Military Wheels 1/72 SG-122
By John Kelley
|Date of Review||October 2010||Manufacturer||Military Wheels|
|Kit Number||7253||Primary Media||157 in light gray styrene|
|Pros||Unique subject and easy to build.||Cons||Soft detailing on road wheels and instructions have you add parts contrary to the real vehicle|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$14.00|
What do you do when you have a bunch of captured tanks and obsolete guns? You make an assault gun! Believe it or not, this is what the Soviets did in 1943. By this time, a number of Stug. III had been captured by the Soviets and plans were made to use them in the assault gun role. At the same time, they had a large quantity of 122 mm field guns and ammunition. By putting the two together, they created the SG-122. While this tank never made it into mass production, it was a very important step in developing the SU-122.
Military Wheels has released a model of the SG-122 in 1/72nd scale. In researching the model, I had practically no information on this assault gun. The only thing that I could find was a Website: www.thebattlefield.ru. There was a one page article about the vehicle that contained a lot of useful information; some of it contradicting the model instructions. There were no photographs, but there are some engineering drawings on the site. You can find it under "assault guns" and by looking for "SG-122". In this build review, we will use some different parts from the instructions recommendations and not use others to make a more accurate version than is in the instructions. For a review of the model, go here.
Starting with Steps 1 and 2, do not add Parts 19 and 21. These are escape hatches for the Panzer III and are not used on the Stug. III, which is the base vehicle for the SG-122. Steps 3 and 5 involve the drive sprocket and the rear idler. Because the Stug. III that was used was either a C or D model, we will use the later drive sprocket and idler, which is included in the kit. These are Parts 5 and 7 for the drive sprocket and 6 and 8 for the rear idler. They are marked as not used in the instructions.
In Step 7, the lower hull is assembled. I had no problems putting this together except when it came to adding the exhaust Part 12. The exhausts are joined together by a U-shaped piece of plastic that simulates an exhaust pipe and connects the muffler/exhaust together. This "U" should be removed as it will interfere when you add Part 11 to the lower hull. In my references on the Stug. III C/D, this piece is not on the vehicle. Simply cut it off and glue the exhaust directly to the rear plate as per the instructions.
In Step 8, I began assembling the tracks. I removed the three tabs from the ends of the link and link track. These tabs are supposed to slide under the next track, but I found it easier to just file them off and butt-join them together for a better fit. To have the links fit closer and easier on the drive sprocket, I filed off the teeth where the links are glued in place. I did wind up cutting down part of a track link to fill in a gap on the bottom. Outside of this, I found the tracks a pleasure to assemble. The road wheel detail is a little soft and I had to drill out a couple of holes that were flashed over with plastic. The backs of the road wheel centers were not well molded. I had to file these down a little so that the road wheels would glue together.
If I were to build this kit again, I would completely file the backs of the road wheels to remove the molded on center and add a shim of about .020 between the road wheels to clear the track guide teeth. If you choose to do this, make sure the shim is as thick as or thicker then the track guide teeth. Had I done this, the track on the bottom of the road wheels would have fit much better. After assembling the track, I proceeded to Step 9. I did not add Parts 27 and 23. Part 27 is used for the later model Stug. III and not the C/D version and Part 23 is extra track which I'm not certain was on the prototype. Next, I started Step 10 which is the case mate turret.
While the parts fit together well, there were some gaps between the turret roof and the sides. I filled these with strip styrene and sanded them down. I added the antennae and later on, broke it. I still can't find it, so that's why it's not on the model. Step 11 was assembling the air intakes. On one intake cover was a hole. I thought it looked like a damaged mesh so I did not bother to fill it. Take care when assembling the intakes and covers as it is easy to glue the cover to the wrong side. I know because that is what I did! The cover and intake should fit flush to the engine deck. After I realized what I did, I fixed the incorrectly assembled part.
Step 12 was the main gun. I wound up using putty to fill some gaps on the main gun recuperator housing and along with the case mate turret and the front upper hull to lower hull assembly, these were the only places where filler was required. I then proceed on to Step 13 and final detail assembly. The side shields are slightly longer than the transmission cover plate and needed to be trimmed so they are even with the front of the plate where it angles off. I also found that I needed to add plastic under Part 58 so that it would clear the transmission hatch hinges.
According to the instructions, only Part 60 should extend over the transmission hatches. In reality, the shields extend over both hatches due to the thickness of the shields and the triangle shaped pieces on the recuperator housing Part 61 and 62. The kit also has separate tools which the instructions do not call out where to place them, but from the information I have, the German tools were removed and were replaced with Soviet versions. Since Soviet tools are not included, I did not add the tools to the kit. But the nice thing about this kit is you get a finely molded set of tank tools and an early model drive sprocket and rear idler to use on another kit.
The model was given a base coat of Model Master 4767 Aircraft Interior Black. I then based coated the model with Tamiya XF-73 Dark Green (JGSDF). I chose this color because it is so light and by the time I clear coat and wash, it will darken the finish considerably. I then painted the tracks Tamiya XF-72 Brown (JGSDF), thinning the paint just enough to where it was the consistency of a very heavy wash. This allowed some of the black to show through. I then clear coated the model with Future and applied a wash of Aircraft Interior Black to accent the details and panel lines.
I dry brushed the model with Tamiya XF-57 Buff. I then toned it down by dry brushing with XF-73 and lightened with XF-2. The mesh screens on the intakes are not raised but scribed like the maintenance hatches. For these, I painted them the same color as the hull and dry brushed the raised openings black. I still had to add a wash of the green to get some color, but it is still not very visible after that. The tracks were dry brushed Model Master silver as well as the drive sprocket teeth and the rear idler surfaces that contact the track. Finally, I added a flat coat using Model Master Clear Flat.
While the detail is a little soft and the instructions conflict with the actual vehicle, overall, I found this to be a very enjoyable build. The Russian Battlefield website was indispensable, especially since this is the only information I was able to find on this vehicle. I highly recommend this kit to those interested in anything Soviet and especially to those who have an interest in prototype vehicles. And except for the items noted, this was an easy build. No decals were included in the kit. Since this is a prototype vehicle, none would be necessary.
This kit is recommended for experienced modelers.
My sincere thanks to HobbyTerra.com for this review sample!