Home > Reviews > Russia > Trumpeter 1/35 scale Kit No. 02343 Soviet 122mm Howitzer 1938 M-30 Early Version

Soviet 122mm Howitzer 1938 M-30 Early Version

Trumpeter, 1/35 scale

Reviewed by Cookie Sewell


Stock Number and Description Trumpeter 1/35 scale Kit No. 02343 Soviet 122mm Howitzer 1938 M-30 Early Version
Scale: 1/35
Media and Contents: 325 parts (259 in grey stryene, 61 etched brass, 4 black vinyl, 1 turned aluminum)
Price: USD$56.99
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: Nicely done new mold kit of this seminal Soviet artillery piece; inclusion of ammo crates and the limber a bonus
Disadvantages: A lot of very tiny parts will annoy some modelers.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended for all Soviet artillery fans


Every nation decided at the end of the 19th Century what its favorite artillery calibers would be, and the Russians chose 57mm, 76.2mm, 107mm, 122mm, 152mm and 203mm for their main artillery weapons. Even when the Soviets took over the government, these calibers were “embossed in stone” by Soviet artillerymen and all guns would be made to one of those calibers, based on echelon and function.

In 1937 the MMZ factory developed a new weapon based on the 122mm “Lubok” prototype howitzer created in 1934, but one that corrected most of the shortcomings of that gun. The designer was the famous F.F. Petrov. Petrov used the barrel and rifling of the “Lubok” combined with the breechblock of the Model 1910/30 howitzer and wheels borrowed from the 76mm F-22 divisional gun. It used the limber from the “Lubok”project but without the charge case carried on that item.

The weapon suffered a long series of development and findings needing more development so underwent a prolonged development cycle. It was finally accepted for service on 29 September 1939 as the M-30 or formally the “122mm Divisional Howitzer Model 1938".

The new howitzer turned out to be a very successful design, and served both through WWII and long into the 1960s as a reserve weapon in the Red Army and a popular weapon sold or provided to foreign governments. 19,247 howitzers were produced between 1940 and 1955 when production of the successor D-30 swung into high gear.

The M-30 is a conventional howitzer with a barrel 22.7 calibers long and which can fire a variety of projectiles out to 11,800 meters. It can be towed by most of the Soviet tractors or the ZIL-5/6 series of trucks, and can come with the 52-R-353M Model 1942 limber as well.

Years ago Zvezda produced a kit of the M-30 which was coupled with the old Soviet Artillery Crew from Italeri in one box. The figures were past their prime by then and the gun was more than a bit of work to cleanly assemble. This nice new kit from Trumpeter solves almost all of those problems and also comes with the 52-R-353M as a bonus.

The gun comes with some interesting features such as the interior to the breech (part B4) which is something rare - most artillery pieces usually just leave a hole for simulated loading. The assembly of the gun uses a larger number of very small parts as well as 12 rivet heads on one sprue to add as well. The elevating mechanism is indicated as to be left free to rotate with the upper carriage when left free to operate.

The modeler has a choice of a turned aluminum barrel or a styrene one - the metal one needs an adapter plug to attach. The shield is thin styrene with an etched center plate that requires the aforementioned styrene rivet heads to be attached to it.

The big “highway” wheels and tires are used here and each one consists of nine parts included an etched brass rivet ring and the vinyl tire. Trails and lower carriage base parts are neatly done and assemble quite neatly.

The ammo crates consist of sides, packing frames, and racks and each one holds two rounds. Casings for this howitzer are quite short so pack in with the projectiles.

Unlike the other limber kits on the market, Trumpeter provides an interior for theirs but no more ammunition is given. The inside racks are provided by etched brass frames that fit in styrene slots. While not shown in the directions, the tail gate (part G10) may be posed open with some work.

Trumpeter shows the final assembly of the limber being made with the use of parts of the 52-Ch-0331 and 52-Ch-0332 horsedrawn harness in place such as the extended yoke and crosstrees. To assemble the motorized drayage version, simply cement the towing eye (part G27) into the front of the normal towing arm (G14).

Finishing directions are simple: paint everything but the tires 4BO green. With some investigation there are camouflage schemes used on these guns (usually winter whitewash) but they are not called out here.

Overall this is a really neat kit that can be coupled up with a ZIS-5 or one of the smaller tractors to make a handsome display, or used with sets of figures in a firing position. The fact that you can open the limber up will help with that.

Sprue Layout:

A 53 Wheels, spades, fine details
B 55+12 Barrel, lower carriage components, fine details
C3 1 Left Trail
C4 1 Right Trail
D 43 Shield, upper carriage, wheel halves, carriage details
F 28 Limber - wheels, suspension, railings
G 36 Limber - body, towing arm, details
J 30 122mm rounds (4), two crates
PE-A 39 Etched brass
PE-C 21 Etched brass
1 Turned aluminum barrel
4 Vinyl tires
1 Etched brass shield