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In-Box Review
Soviet Self-Propelled Su-85
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by: Vitor Costa [ VITORCOSTA ]

Originally published on:


The SU-85 (Samokhodnaya ustanovka 85) was a Soviet self-propelled gun used during World War II, it was based on the chassis of the T-34 medium tank. Earlier Soviet self-propelled guns were meant to serve as either assault guns, such as the SU-122, or as tank destroyers; the SU-85 fell into the latter category. The designation "85" signifies the bore of the vehicle's armament, the 85mm D-5S gun.

The SU-85 was a modification of the earlier SU-122 self-propelled howitzer, essentially replacing the 122mm M-30S howitzer of the SU-122 with a D-5T high-velocity 85mm anti-tank gun. The D-5T was capable of penetrating the Tiger I from 1000m. The vehicle had a low profile and excellent mobility. Initially given an armoured commander's cap on the first batch, the SU-85's observational optics were improved by the introduction of a standard commander's cupola - the same as on the T-34-76 model 1942. In addition to the already existing prismatic observation sights installed on left side and rear, on later vehicles the same optics were added, almost allowing all-around observation.

Production History

The SU-85 production started in mid-1943, with the first vehicles reaching their units by August. When the up-gunned T-34-85 medium tank entered mass production in the spring of 1944, there was no point in continuing production of a tank destroyer without superior firepower, so SU-85 production was stopped in late 1944 after 2,050 vehicles had been produced. It was replaced on the production lines by the SU-100 tank destroyer, armed with the more powerful 100mm D-10S gun.

There were two versions: the basic SU-85 had a fixed commander's cupola with a rotating periscope and three vision blocks; the improved SU-85M had the same casemate as the later SU-100, with a commander's cupola as used on the T-34-85.

Kit Contents

Total Parts count of 805
707 plastic parts
88 photo etched parts
10 clear parts
Fully detailed interior
Full V-2-34 Engine included
Fully detailed transmissions and compartment
Workable track links
Decals sheet for two variants.


No matter what I write after this, wow is the word that will prevail in this review!

The box art is really well done, being a very realistically drawn representation of the subject, with the strong colours making it really attractive to the eye. If the exterior is good and appealing, when the box is opened the first wow comes!

Inside you can see a plastic bag filled with plenty of plastic sprues, unfortunately they are not in individual bags and that can damage some parts, at the first look all of the parts look to be ok. Inside this exterior plastic bag there is another one with almost half of the plastic sprue, I am not sure what criteria was taken for this.

The tracks are really well done, very realistic the amount of detail is such that even the track numbers are there with less than one millimetre itís possible to read the numbers and letters too. They are supposed to be workable but when I tried to make it work they didn't, the pin is too fragile and broke when I tried to link one track link to the next one, glue will be needed here for sure.

The lower hull is divided in 5 major parts, even if I donít like to have kits like this with its full interior, itís understandable why MiniArt had done it this way.

Once more the parts are filled with plenty of crisp details, the bolts look perfectly done and the weld on the bottom part is represented here too, there are some ejection pins marks, but in places that will not be seen once the kit is built.

The upper part of the hull is even better, with much more detail. All the hatches can be left open; there are two different parts for the engine access, one with the grids moulded in plastic and the other prepared to receive the photo etched parts that are included.

The suspension looks like the real thing! Lots of parts are included to make it look really good, even if most will not be seen once in place.

The interior
The amount of parts and details is stunning, you have to see it to truly appreciate the effort put in by MiniArt to represent the inside of this kit. It can be said that there is more than one kit inside this box, as the interior is by itself a huge kit! The engine looks amazing, the clutch housing has some of the best plastic parts Iíve ever seen on a kit on the gear box.

The gun is composed of a huge number of parts too and it looks really easy to put in on the tank once itís done. The ammunition racks are included with a full ammunition load, the driver position is really well represented tooÖ and everything is there with amazing amount of detail and crisply moulded parts!

The wheels like all the other parts are very well moulded and they look really realistic. There is almost no flash on the parts; the ejection pin marks are strategically placed so as not be seen. There are plenty of photo etched parts for the small detail, like clamps, and handles, this will increase the amount of realism and details on the kit.

The decals looks very good, very well printed in register, they should have a plastic bag of their own, they come with the clear parts and could be easily damaged.

The instructions are clear and easy to follow, even on stages with many parts they remain clean and logical. All the colours are indicated there, so there will not be parts without colour information. The colour references to use are from Ammo.


This is an amazing kit! The interior puts it on another level! This is one of those kits that must be built, not one to be left on the shelfs for many months and years. I have never been in the interior of an SU-85, but I know now what it would be like, I can even feel the claustrophobic sensation of being inside of one. I donít know if the interior is 100% accurate, but I think it is good enough. Even if itís not a kit for beginners, I think itís well worth a try for all the WWII Soviet Heavy Machine lovers. This will make an amazing and exclusive representation of this ďbeastĒ.
This is the best kit (in the box) I ever saw!

Highs: Details and quality of the parts. Impressive interior details, no flash seen. Good decals and clear instructions.
Lows: Sprues should be packaged individually. Some very small parts will require some attention when detached from the sprue. The track are not that workable, even if they are amazingly reproduced. Number options available.
Verdict: This will not be a shake and bake kit, probably not the best one for beginners, one that is going to take some time till its finished, but one kit that i'm sure it will be a pleasure to build for the lover of the genre.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 35187
  Suggested Retail: 44.00
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Sep 02, 2016

Our Thanks to MiniArt!
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 Vitor Costa (VitorCosta)

I build models since i was 7. I like all the different type of models i already have build almost every thing there is to build but my favourite is the aircrafts, mainly 1/48, i build many 1/72 since i still do commission work. After 25 years i return to the AFV's too.

Copyright ©2021 text by Vitor Costa [ VITORCOSTA ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


You welcome :-)
SEP 01, 2016 - 06:05 PM
the tamiya kit is better.
SEP 02, 2016 - 02:06 AM
Predictable ...
SEP 02, 2016 - 02:24 AM
ulises I like some Tamiya kits, but in this case you need to buy a clue bud.
SEP 02, 2016 - 03:28 AM
Great review. Thank-you for sharing.
SEP 02, 2016 - 01:35 PM
Thank you all for your feedback :-)
SEP 04, 2016 - 02:14 AM
That ulix-vm guy is irratating me to the highest degree and i only joined ten mins ago,this is my second review read and hes commented something rediculous both times.
JAN 23, 2017 - 10:22 PM
I wouldn't worry about him...he was last seen in September 2016...
JAN 23, 2017 - 11:06 PM
I kinda miss Ulix and his brand of crazy non-sequiturs.
MAY 05, 2017 - 08:29 PM

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