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15Mar/170

Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122

Next up in russian tank week is the tank destroyer / assault gun kit SU-85 / SU-122 by Rubicon Models in this review.

Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122

The SU tanks were built upon the chassis of the T-34 medium tank. The SU-85 was a self-propelled gun, the SU-122 an assault gun. The SU-122 was meant to fill the needs of assault guns in the soviet army after the success of the german StuG III tanks, and the SU-85 to encounter the heavier german tanks like Tiger, who were difficult enemies for the T-34 and KV1 tanks. Only a few SU-122 survived the war, the only extant is on display at Kublinka. The SU-85 was withdrawn from service shortly after the war and were exported to the soviet client states. The SU-85 was later replaced by the SU-100.

Rubicon covers both variants in this box, the SU-85 and SU-122. The price is set around 20 GBP / 25 EUR for the 1:56 / 28mm scale hard plastic kit. It is suitable for russian / soviet armies, and for post war settings their soviet client states. In case of captured vehicles, only the SU-85 would make sense as Beutepanzerjäger SU-85 748(r), as the SU-122 was rarely captured and there are only a few records of them being used by the german army.

Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122

This kit covers three sprues, a decal leaflet and a multipage instruction leaflet. One of the sprues is shared with the T-34 kit, as the SU were based on the T-34 chassis.

Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122

The cast is properly done. The dark grey plastic of Rubicon might still have some remaining release agent left, so it might be a good advice to give it a light scrub with luke warm soap water and a brush prior to priming (this is an advice, that is rather familiar in model building). Early production runs of this kit had some casting issues, but those were sorted out and there were none with the kit I received.

Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122
Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122
Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122

Unlike the T-34 kit, the SU only covers the rubber wheel tracks. So the choice between these and the steel wheels isn't given. Building starts - as usual - with the tracks. The wheels are for faster and easier assembly connected by a strip of plastic. I decided to modify it and to glue the wheels on individually. The tracks are connected to the left and right side of the hull and have a multi layer design, which gives them more depth.

Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122

Before assembling the left and right side of the hull, I add the lead weights to the insides, to raise the weight of the kit up. To stabilise the connection, there are detailled lower front and back plates added to the hull.

Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122

Now the upper hull is added. It is a modified variant of the regular medium tank hull, to make place for the front part of the hull. In addition in this step the fuel tanks are assembled to the rear.

Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122

As mentioned earlier, with this kit, you have choice between the SU-85 tank destroyer and the SU-122 assault gun. The hull is almost completed with the previous step. The 85mm D-5T and the 122mm M-30S are movable and can be elevated, so pay attention to the assembly not to glue them down.

Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122

There are enough parts in this kit, to build both front parts, so you don't have to choose right away with which you are going.

Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122

The hatches can be assembled open or closed, so you might add a tank commander (not included) if you're feeling like it. There are a few smaller parts, like spare tracks and tool boxes, that are added after the assembly of the front. But you can glue them to hull with a bit of space, so you can still switch between the two options.

Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122

The form of the front has a slight tension to it, but fits quite well without glueing. So if you want a 100% snug fit, you will have to choose one of these and glue it into place, but otherwise if you can live with a bit of clearance (barely noticeable) and you could cover it up with some luggage.

Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122

Here's the comparison with the chassis donor, the T-34/76.

Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122

And now both variants from different angles. As you can see, the front part is only put on top without glue and there is a bit of a gap, but that is only due to keeping it variable.

Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122
Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122 Rubicon Models SU-85 / SU-122

Conclusion
This combi kit brings along the strength of the Rubicon products, the usual x in 1 kits. In here they make clever use of parts from the already available T-34 kit and add two more sprues for variants.

Fit is a topic here and there, but can be fixed with a bit of pressure and glue. Otherwise casting is properly done, low amout of mold lines and no flash. The price is fair and you can use both options even without the use of magnets, which gives the kit quite a nice price performance ratio.

While building this kit, due to the superb experience with the M10/M36 tank destroyer and vast options, it is difficult not to get greedy and expect the SU-100 in there as well, or the SU-85M. But it might be possible that Rubicon will add a SU-100 kit in future.

Link: Rubicon Models

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