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URAL 4320 Self-Propelled Artillery Gun Truck
Model and Write-Up by John Wendt - Illinois
ICM: 1/35 URAL 4320 Truck (35142)
Trumpeter: 1/35 52-K M1939 85MM Russian Anti-Aircraft Gun (02341)
MOTIVATION: Over the last number of years we have watched the results of the Syrian Civil War playout across the world’s news media. This conflict has highlighted use of new technology and surplus weapons systems from every era including held over from the Cold War and World War II. From chemical weapons, drones, robots and rockets to Hell Cannons and homemade Mortars and anything in between, everything goes on the Syrian battlefield today. Desperation is the Mother of Invention.
I chose to build something a little unconventional but seemingly not uncommon in Syria these days. It is known that the Syrian Army has mounted artillery on available truck chassis to increase their mobility and move quickly into new positions as needed. The basis for this build were pictures found on the Internet that seemed to show that just about any wheel mounted artillery piece could and would be lashed to a truck chassis. A look at the various trucks employed shows both military and commercial chassis mounting howitzers and anti-aircraft guns used as Tank Killers or against fixed targets and soft skin vehicles.
CHASSIS & BED: I wasn’t about to cut up one of the new truck kits on the market so the ICM Ural 4320 became the project donor for a 7/8” frame splice that followed the conventional truck builder’s method of frame reinforcement. I then used examples of various commercial “Pole”-straight trucks as a model for the mounting location of the gun on the bed. A bed mounted storage locker was constructed from styrene sheet and placed over the frame extension and in general the stretch appears to be proportional with what might be seen today at worksites and on U.S. highways or European roads. The bed was modified with sheet styrene for the platform mount for the gun base. Bolt heads and rivet detailing were added to the bed flooring.
CAB & DRIVETRAIN: The engine and drivetrain were built to kit instructions however a separate section of propeller shaft and a driveshaft support bearing/hanger were constructed and mounted on the boxed sub frame to extend the propeller shaft. The exhaust-muffler and tail pipe extension were replaced and the tailpipe moved further to the rear. I constructed a right-side frame mount tool box and added it to the chassis. The cab mirror supports were replaced with brass rod, the searchlight was added from the spares box. The boxed front bumper was built up from styrene sheet and the chain and other bumper surface detail were taken from the spares box. The tires and wheels are resin Miniarm upgrades (Kit No. #35048).
GUN: I was initially stopped by the size of the 52-K-M1939 85MM-AA gun until I found pictures of 105 MM howitzers also mounted on Syrian truck chassis. The gun itself was built to kit instructions except the entire shield assembly including its mount were constructed from sheet styrene, Grandt line bolts and some photo etch. The shield pattern matches up with other modified Syrian/Russian guns and can be plainly seen attached to 57 MM AA guns that they also use. The extra boxes of ammunition are from Miniart sets.
BASE: I constructed a damaged outer perimeter wall from a Lego-master mold using plaster, fabricated a brick street and curb, fabricated the wire window frame and built the broken door from balsa. The street debris is built up from styrofoam, plaster chunks, model railroad materials and sand. The rusty-discarded fuel drum is a Bayardi piece and the worn out tire and broken wheel is a distressed Hussar resin piece from the spares box. The graffiti is pretty much meaningless other than to give a backdrop to the wanton destruction seen in reference pictures. The poster glued to the wall and “YPG” is an acronym for a Kurdish Independence Group while the "bars and stars"-flag on the truck side of the wall is a symbol for independent groups working with the Syrian Government, although loyalties change regularly. Hope you like it.
Copyright: John Wendt 2019