed model straight out of the box. The P.E parts cover various attachment points and parts of the gun elevation system as well as other small fixtures and fittings that would be too fine to cast realistically in styrene. Looking through the instructions, some of these P.E parts will require some fettling to get them to fit around parts such as the recoil suppressor , but the results should be well worth the trouble.
The instruction sheet is very well laid out, Its just a shame that no information is contained on what you are about to build. The only info on the subject are a few brief sentences on the side of the box, its no big deal but personally its nice to have a good idea what campaigns and countries used the type.
Each of the 13 steps in the construction are clearly described with a clear call out when P.E parts are required. One colour scheme is supplied on a separate A4 sheet with the only two colours listed Russian Green and tyre black! The paint codes are supplied are for Mr Hobby and Vallejo paint numbers.
There are the two basic configurations available, the gun can be constructed with the barrel retracted with the breach secured to the superstructure , the included M-46 Carriage can then be used to display the gun in a travelling position. Alternativeley, the trails can be displayed in the open position with the barrel extended and the spades deployed to display the model in the combat position.
have produced an impressive kit of this mainstay of the soviet armed forces . The inclusion of three photo etch frets and a turned barrel gives the modeller the chance to build a very detailed build straight out of the box. The carriage is a useful addition and although it is reasonably common, being able to model the gun in a number of configurations, opens up some interesting possibilities.