The 12mm Soviet range from Victrix grows ever larger – we’ve had the infantry, we’ve had the T-34s and now, the SU-76 self propelled gun arrives to provide some serious anti-tank firepower for your Red Army.
Thanks to Victrix for providing the materials used in this review.
The SU-76, or more properly the Samokhodnaya Ustankova 76, was a light anti-tank SPG used in vast, almost incomprehensible, numbers by the Soviet Army during and after WW2. From 1943ish until the end of the war the various models of SU-76 were everywhere the Red Army went. The combination of powerful main armament, manoeverability, speed and ability to fire directly and indirectly meant that it, while open topped and lightly armoured, it was a popular and versatile support vehicle for infantry and tank units.
With all that, the SU 76 was a likely – and appropriate – choice for the third Soviet kit in Victrix’s 12mm/1:144 line. With the Infantry and the T34s in hand, picking up an SU 76 bag completes the ubiquitous trifecta. You get 6 SU-76s in the pack and there are options to create early and later variants (changing the height of the back plate on the cab), and options for winter and summer uniform crew. As always from Victrix, these are a high quality kit with storage and crew options (in Summer and Winter uniform) varied enough to mean that out of 6 – or more – SU 76s, each kit can be unique.
Each SU-76 is on an individual sprue, offering all the bits you’d expect – tank, treads, gun, mantlet, with three crew poses and two rear plates for each tank. The crew are a great addition, and you can just about squeeze all three in there if you wish, but I think they look nice with two. You have a commander, a loader and a gunner with periscope, each in summer and winter clothing variants. The periscope and loader crew are identical save for uniform, but the commanders are standing and in two unique – bulking up your options for forward observers or officers in your infantry, which is a nice plus.
You don’t get as many stowage options as in the T-34 kit, but this is a markedly smaller tank, and tools, tow cables and other extras are modelled onto the hull, so you don’t feel the difference. The provided rolled camo net is a nice bit of detail that will work well on other tanks too. The detail of the hull more than makes up for the lack of stowage – the hatches, tow cables, storage, tracks and road/drive wheels are all top notch, showing both real attention to detail and the mastery of plastic casting you’d expect from Victrix vehicles.
Overall, this is another excellent kit – it’s not quite as nice as the T34 kit, just because it has fewer options, but then the SU-76 didn’t have as many clearly identifiable variants (it’d be cool to see the anti-aircraft variant!), or something analogous to the the big division between T34 and T34-85. You should get it, if you’re modelling Soviets at 12mm, or if you want some tanks for 1:144 scatter terrain, or you just want a nice modelling experience of a cool tank!
Combining the crew and tank rider options from the infantry and T34 kit gives you a huge range of options, and not just with Soviet tanks. We’ve had Soviet tank commanders and drivers available for a while through the T34s, but with the additional SU76 crew you can finally do Soviet uniforms in open-topped and wide turret vehicles like the Priest, M3 Half-track and Wolverine. Luckily, FDR came up with a good reason for us all to get even more Victrix tanks – Lend Lease!
Lend Lease was an important part of the British and Soviet war effort, opening up the effectively limitless supply of vehicles, ammo and supplies produced by the USA to allies around the world. Both the UK and US (edit: and Canada! thanks Goonhammer Patron greatergreen for this correction) sent armoured vehicles over to the Soviets, some in vast quantities. From a modelling perspective this lets you pick up some of the US and UK vehicles from Victrix and add them into your Soviet force. Games are pretty variable on lend-lease, but at the very least you can sub in tanks (Shermans for T34s in Bolt Action, for example), so you’ll be able to get them on the table. Note for those of you on the more pedantic side – I’ve painted up some M4A1s as lend lease because these are the ones I have, and not the M4A2s that the Soviets had!
There’s a couple of easy ways to model your Victrix US and UK tanks to make them identifiably lend-lease:
1. Painting. There’s no need to change up the silhouette of the tank (or, as I’ve been corrected before, M10 Motor Gun Carriage) because a nice Soviet drab green with the classic Red star and slogan decals very clearly indicates that this is a Soviet version of the model.
2. Stowage. Combining the T34 and SU76 extras gives you a fair amount of stowage that is visually and immediately identifiable as Soviet. The classic T34 external fuel tanks fit easily onto the sides of this M10 which, despite it perhaps not being perfectly accurate (but who knows what happened to those 52 Wolverines anyway?), gives it a clear bit of “Sovietness”
3. Tank riders. If there’s one thing that really makes a tank – any tank – look like it’s in the Red Army, it’s tank riders. Though not used as many people might think – soldiers were typically disembarked long before the shooting began – the idea of Soviet tank riders is pretty ubiquitous in the modern imagination of the Eastern Front, right up there with freezing cold, mud, and Wermacht war crimes for “stuff you think about when you think eastern front”. Combining the infantry sprue and T34 sprue gives you a wide range of tank rider poses, and with kneeling and kneeling/firing infantry aplenty on the Infantry sprue, chucking on a few comrades to ride the back of a Churchill couldn’t be easier.
I’m really taken with the lend-lease idea and will be picking up a few more kits in the future to add to the growing Soviet tank park.
If you’d like to pick up these, or any of the other Victrix kits, as always check out their website, and keep an eye out for more reviews of their 12mm kits here at Goonhammer as we carry on our attempt to keep up with this fast growing and high quality range.
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