In the latter half of WWII, in order to counter German tanks, the Russian army used the JS-2 heavy tank’s chassis to create the JSU-152 heavy self-propelled gun. It featured improved armor protection and a simple superstructure which housed a massive ML-20S 152mm howitzer. They officially entered combat in the summer of 1944 during Operation Bagration, where Russian soldiers gave it the nickname Zveroboy (beast killer) due to its ability to destroy Tiger I and Panther tanks. The JSU-152 proved its effectiveness against both tanks and fortifications all the way to the Battle of Berlin and greatly contributed to the Russian victory.
The new orange box kit features a 1/35 scale Soviet JSU-152 assault gun supported by a figure set of Red Army Scouts and Snipers. The JSU-152 weighed in at 46 tonnes and mounted a fearsome 152mm ML-20S howitzer equipped with 20 rounds. Protected by thick armor, such a weapon proved invaluable in assaults on cities like Konigsberg, Budapest and Berlin. This kit is made all the more versatile owing to the fact that this is a 3-in-1 kit! The modeler has the choice of building a JSU-122 (fitted with a 122mm A-19 cannon), JSU-122s (mounting a 122mm D-25S gun) or the regular JSU-152. Whichever variant modelers opt for, they will be able to use Dragon’s highly convenient JS-2 Magic Tracks in this set offering unparalleled value.
Here ‘s to another finished Soviet subject now displayed in my showcase. Since this was a build sponsored by my wallet, my choice was between Tamiya’s JSU 152 kit #35303 or this version from Cyber Hobby kit # 9112 at almost half the price. Not only the price was a decisive factor, the Cyber Hobby JSU 152 is also a 3 in 1 kit. My main concern was the lower hull inaccuracies that plagued the original JSU 152 ftom Dragon models. But all of the problems exhibited were gone with this kit. A new lower hull was tooled from the ground up making this kit more accurate yet affordable under the Orange Box label from Dragon Models.
There are 3 barrels included with this kit in case you want to build either version JSU-152, JSU 122 or JSU 122S. My local hobby shop has in stock the metal barrel from RB Model (35B63). I decided to see how the supplied barrel look before buying to keep this project as affordable as possible. With little TLC, the supplied barrel was good to my satisfaction.
The cast texture is very nice rough looking as real cast iron/steel.
The magic track is another great addition to this kit and they responded very well to Tamiya’s Ultra Thin Cement. I built the track in small sections and those sections were joined together to complete the track for each side. Only the main idler sprocket has a poly-cap. The rest are to be cemented so my humble suggestion, do not glue any of them before finishing with the tracks. I installed all the sprocket without gluing them.
I used a hair drier to warm up the entire track. Now, you have to be careful not to overheat them. A little heat can go long way, take your time. Once the tracks have the right amount of heat, they do become flexible without snapping. I proceeded to get the tracks around all the sprockets and glue the ends (just the ends) The tracks won’t look right at this point. It is because they are actually long with no sag effect yet at this point. Once the cement on the 2 ends have dried, they carefully add more heat. The tracks will become again soft and you can work out your ”sag effect”. I usually do the near a sink because once I get the track where I wan’t I put the model under cold running water to settle the tracks instantly. I promise a video of this technique as soon as I work on a similar subject.
I had a lot of fun building this model. You’ll end up with 2 extra barrels, be my guest, add them to your spare box or build them for a ”museum exhibit” diorama. Nothing against Tamiya, I love Tamiya models. But for the price of Tamiya’s kit, one can almost build 2 versions with the Cyber Hobby. I have built my share of Tamiya 70’s and 80’s Masterpiece editions and dealt with molding lines and flash (understandable for their age). To be honest, I was expecting worse for this Cyber Hobby JSU 152 but what do you know? Not bad at all. I found no use for the bonus figures but I always welcome any figure to my spare box.