Russian 2S1 Self-Propelled Howitzer
Trumpeter 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
|Stock Number and Description||Trumpeter 1/35 scale Kit No. 05571; Russian 2S1 Self-Propelled Howitzer|
|Media and Contents:||937 parts (588 in light brown styrene, 265 grey styrene, 72 etched brass, 11 clear styrene, 1 twisted brass wire)|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||Very highly detailed model of this widely used weapon|
|Disadvantages:||Track hyper-detailing will annoy and frustrate many modelers; etched brass swim vanes will be fiddly to assemble|
|Recommendation:||Recommended (Highly Recommended less tracks) for all Soviet artillery fans|
In the late 1950s the Soviet Army realized that its artillery weapons were quickly becoming obsolete, with only 152mm howitzers mounted on a self-propelled chassis and an obsolete 76mm system in the SU-76. As there was a wholesale overhaul of the Main Artillery Directorate (GAU) going on to become the Main Missile and Artillery Directorate (GRAU), studies began to create a new family of self-propelled artillery to support tank and motorized rifle units.
This materialized in a new family of self-propelled artillery weapons, each having a designator and a “Flower” project name:
2S1 Gvozdika 122mm self-propelled howitzer for ground forces
2S2 Fialka 122mm self-propelled howitzer for airborne forces (not built)
2S3 Akatsiya 152mm self-propelled howitzer for ground forces
2S4 Tyul’pan 240mm self-propelled mortar for High-Powered Artillery
2S5 Giatsint 152mm self-propelled gun for Army/Front level artillery
2S7 Peon 203mm self-propelled gun for High-Powered Artillery
The Gvozdika (carnation) was designed to additionally be amphibious to keep up with tanks and the new BMP infantry fighting vehicle and so it was large and spacious to provide the necessary buoyancy needed. Prototypes entered testing in 1969 and the gun was accepted for service in 1970, with production commencing in 1972 and running through 1991 at the Kharkov Tractor Factory.
The 2S1 was fielded in sets of 18 to motorized rifle regiments up until 1980, when it was also supplied to tank regiments. Thus a motorized rifle or tank division in the Soviet Army eventually had 72 of these guns in service. While it was dropped in 1991 as the Russians felt 122mm was too small a caliber for current use, many of the guns may now be rebuilt as the 2S34 self-propelled 120mm weapon which is capable of functioning as a mortar, howitzer or antitank weapon.
Some 34 different nations have used the 2S1, and the first and only time US forces came into contact with it was during DESERT STORM in 1991 while in Iraqi service. While these were good weapons, in Iraqi hands they were not up to the task and were either counter-batteried out of existence or captured. APG used to have one from the 51st Iraqi Mechanized Division on display when the museum was there.
In 1999 SKIF released a kit of the 2S1 consisting of 206 parts in grey styrene, black vinyl and etched brass. While it was one of the better SKIF kits, it suffered from poor tracks, soft details, and the fact it was based on an early production vehicle missing many of the features found on more common ones.
Trumpeter is now doing an entire series of Soviet/Russian artillery pieces, and has followed its lovely 2S3 and BM-21 kits with the 2S1 (the 2S19 is to follow in 2014). Unlike the SKIF kit, this one has a lot of nice, crisp details and can be considered anything but “soft” in that area.
All of the hatches on the vehicle are provided as separate parts, but there is not one wit of an interior to be found. At least the crew hatches have internal details, so an aftermarket interior only needs to cover turret, engine and such.
But the details on this kit, while crisp, are tiny to minuscule! The tracks along each have two tiny separate teeth, so the majority of parts in the kit are tracks. This is a bit of overkill on the part of Trumpeter, and will probably make anyone selling aftermarket tracks very happy. Likewise, the swimming vanes for the rear of the hull are all formed from etched brass. While far superior to the mediocre SKIF ones they are going to be dicey to assemble as there is very little “foot” for the parts to be attached, even using solder. While Trumpeter did a nice job of them, they should have offered a slightly easier option in styrene. (Or, build it as Iraqi where many of the units jettisoned them as irrelevant.)
Construction is quite conventional and other than the aforementioned swim vanes etched is kept to a minimum and used where needed.
The turret shell, lower hull and upper hull are single parts and all show signs of slide molding with great detail capture and representation.
There are some options on the model. The option in Step 5 is for air cleaners set for swimming (raised) or normal (lowered); the directions do not show the raised ones installed.
Parts C5 and C6 are the front swim vanes and are in styrene, but the directions again do not note in Step 8 and Step 11 that 8 is installed for use and 11 is stored for normal movement! They do show empty or full racks in Step 11, but pick one or the other.
Decals are neatly done and the finishing directions cover five different guns: A, B, D, and E appear to be Soviet ones with B in “Guards” finish, but D is an Iraqi one marked for the 21st Artillery Regiment ((Battalion)), 3rd “Saladin” Armored Division, Iraqi army 1991. Note that it should have markings front and rear so half of them are missing.
Overall, other than the overwrought tracks this is a lovely kit and will more than fill the bill for a popular and widely used SP howitzer.