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SDV SD-44 85mm Divisional Gun

SDV 1/87 SD-44 85mm Divisional Gun Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review December 2006 Manufacturer SDV
Subject SD-44 85mm Divisional Gun Scale 1/87
Kit Number 87051 Primary Media 28 parts (17 in olive green styrene, 11in black styrene )
Pros Only kit I know of covering this particular weapon in any scale Cons Trails may be somewhat fragile for wargaming purposes
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) Approx $5.71

First Look

One of the problems with any gun large enough to do sufficient damage to an opponent is that it usually is not easily moveable by the gun's crew alone, and thus requires extra help. This may be either via a team of horses or mules, a wheeled tractor or a tracked prime mover. In some cases, this means the gun is out of action for a dangerously long time while it is closed up, prepared for travel, hooked up to the prime mover, and then moved to a new position.

One solution which the Soviets used in the early 1950s, primarily with consideration of airborne forces, is to simply attach a "clip-on" or built-in engine and drive train to the gun and move it by itself over short distances. One of their first successful efforts in this area was to power the D-44 85mm divisional gun and equip it with a monowheel drive unit that fastened to one of its trails.

This gave the crew, usually seen as VDV airborne forces, the ability to move the gun around on the battlefield over most normal tactical distances without needing a prime mover, and thus made the gun more applicable to air drop. This lasted until the advent of the BMD-1, which came with its own 73mm grenade launcher and did not need extra firepower. Top speed was 25 kph and 58 liters of fuel gave it a range of up to 220 kilometers. The gun was driven spades forward with the monowheel also providing steering.

The concept is now back in vogue again, through weapons like the South African G6 155mm gun, and other nations are once again considering this class of weapon.

SDV has taken their nice little D-44 kit and added a sprue of parts to it that provide the monowheel drive, engine and driver's seat for the self-propelled version. They also add an ammunition crate to the kit for the gun.

As noted in a previous review, the trails are fragile and wargamers may wish to reinforce them with sprue or strip. The heads of the trails should be fastened by flattening the pins with a heated screwdriver blade for security as well.

No detailed finishing instructions per se are included, and the two colors of paint recommended are based on SDV's own line of acrylic paints. The Czech version should be in an olive color paint whereas the NVA (East German) one would be in Warsaw Pact grey-green.

Overall this is a conversation piece if nothing else, and something different to add to a miniatures wargame!

Thanks to Jan Podubecky for the review sample.