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ML-20 Kit

Trumpeter 1/35 Soviet 152mm Howitzer-Gun M1937 ML-20 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2011 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject Soviet 152mm Howitzer-Gun M1937 ML-20 Scale 1/35
Kit Number 2315 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch, Aluminum Barrel
Pros First plastic kit of the ML-20 Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $47.95

First Look

ML-20 Kit
ML-20 Kit
ML-20 Kit
ML-20 Kit

The M1937 (ML-20) was a howitzer-gun in service with the Soviet Army before the start of World War II. The M1937 was designed to replace the M1910/34 which was itself an improvement over the M1910 siege gun developed before World War I.

The weapon is classified as a howitzer-gun because even though it was an Army or Corps-level artillery asset, it was capable of indirect fires (howitzer) and direct fires (gun). The weapon had a telescopic sight for direct fires and a panoramic scope for indirect fires.

The weapon had another innovation that would later be adopted by other artillery pieces called a 'meteoballistic summator'. This was a device that consisted of a slide rule and a pre-calculated table to help calculate aiming corrections for observed meteorological conditions.

The ML-20 was capable of firing 3-4 rounds per minute with an experienced crew. The weapon was used extensively during the war and even the Wehrmacht put captured weapons to work to return rounds left behind.

Trumpeter has released another installment in their artillery piece collection, this time the ML-20 M1937 152mm howitzer gun to compliment the B-4 M1931 203mm howitzer and a nice selection of German and US guns. Molded in tan styrene, this kit is presented on ten parts trees, one aluminum barrel section, and two frets of photo-etched parts. According to the specs, this kit consists of over 260 parts so you know the detail is there!

Construction starts with the carriage which includes leaf-spring suspension, spoked wheels, and a split trail. The trail can be build up in travel position, in firing position, and firing position includes a set of four spades that are used hold the gun in position during repeated fires.

The gun mount and shield are next and these are equally detailed with stowage and operator controls. The gun cradle has the hydropneumatic recoil mechanism represented.

The gun consists of styrene halves for the rear half of the barrel plus the breech, a turned aluminum barrel for the front half of the barrel, and a two-piece styrene muzzle brake to recreate that distinctive venting pattern.

The kit is rounded out by the limber that attaches to the end of the trails so the gun can be towed by your Voroshivolets tractor or other prime mover.

You can set up the model to remove the limber to put the gun into firing position and back to towing position if you like. The barrel can be pulled in for normal travel speeds or left out.

The kit doesn't have nor need any decals as these weapons weren't usually marked up. The color profile shows the weapon painted overal Russian Green (4B0) though I'm sure that the gun was given winter camouflage when needed and the guns captured by the Germans were given compatible colors as well.

This is a highly detailed artillery piece from Trumpeter and I think it will look outstanding behind my Voroshivolets tractor. I'm still amazed how Trumpeter can take something like a 'simple' artillery piece and create a detailed masterpiece like this one.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!