SKIF 1/72 (?) ZIS-2 and ZIS-3 Artillery Pieces
By James Gray
The ZIS-2 was a 57mm anti-tank gun, far ahead of its time when it was designed before the beginning of the Great Patrotic War. However, ill-informed interference by one of Stalin's cronies prevented manufacture of significant numbers before the opening of Operation Barbarossa, and afterwards the Soviets needed anti-tank guns far too desperately to shift production to this weapon until 1943. By then tank design had moved on, and while it remained deadly to the Panzerkampfwagen IV until the end of the war, it was only effective against the Panther and Tiger at close ranges and against the flanks.
The ZIS-3 was the end of a long line of development of Soviet 76.2mm Divisional Artillery Pieces. Its predecessors had shown a Soviet concern for long range, resulting from Russian experience in the Great War, and while the shell weight was low compared with the German 105mm equivalent, the range was a great deal more. The ZIS-3 itself mainly refined the design in terms of simplicity of manufacture, and served the Soviet Union from early in the war to well past its end.
These are very nice kits. Each kit contains two dark green sprues, one sprue of parts common to both versions (since both use the same carriage) and a second sprue with four rounds of the appropriate ammunition, an ammunition box, the barrel, and the shield. Also included are two very well molded soft rubber tires, with no apparent mold line down the centers. Parts counts are low, of course, considering the small size of the weapons: about 30 pieces, excluding the tires. There are slight sink marks at the thickest places, but otherwise the moldings look very good, little flash, nice detail and alignment. The instruction sheets include directions in the exploded drawing style, drawings of the sprues, and a potted history that is almost, but not quite, in English.
So can I recommend these kits? No, and for one reason; I don't think they are really 1/72nd scale kits. I have no measurements to go by on the size of these guns, but I have heard that they are about 1/65th to 1/68th scale, and that looks pretty close to correct. Certainly, the tires, which should be interchangable with the tires on a GAZ truck, are about 10 percent larger than the tires on my Komintern Models GAZ. These might do in a diorama or setting where no direct comparison to other 1/72nd scale equipment is possible, but they certainly won't look right towed behind anything 1/72nd. It really is a shame, too.
Revell '36 Ford Coupe