by: HG Barnes [ ]
The "Koalitsiya-SV" is the most recent artillery system of the Russian army. This self-propelled howitzer was designed at the Burevestnik Central Scientific Research Institute, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. It was officially presented for the first time at the 2015 Victory Day Parade in Moscow.
The "Koalitsiya-SV" is designed to solve a variety of tasks: shooting of tactical nuclear weapons, attacks on enemy artillery and mortar batteries to the destruction of armored fighting vehicles and fortified installations. Equipped with a 152mm gun it has a maximum range of 40 to 80Kms (24.85 to 49.7 miles) depending on the ammunition used.
Adorning the heavy cardboard flip top box is Zvezda's usual great artwork. Along the sides and bottom you'll also find information about this machine and the kit. Inside there are several bags containing the parts with separate bag for the decals and grill mesh, one piece lower hull, the instruction booklet and finally a color sheet for the markings options.
While this is well organized and the box is very sturdy there were several parts which had broken free of the sprue trees and half a dozen hull pins had been knocked off. I'm being overly critical though about minor issues for this is a very nice presentation.
The first thing that grabs you is the amount of detail Zvezda have molded into the styrene. From rivets to bolts, weld seams to track treads there is plenty to admire here. Add to that you have a decent part count at over 420 parts to enrich the look even more. As for accuracy, I studied dozens of photos of the 2S35 and had to giggle like a kid at what I was building was exactly like the real thing! The tracks are as good as anything MENG have on the market (I know because of having their kits), the travel lock is spot on and crisp, the machine gun is jaw dropping and the loading mechanism on the back of the turret is exceptional! Even the tow cable is molded with high resolution. There were a few ejector pin marks on some of the tracks but you'd be hard pressed to see them with all that road wheel action going on. Also, under the front skirts are a few as well, but hardly noticeable should you choose not to fill them.
The one gripe I have is the plastic mesh. Cutting it to size with the template looked simple but was not. For starters it's the wrong size and second the corners would slip out of the weave, leaving threads misaligned and a nasty bit of business to get back into place. This should have been photo-etched and while there is an aftermarket company making them, they are in Russia and have no English translation on their website. That said, with some fiddling you can make them work and in the end don't look too bad.
The clear parts are just that, clear. You get vision ports and headlamp lens but there is nothing for the front indicators or brake lights. The tracks are link and length and as mentioned look great but more important they fit like a dream right down to being presaged, even though being behind the side skirts. If you have a Meng t-90 series chassis with the PE road wheel painting template it won't work... a generic template will. The bolts are nice here and the fit is really good. The machine gun barrel is not hollowed out so you'll have to fix this but the two piece main barrel has an excellent fit with little clean up. Zvezda give you two options to display your model with the barrel travel lock being fixed or at rest for the gun and turret to be positioned as you want.
There are only two markings options for this kit. However, there are plenty of numerals to depict a specific unit should you want to alter the camouflage. The decals are thin, have good color and go on with little fuss, plus there are very few of them. The color call-outs are in Tamiya and Zvezda paint.
The instructions are another highlight of the kit. Not only are they logically laid out, there not overly busy per page and in all the 38 steps I think I found one mislabeled part... I think??? You won't have to jump all around the steps in the build process and many of the delicate parts can be added prior to priming... thank you Zvezda for that!!!
This is a very impressive and imposing vehicle and Zvezda have done a fantastic job in recreating it in 1/35 scale. The bonus you get is that you don't need anything aftermarket to make this the best it can be. Sure there are upgrades in the anti-personnel dispensers and a few grills but I've looked at those verses the kit parts and was not impressed. Bottom line is there's plenty of fun with all the parts, easy to build tracks and as much or as little paint and weathering to do. I'd happily build another in a second!
Our thanks go out the good people at Zvezda for sending us this kit for review. Thanks as well to Sunward Hobbies for getting my supplies super fast due to this build going so quickly and keep an eye open for that build feature I'll be putting up in the very near future.
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