LEVA Productions #72-B-06 1/72 SU-152
I purchased this resin kit before PST and their ISU-152 and ISU-122 assault guns came to my attention. Though the SU-152 is similar to the ISU-152, the SU-152 was released in 1943 and was based on the KV tank, while the latter was developed from the Stalin (or IS) tank chassis. As with most of my LEVA kits, I acquired this from Stuempfles Military Miniatures in Pennsylvania, USA. LEVA Productions is a small firm of Mr. Alain Levesque of Montreal, Canada. Like with AL-BY resin kits, availability may be a problem but they are worth the wait. To my knowledge it is the only 1/72 scale kit of this AFV available.
The kit is comprised of two one-piece sections of track and wheels (which is typical of most Braille-scale resin kits), a hull, two crew hatches, two fender lengths, light & horn and a gun & mantlet. No fuel tanks or accessories are included. The hull is very well detailed and appears to be based on the ESCI KV-1 kit that I understand is pretty close to an accurate 1/72 in scale. A casting block under the hull is in need of cutting off (save your chips of resin scrap for building debris!). I have heard others mention the tacky feeling to the pale green resin used by LEVA though this has never posed a problem for me and paint adheres well. Just remember to wash the mold-release off properly. In Alain Levesques recent catalog he states that he has changed his resin to avoid this complaint of tacky resin.
The wheels and tracks are well detailed but appear to show aging of the molds; there is excess resin blobs that needs to be carefully removed from between the idlers and roadwheels. With many small-scale armor kits, the tracks most always seem to be the primary bugaboo! In order to strengthen the bond of the suspension to the hull you will want to attach them with some steel pins. For my kit, in order to disguise the track and wheel problems, I modeled a winter scene with deep snow. You could replace them with a suspension and tracks from a new PST KV kit also.
The gun barrel appears too thin a diameter for a 152-mm howitzer, more like a 122-mm gun but shorter and with the 152-mm howitzer muzzle break. If you have a spare 152-mm howitzer barrel from a PST kit, switching them is not too difficult. No decals or instructions are included, also typical of many resin kits. Construction is basic and fit is good so no instructions are really necessary.
A colleague has asked me how I did my snow so I am including a cross-section description below. Materials I used include foam board, sheet styrene, white paint, joint compound (plaster), and baking soda.
Overall, despite its track problems the kit is well done and is a cool looking companion and addition to a Soviet AFV display, right between your KV and Ioseph Stalin tanks. Also available are a KV-1s (#72-B-05) and a KV-85 kit (#72-B-07).
LEVA Productions, 11,260 Rue Bellevois, Montreal Nord, QC, Canada, H1H 3E2
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