Trumpeter 1/35 B4 203mm 1931 Howitzer

KIT #: 02307
PRICE: £35.81 MSRP
REVIEWER: Bob Kudyba


The Soviet army employed artillery in large numbers, Joseph Stalin describing artillery as “The God of War”. The Soviets employed artillery in specialist roles such as: anti-tank guns; mountain guns and anti-aircraft guns. Specific guns were also designed for artillery at Regimental, Corps, Divisional and Army level. These guns ranged in size up to approximately 305 mm pieces.

The B4 1931 model was designed in 1931 by N.N. Magdesiew and manufactured in 1932; a total of 871 guns were eventually made. These guns were extremely heavy and were mounted on a tracked chassis to make travel over soft ground or snow easier, together with a wheeled limber to take weight of the gun off the pintle of the towing vehicle. The gun weighed approximately 17,700 kilograms (39,022 lbs) when deployed for action and approximately 19,000 kilograms (41, 888 lbs) in its travel configuration. One source quotes the range of the gun as 18 kilometres (11 miles), which ensured these guns were deployed well back from the front line. The guns had an extremely slow rate of fire: one round every minute. The shells are described as being between 98-100 kgs each (220 lbs).

A wheeled version of this gun was produced after the end of WW2; despite the gun resembling a self-propelled gun, this monster was moved by vehicle or muscle power alone.


Trumpeter released this kit last year (2009) and researching it on line, I also encountered information on another kit of this gun in 1/35th scale that was produced by ALAN, however it appears the ALAN kit is now quite rare and no longer generally available.

The kit has six sprue assemblies with each dedicated to various assemblies of the kit, added to this array of parts are a set of photo-etched parts; one being for the internal muzzle rifling of the barrel, the others are for various assemblies on the gun trail system. String is also included for the hoist line of the munitions crane and 2 x rubber circular pieces for the tyres of the wheeled limber, which was used when the gun was in travel mode. Each assembly is packed into a separate plastic bag to protect it. The kit is moulded in a light grey plastic with various raised detail to depict bolts or wood pattern through the kit pieces. This relief work is well done. The parts are flash free and appear crisp and well presented on their sprues. No evidence of excess flash or sink holes was evident in my example.

The instructions explain each step of assembly, beginning with the construction of the main frame assemblies on the gun trail and track systems. Assemblies are straight forward and the pictorial reference displays each step well. Care must be taken as there are some steps in the process where parts are not glued! The modeller should read the instructions carefully before commencing work! A coloured painting and marking guide is also included. Decals are limited to slogans painted on the sides of the barrel. The paint colours referred to are: Tyre Black, Russian Green and Steel.

Detail on the kit is excellent with a number of small parts captured well. One concern with the kit is the front wheeled limber. Its assembly is quite detailed and contains a series of pins to be inserted in various joints of the limber steering linkages. Unfortunately, the steering rods do not have pins for them at the corners and are moulded as a single piece, which effectively prevents the limber being posed in a ‘wheels turned’ attitude, without some cutting and modifications of this mechanism. This short-coming may pose some problems for those wishing to display the model in a diorama setting as the pieces are fine and fragile (refer to the ‘F’ sprue).

As the kit nears completion, it appears that this is when the modeller must decide to finish the gun in the ‘travelling’ position, or in the ‘deployed’ position; as the connecting linkage (B-2) on the gun trail is described as being glued to the limber. The limber also comes complete with a stand for the limber tow-bar to sit on. At present there is no manufactured kit of a towing vehicle for this gun; hopefully Trumpeter will address this issue in the future. 


Trumpeter has excelled in producing a model kit of an important weapon used during the Eastern Front conflict (Great Patriotic War). This weapon saw service from the opening of Operation Barbarossa (22 June 1941) to the German surrender in Berlin in May 1945. Film footage exists of these guns being used in the ‘direct fire’ mode during street fighting in Berlin in 1945.

In summary a well presented model kit of an important weapon of the Second World War, the completed model should be a talking point on its tracked chassis and its overall size when completed is also impressive. The kit would also make an interesting subject for a variety of diorama subjects. I hope Trumpeter follow up with some other examples of Soviet heavy artillery pieces in the future!

Model courtesy of Hannants and my wallet


Wapedia-wiki203mmHowitzer 1931 (B4)

August 2010

Bob Kudyba

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Previews Index Page