As the SU-152 is known as one of the stops on evolutionary scale for the KV-1 chasis before it was overshadowed by JS-Series.
As a newbie to Bronco kits, I was pleasantly surprised to open the box to slide molded sprues, 3 bags of individual linked track sprues and a sprue of clear modular interior & exterior periscopes.
Upon inspection of the instructions, there are multiple sprues of similar looking parts. Watch for the grayed out “Do not use parts” listed as similar looking parts on the same sprue can lead to using the incorrect parts, confusion, and loss of functionality.
Scanning the instructions further reveal Bronco’s engineering of a working articulating torsion bar, suspension, a full gun carriage, semi complete driver station, partial interior, and an partial upper engine box.
- Step 1 - Straightforward no hiccups here
- Step 2/3 - Beware of part number and very similar looking parts with Gb3 & Gb4- Any mix-up here and the working suspension won’t work. Also test fit for alignment Ka9 and binding, you may try the similar looking part, which seems to have slightly larger tolerances.
- Step 4 - Wow, the bolt detail provided on the inside of the drive sprocket.
- Steps 5-13 - Smooth no issues.
- Step 14-15 - Here is where the AMS may kick in, as the rear hull sidewalls are too thin as compared to photos and thus the engine deck plate is too wide. So please refer to photos if you want make this correction. Also wait to attach A6 until later when fenders are on.
- At this step with part Ka14 you may also want to scribe a definition line between the engine deck panels as the kit appears to be welded together which doesn’t look to be the case from photos of bolted upper deck panels.
- Step 16-19 - The only watch point in assembling this fully positional gun carriage is gluing B2 & B3 together aligned at the stretched pyramid so the mantlet will be aligned when attached later.
- Step 20 - Great interior periscope detail that hard to see once hull is buttoned up even with hatches open.
- Step 21 - Beware of Ga23. Teeny, teeny, tiny lifting blocks, so use whatever method you employ so these don’t end up in the carpet. Also a nice touch is the clear plastic prism under the deep armored periscope covers. You may want to sketch out how to paint around this detail before attaching.
- Step 22 - More nicely detailed hatch mechanisms for the positional hatches but beware there is no real interior details to surround the nice gun carriage to be seen through any open hatches.
- Step 23 - Watch the Ga20 & Ga21 handrails, very finely detailed and fragile. I would recommend leaving these off to the end as mine kept getting bumped off while handling & painting. I would also suggest drilling Ga20 & Ga21 handrails alignment holes deeper for greater purchase.
- Step 24 - Again beware Ga12 more teeny, teeny pieces. I might suggest to any manufacturer with these teeny pieces please provide more than the required quantity as offerings to the carpet monster akin to the added bolt heads molded on the sprue runners.
- Step 25 - Refer to photos for placement of Ga25 as there are no locating holes or locating berms.
- Step 26- Here’s where the careful alignment of B2 & B3 will help out in alignment of the mantlet.
- Step 27 - Add the photoetch P2, P3, P4 before adding Ka1 & Ka2. Also note optional extended fender ends. A filler strip of styrene between the upper hull & rear engine deck mating surfaces was needed to fix the gap.
- Step 28-29 - Again teeny Ga12 - Beware. Also recommend adding the very detailed but fragile Modelkasten-like track before mating the upper and lower hulls together. This should decrease frustration and track breakage due the handling and alignment.
- Step 30 - Be sure to center A12 as it doesn’t extend the full hull width.
- Step 31-32 - Very nicely detailed fuel tanks, just watch alignment during assembly.
- Nicely detailed but not visible Driver station
- Nicely detailed positional main gun carriage
- Nicely detailed partial upper engine & tub
- Interesting working torsion bar suspension
- Reasonable photoetch
- Fragile track with copious spares
- Lots of teeny, teeny parts with no spares
- Fragile handrails
- Sparsely detailed incomplete fighting compartment.
- Curiously missing bulkhead between fighting compartment and partial engine tub.
All in all, a nicely detailed, predominately well engineered kit with some curious challenges if you want to open hatches & display the interior.