122mm D-30 L38 SPG T-34/D30
Howitzer D-30

RB Model 1:35th Scale Set #35B83

Review by Terry Ashley


The 122 mm howitzer (D-30) was designed as a replacement to the WWII 122 mm howitzer M-30 and entered Soviet service in the late 1960, it was also used by as many as 60 other countries. The D-30 was also used as a SPG mounting by Egypt with the gun mounted on a modified T-34 chassis as well as being housed in a large turret for added crew protection.

The D-30 had a longer 38 calibre barrel than the M-30 resulting in greater range and also used a unusual tripod mounting that allowed full 360 degree traverse. Another unusual feature was the large tow linkage under the muzzle brake with the barrel forming the trail in travel mode.

The set:

This barrel set can be used on either the Skif D-30 122mm Howitzer (kit #215), the Maquette T-122 Egyptian 122mm self Propelled Howitzer (kit #35035) or Maquette T-34/D-30 Syrian 122mm Self-propelled Howitzer (kit #35036).

As with all RB Model sets there are no instructions or fancy packaging, just the parts in a zip lock plastic bag and a simple B&W label  and the first thing you will need to do is download the instruction images from the RB Models website to alleviate and problems while assembling this set.

As I don’t have any reliable 1:35 plans for the D-30 I can’t comment on the accuracy of the barrel length etc., but visually it appears to match available photos of the D-30 and SPHs. Not that is any way to determine the accuracy of anything and hopefully more info will come to light.

The barrel set consists of 10 machined brass parts, 7 etched parts and the aluminium barrel tube with the only cleanup needed being the etched fret attachment burs and edges seams.

Brass, aluminium and etched parts
RB Model

The etched parts are “double etched” for want of a better word to arrive at the thicker parts and this results in a seam around the edges which will need to be filed smooth as well as the attachment burs.

The large U shaped parts have substantial engraved bend lines that allow the thicker parts to be bent with very heat bend angles. Due to the sizes you don’t really need to use an etched bending tool, just a pair of flat nosed tweezers and your fingers will do the job.

The barrel tube is cleanly machined and includes threads for the muzzle brake and rifling inside the hollowed out muzzle, with the only cleanup being some excess burs inside the muzzle due to the engraving process for the rifling. This is easily removed by “poking” with a thin needle file; just take care not to actually file the rifling in the process.

No cleanup at all is required on the machined brass parts and the large elaborate muzzle brake is superbly done. The angles on the side ‘fins’ as well as the clean open gas holes shows that RB Models are quickly establishing themselves as masters of metal barrel production.

The muzzle brake end cap is a separate part that fits snugly into the opening in the muzzle brake but you will have to fill the small gap around the cap, this can be done by filling the gap with solder and then filing smooth.

Also added are three small etched parts, two on the top and you are given two each of these parts in case of mishaps which is a nice bonus, although they aren’t really that small compared to some you get in etched sets.

On the underside of the muzzle brake is the bracket to attach the towing linkage, although this is not included in the kit and you need to use the linkage from the Skif kit, the SPG vehicles don’t have the towing linkage but still retain the attachment bracket as supplied with the barrel set.

The assembled muzzle brake simply screws onto the barrel after attaching the muzzle brake collar, note the small notches on the collar should face away from the muzzle brake.

Close-ups of muzzle brake with added etched fittings
plus images of the threaded barrel and muzzle brake neck, also note the join to be filled.

RB ModelRB Model

The rear section of the barrel that includes the two large sighting box supports is made up of 7 brass parts and two etched parts and the trickiest part is getting these assembled in the correct order along the barrel.

The 7 brass sections are not numbered and the are all different sizes and more importantly different diameters, the first brass collar and brass section that also fits between the first sight bracket are 6.7mm in diameter. The second brass collar and brass section that fits between the rear sight bracket are 7.0mm in diameter, this is not a lot of difference and you do need to take care identifying these or the end result will look a little odd.

The brass section that locates between the front and rear etched sight brackets is tapered and the thinner end is located forward, again this is not a lot and you must ensure this is aligned correctly.

The two rear brass sections are again different diameters but are quite easy to fit together compared to the other sections.

Multi-part part sight supports
RB Model

You can either solder the brass sections together or use cyanoacrylate but the most important thing is to not attach the brass parts to the barrel tube at this stage as you will need to rotate these to align with the muzzle brake as well as getting the two sight brackets (etched parts A) level to allow the kit sighting box to fit flush.

Instruction sheet
RB Model

I don’t have the Maquette T-34/D-30 Syrian 122mm Self-propelled Howitzer or Skif D-30 kit so can’t comment on fitting the barrel but there is a fair bit of work to fit this to the Maquette T-122 Egyptian 122mm self Propelled Howitzer as the barrel is full length and designed for the initial howitzer and part of the barrel sighting box and rear barrel supports are located inside the large SPH turret. You will need to leave of the rear most sight box support and rear two brass barrel sections as well as drilling out the resin turret to take the barrel if using it with this kit?

Comparison of brass muzzle brake and the cast metal Maquette kit muzzle brake.
RB Model


This is a very impressive replacement barrel for the D-30 Howitzer with the machining quality especially on the elaborate muzzle brake very well done.

You will need to download the instructions for this set as the assembly is a bit tricky due to the slightly different sized parts which you can easily mix up if not careful.

Once assembled the look of the barrel with the big impressive muzzle brake as well as the rear sight support sections is most impressive.

The biggest “problem” with this kit if you can call it that is this set is so superior to the barrel/muzzle brakes in the respective kits that it’s almost too good for the very average donor kits and will become the standout feature of the kit, not that in itself is a problem.

It’s one of those odd situations where an update set could motivate you to buy a very average and quite old donor kit just to use the barrel, it is that impressive.

Highly recommended.

Thanks to Leo at LionMarc Model Designs who now carry the full range of RB Models barrels for the review set.

Page created October 28, 2009