Thank you to the staff at MiniArt for yet another cracking kit to review.
MiniArt 1/35 SU-76M w/crew (WWII Military Miniatures) (35262)
Only surpassed by the T-34 with regard to production in the Soviet Union, the SU-76 (Samokhodnaya Ustanovka 76) was a self-propelled gun which was based on a wide and longer version of a T-70 chassis. Nearly 14,000 SU-76Ms, the main production variant, were produced between 1942 and 1945. Armed with a 76mm ZIS-3Sh main gun, the SU-76 was popular with its crews but was sometimes challenging from a steering point of view.
Originally brought out by MiniArt in 2008, this is the third version to be released with new parts and according to the box, this is a ‘Special Edition’ with crew; five of them in fact. As with all MiniArt boxes, they are very pleasing on the eye thanks to their red banding and lovely artwork; this SU-76M is no exception. The box is crammed with sprues; ten all together, plus the vehicles main lower hull, 16 strips of track links, a nice sheet of Decograph decals and an equally nice PE sheet contained within its own protective card folder complete with MiniArt logo; a nice touch. On top of that you get a high quality full colour A4 instruction booklet with a dozen glossy pages which cover a 31 stage build. The instructions are busy but clear and easy to understand; as usual, take your time and study each section a few times before even picking the sprue up.
The vehicles single piece lower hull is the largest part in the box by some margin and the build progresses panel by panel, externally detailing each as you go. The PE sheet is only 93mm x 53mm but contains an impressive 113 parts many of them just a few millimetres long; if you manage to include them all in the build you will be rewarded with a highly detailed SU-76M. There are no instructions included for the figures; they are self-explanatory from a construction point of view. At the rear of the instruction booklet is a full colour guide which does give instruction of a shell case plus details of shell colours and decal positioning. The latter includes a UOF-354M HE-Fragmentation; a Complete Round, Fixed, AP-T, UBR-354B and a UBR-354P with armour-piercing sub-calibre projectile BR-240P; all 76mm. On the same page is a painting guide for all five figures, which include a commander holding a set of binoculars and four different loaders, one of which (like the commander) is wearing a standard heavy military coat. This busy page also includes a colour guide along the bottom edge for no less than ten manufacturers.
On the very back of the instruction booklet is an impressive colour guide for five different vehicles. These are a SU-76 serving with the SPG Artillery division of the 11th Guard Army, Eastern Prussia, 1944; Unknown self-propelled regiment, Eastern Prussia, 1945; 1238th SPG Regiment, Poland, March 1945; 1448th SPG Artillery Regiment, 9th Krasnodar Kozak Division, Poland, 1944 and 1223rd SPG Artillery Regiment, 5th Guard Tank Army, 3rd Belorussian Front, Vilnus, July 1944. While the actual colour of each SU-76 is virtually the same it is still nice to have a wide range of units and there correct codes to choose from.
This is an excellent rendition of the ubiquitous SU-76; congratulations go to MiniArt! Thank you to the staff at MiniArt for yet another cracking kit to review.
Product: Construction kit
Parts: 532 + 113 PE
Price: RRP £34.99 (Creative Models)
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