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ISU-152-2 152mm BL-10 Cannon

DML 1/35 ISU-152-2 152mm BL-10 Cannon Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2014 Manufacturer DML
Subject ISU-152-2 152mm BL-10 Cannon Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6796 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Unique variant Cons Nothing serious
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $63.95

First Look

ISU-152-2 152mm BL-10 Cannon
ISU-152-2 152mm BL-10 Cannon

The ISU-152 was a production improvement of the SU-152 self-propelled gun with the latter based upon the KV-1 chassis. The ISU-152 replaced the KV-1 chassis with the next tank series going into production - the IS (Josef Stalin) tank. Both vehicles were armed with the ML-20S 152mm howitzer gun which was effective against most German armor on the field. Nevertheless, designers looked for better firepower against imminent threats like the Elefant and Jagdtiger and several prototypes were developed.

One such prototype was the ISU-152-2 which adopted the BL-10 152mm gun with a significantly longer barrel length than the ML-20S and promised greater muzzle velocity and range. On the test range however, the BL-20 had issued of barrel strength and consistent azimuth accuracy which literally sent the weapon back to the drawing boards. While the gun was eventually fixed, the vehicle was never adopted into production.

To the best of my knowledge, DML is the first to release the this (literally) one-of-a-kind vehicle. The ISU-152-1/2 were developmental prototyped that did spend quality time on the range but couldn't get the bugs worked out of the guns before the end of the war. This kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on seven parts trees plus two bags of Magic Track track links. Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Can be built as ISU-152-1 (BL-8) or ISU-152-2 (BL-10)
  • Detailed IS suspension and road wheels
  • Snap-together Magic Track for track sag realism
  • Detailed hull complete with pioneering tools
  • Positionable crew compartment hatches
  • Positionable rear shell jettison hatches
  • Choice of BL-10 w/muzzle brake or longer BL-8 main gun
  • Different mantlets proved for BL-8 vs BL-10 installation

This kit renders your choice of prototypes but there are a number of odd glitches in the instructions and even the box cover. In the box title above, it says 155m BL-10 (it is 152mm or this would have been an ISU-155); the instructions in step 7 show you the steps to render the BL-10-armed ISU-152-2 or the BL-8-armed 'ISU-122-1' (should be ISU-152-1). Similar mistakes are given in the Paint and Markings section which is moot since there were no markings provided nor identified and the vehicles were either in primer or 4BO.

Aside from these very minor typos that might confuse less-experienced modelers, this kit will render your choice of unique subjects, either one of which possess the stereotypical Soviet armor silhouette with the 'big honking gun'.

My sincere thanks to Dragon Models USA for this review sample!

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