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Zvezda SU-122 Build
ColinEdm
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Alberta, Canada
Joined: October 15, 2013
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Posted: Sunday, September 20, 2020 - 04:44 AM UTC

Well, having done the in-box review of this kit and liking what I saw, the time has come to start building and see if my opinion holds up.
As is typical of most kits, construction starts with the running gear. the suspension swing arms are molded in two pieces and fit together fairly well, although the locating pins are a little loose. You have to build 10 of these in 4 different types.

Then the springs in their little cutouts, these go together very nicely, I prepainted them as it will be hard to get in there after assembly:

4 per side of two different types are required and then installed in the hull sides:


The drive gear covers are also added to each side of the hull and then the front glacis is assembled with drive covers and towing hooks and the lower hull tub is put together, followed by the suspension swing arms once the hull glue had set.


The hull went together fairly well, a little bit of fiddling required to keep the hull sides and glacis lined up properly. A few gussets on the inside would have helped with this and to make sure everything lines up properly.

On to the road wheels, these come in 3 pieces and there are two types of rubber, slotted and plain and the instructions show you where to locate each type on the suspension.


They all went together nicely with the help of the locating pins but I did notice some odd surface crazing that almost looked like bubbles under a thin layer of plastic. Hopefully it doesn't show through the paint. Detail on the wheels is quite good.

I should note that the plastic feels quite soft and is easy to damage if you are not careful. I will leave the road wheels, drive sprocket and idler off for the time being and fit the tracks later, and will report on how the track jig made from the sprues works.

ColinEdm
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
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Alberta, Canada
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Posted: Sunday, September 20, 2020 - 05:00 AM UTC
With the running gear done, the upper hull comes next. So far I am finding the fit to be generally excellent on the upper hull pieces, for example you can hardly tell these grilles are separate pieces:

and the fenders line up great as well:

The gun mantlet and elevating/traverse mechanism is next. Zvezda has done a good job with this, including a pin and socket arrangment for the elevating mechanism rather than pure friction fit to get the gun to elevate and stay in position. My only caution would be not to play with it too much, given how soft the plastic is I don't know how long it will stand up before the pin is worn down.

The mechanism is then fitted into the gun port on the front glacis.

You can also see on the upper right of the glacis one of the tiny viewports. Clear parts are provided for these, which I painted clear blue on the front and silver on the back. Mask these BEFORE installation!

The gun barrel assembly is added to the matlet then the front glacis is attached to the front of the fighting compartment. Fit is excellent, only one tiny gap around the fender bracket that needs attention.

varanusk
Staff MemberManaging Editor
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Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain / Espaņa
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Posted: Sunday, September 20, 2020 - 05:33 AM UTC

Quoted Text

for example you can hardly tell these grilles are separate pieces:




Well, in fact you *should* be able to tell, the real ones had a less than perfect fit







Good review and build log, thanks a lot for your time with it!
ColinEdm
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
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Alberta, Canada
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Posted: Sunday, September 20, 2020 - 06:06 AM UTC
Lol, yeah, looks like the fit should be worse on the model! Definitely going to have to add some slop to the welds and texture to the mantlet.
DanEgan
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United States
Joined: March 08, 2020
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Posted: Sunday, September 20, 2020 - 07:52 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Definitely going to have to add some slop to the welds and texture to the mantlet.



Be mindful that much of the welding on this vehicle was done with automated welding machines, not 14-year-olds with minimal training. *Some* of it was done by 14 year olds..... but not all.
ColinEdm
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
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Alberta, Canada
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Posted: Friday, September 25, 2020 - 05:39 AM UTC
With the fighting comp[artment assembled, it was time to mate it to the hull tub and here is where things went a little bit off the rails. Try as I might, I could not get the pieces to match up. the sponsons aligned great, but there was a gap in the front where the upper and lower glacis met. I had to fill it with some styrene strip and contour it with putty.

When putting on the rear plate I noticed there were a couple of gaps that needed to be filled as well above the fenders:

So I am wondering if I somehow mucked up the lower hull tub assemblly, but the rest of it fit together fine...so not entirely sure if it is my fault or not. Anyway, with the fighting compartment affixed to the lower hull it is just all the little details that needed to be added and they all fit well although some of the attachment points are a bit nebulous (eg for the handrails, of which several were broken and had to be replaced with stretched sprue). Fuel drums and rear box are just temporarily attached and will be removed for painting along with exhaust pipes whcih are not attached yet.






I did add some cast texture to the mantlet and a bit sloppier welds to the front glacis based on reference pictures. I also dinged up the fenders a bit, they are thin enough that you can do this carefully with your fingernail.
varanusk
Staff MemberManaging Editor
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Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain / Espaņa
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Posted: Friday, September 25, 2020 - 06:42 AM UTC
Hi Colin,
Again Zvezda can not be blamed for the gap of the fenders with the rear hull (although they may went too far):





However you did not wrong either:



WWII Russian tanks, you have to love them
ColinEdm
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
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Alberta, Canada
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Posted: Friday, September 25, 2020 - 08:43 AM UTC
Guess it all depends on how many bottles of vodka were consumed during assembly lol.
phil2015
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Illinois, United States
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Posted: Friday, September 25, 2020 - 09:43 AM UTC

What did you use for the mesh in back? I think the kits come with some kind of fabric mesh? Whatever you used looks good in your pics.....
ColinEdm
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
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Alberta, Canada
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Posted: Friday, September 25, 2020 - 10:56 AM UTC

Quoted Text


What did you use for the mesh in back? I think the kits come with some kind of fabric mesh? Whatever you used looks good in your pics.....


Its the mesh that came in the kit, kind of a plastic/nylon mesh. I wasn't sure about it at first but it worked out well.
brunocollin
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Gironde, France
Joined: September 13, 2011
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Posted: Sunday, September 27, 2020 - 10:34 PM UTC
Yes, the way Zvezda made the mesh trapped between 2 plastic parts give a great final look.
About joining upper and lower hull, I met a similar problem on their T-34/85.
Colin, are you sure about the stove on the rear hull plate ?
The few pics of it installed I saw were on T-34, not SU-122.
Nice build of a very good kit !
ColinEdm
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
ARMORAMA
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Alberta, Canada
Joined: October 15, 2013
KitMaker: 1,355 posts
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Posted: Monday, September 28, 2020 - 12:32 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Yes, the way Zvezda made the mesh trapped between 2 plastic parts give a great final look.
About joining upper and lower hull, I met a similar problem on their T-34/85.
Colin, are you sure about the stove on the rear hull plate ?
The few pics of it installed I saw were on T-34, not SU-122.
Nice build of a very good kit !


Thanks Bruno! The instructions show to install the stove, I was wondering what it was! I have no idea if it should be on there or not...
ColinEdm
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
ARMORAMA
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Alberta, Canada
Joined: October 15, 2013
KitMaker: 1,355 posts
AeroScale: 107 posts
Posted: Monday, September 28, 2020 - 12:32 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Yes, the way Zvezda made the mesh trapped between 2 plastic parts give a great final look.
About joining upper and lower hull, I met a similar problem on their T-34/85.
Colin, are you sure about the stove on the rear hull plate ?
The few pics of it installed I saw were on T-34, not SU-122.
Nice build of a very good kit !


Thanks Bruno! The instructions show to install the stove, I was wondering what it was! I have no idea if it should be on there or not...
ColinEdm
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
ARMORAMA
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Alberta, Canada
Joined: October 15, 2013
KitMaker: 1,355 posts
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Posted: Saturday, October 03, 2020 - 10:01 AM UTC
painted up with shading and highlights, ready for gloss coat and decals:


The weathering process will tie everything together, onlt the second time I've tried this highlighting technique, did it in my JS-2 and was pretty happy with the results, Really helps break up that green...
ColinEdm
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
ARMORAMA
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Alberta, Canada
Joined: October 15, 2013
KitMaker: 1,355 posts
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Posted: Monday, October 12, 2020 - 11:04 AM UTC
Small update, got the decals on. They have nice thin carrier film and settled down nicely with no silvering.