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SU-85 m1943 Mid Production

MiniArt 1/35 SU-85 m1943 Mid Production Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2016 Manufacturer MiniArt
Subject SU-85 m1943 Mid Production Scale 1/35
Kit Number 35187 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Beautiful detailing, full interior Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $64.99

First Look

SU-85 m1943 Mid Production Kit
SU-85 m1943 Mid Production Kit
SU-85 m1943 Mid Production Kit
SU-85 m1943 Mid Production Kit
SU-85 m1943 Mid Production Kit

The Samokhodnaya Ustanovka 85 (SU-85) which means self-propelled platform with 85mm gun, in this case the 85mm D-5S anti-tank gun. Where the SU-122 was essentially a mobile assault howitzer, Soviet planners realized that the new German Tiger and Panther tanks could withstand the 76mm main gun of the T-34/76 except at closer ranges and a newer and specialized anti-tank gun was required. The answer came as the D-5T which was a high-velocity 85mm gun that was mounted on the same chassis as the SU-122 becoming the D-5S and providing the Soviet armies with an effective counter the German cats (Tiger and Panther). Production of the SU-85 ended when the T-34/85 entered production armed with the same gun.

There have been a variety of SU-85 kits produced over the years but none have approached the level of detail that has just been released by MiniArt. This new 1/35 kit follows several earlier releases including the SU-122 which provide a model that has a full interior - both fighting compartment and engine compartment - which gives the modeler some interesting options. Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on 74 parts trees plus one tree of clear parts (duplicate trees not shown) and one fret of photo-etched parts. According to the manufacturer, there are 707 plastic parts and 88 photo-etched parts in this box. I believe it as there is some serious mass to the box when you pick it up. If this seems a little intimidating to you, not to worry as MiniArt is releasing a version without an interior which will significantly cut down on parts count and complexity.

Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Nicely detailed V12 diesel engine
  • Detailed engine cooling system
  • Detailed transmission
  • Positionable engine access hatches/doors
  • Detailed driver's station
  • Detailed commander's station w/radio and sight
  • Detailed suspension system inside compartment
  • Detailed D-5S gun
  • Detailed ammo storage w/full ammo load
  • Positionable crew hatches
  • Individual track links

There is a lot of kit here for the money and lots of detail to keep you busy. What is especially promising is the T-34 chassis which I hope will result in a T-34 with full interior as well (I know it has been done before elsewhere, but wait until you see this kit. Given the number of small parts and intricate painting required to get this all together, I recommend this kit for experienced modelers with good tools.

The one down side to this kit is MiniArt is still providing color profiles and paint instructions using Mig paints and only Mig paints. Since Mig paints are not widely available and many modelers have other preferences, it would be nice to see MiniArt provide paint charts with other brands' colors listed as well.

If you want a nice kit of a Soviet Army cat hunter (Tigers and Panthers), this SU-85 is their nicest kit produced to date and they offer another version without the interior for those that prefer a faster and easier build.

My sincere thanks to MiniArt for this review sample!