Chinese 120mm Type 89 Anti-Tank Gun
u m m a r y
||Trumpeter 1/35 Scale Kit No. 00306;
Chinese 120mm Type 89 Anti-Tank Gun
|Media and Contents:
||345 parts (295 in olive styrene, 29
in silver styrene, 18 in clear vinyl, 2 tracks in gunmetal vinyl, 1
section of nylon screen)
||USD$22 - $30
||First (and probably ONLY) kit of
this vehicle produced; very well done and relatively complete interior to
include engine, driveline and crew/fighting compartment
||Um, low name recognition; may puzzle
many modelers; somewhat esoteric
||Highly Recommended for all SP gun
fans, artillery fans, PLA fans, and modern armored vehicle fans
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In the early 1950s, the Tomashov design bureau in Mytishchi developed an
excellent tracked chassis for artillery weapons. This was used for a number of
prototype Soviet guns such as Object 100, Object 105, Object 124, and Object
125. It did not get its first fielding until modified versions of the design
were fielded as the launcher platform for the 3M8 "Krug" missile, better known
in the West as the SA-4 GANEF.
Not deterred, they pressed on and finally, with the demand to produce modern SP
artillery at the end of the 1960s, it appeared as Object 303 – the 152mm 2S3 "Akatsiya"howitzer,
Object 304 – the 240mm 2S4 "Tyul'pan" heavy mortar, and Object 305 – the 152mm
2S5 "Giatsint-S" gun. These all went into production in the early 1970s, and
other variations also were produced, including mine layers and mine clearers.
Naturally, the Soviets wanted to sell this vehicle and all of the variations to
their erstwhile allies and customers, the Chinese.
The Chinese would have none of it, but not being above stealing a good idea when
they see one, instead developed their own version of the Tomashov standardized
chassis which appeared in the early 1980s. This chassis was most clearly seen
when the Chinese debuted the Type 83, a 152mm SP howitzer which was clearly
copied from the Soviet 2S3. (It even used a modified Type 66 howitzer, much as
the 2S3 used a modified D-20, the weapon the Type 66 was based on.) They also
debuted the 122mm Type 83 MRL , a 40 + 40 (one volley and one full reload)
rocket launcher which combined the chassis of the Type 83 gun with the Chinese
copy of the BM-21 rocket pack.
The Type 89 120mm SP Antitank Gun has been around now for about 14 years, but
little is known about it other than it uses a 120mm smoothbore gun based on the
Soviet 125mm 2A46 gun designs but firing unitary "Western-Style" ammunition. It
has always been something of an oddity, for as most countries went away from SP
antitank guns in favor of SP ATGM launchers, it appears a throwback.
Nevertheless, at least one battalion has found service with the PLA and was most
recently paraded at the 50th Anniversary Parade in Beijing as March Unit "I".
(For some odd reason, the Chinese made it simpler for both themselves and for
Western observers by letter coding all units; "A" were the Type 96/98 tanks, "C"
Type 88B, etc.)
The chassis has been modified and improved, and now serves as the chassis for
the 155mm PZL-45 long range (45 caliber barrel) version of the SP gun-howitzer
that is finding foreign acceptance in the Middle East.
Trumpeter has started to turn its attention to Chinese weapons, and is trying to
produce high-quality world standard kits of them rather than the toylike and
unbuildable early efforts. Their BJ-212 with 105mm RR was one of their first
efforts to clean up things, and was very nicely done. These three kits – the
Type 83 SP 152mm, the Type 83 MRL, and the Type 89 SP AT gun – are their next
The kit is very neatly done (in styrene, and I am glad they learned THAT lesson
early on!) with a lot of parts. The number of components can be determined by
the fact that this kit only offers vinyl track and yet still has nearly 350
parts. "Sprue poppers" will note right up front that the lower and upper hull
cannot be assembled dry – the parts fit together with the bulkheads from the
interior, and as such there are no tabs or overlaps to fit the parts together.
Also, a nice touch is that the fender braces for the rear fenders are molded
onto the stern plate (part E57) and come with a polystyrene block to protect
them from snapping off in shipment.
The hull detail is quite complete, missing only the usual wires and rodding
which most other companies also ignore on kits with interiors. The V-2 diesel
clone used in the vehicle is most detailed – consisting of some 29 parts by
itself including the motor mounts. As a point of fact, the first 13 steps in the
"monkey-see-monkey-do" direction booklet are all dealing with the hull interior
Steps 14-19 cover the running gear, and since this vehicle uses a unique track
until the after-market boys come out with one there is nothing which will do as
well as the kit tracks.
Note that many parts may have to have holes drilled out, but they are noted in
the directions so you have to pay attention to each step as you go. Each of the
three kits differs in its upper works and rear fittings, so most of the changes
have to do with those parts. Steps 20-28 cover the upper hull and mating the
lower and upper hull sections together.
The turret has a relatively complete interior, but as it is an SP gun of the
purest sense, there apparently is no turret basket as with most other armored
vehicles with a rotating turret. The crew seats mount to the turret base, and
many other details mount on the inside of the turret roof; for this we currently
just have to accept Trumpeter's word for it. Ammo stows in the bustle and only a
false front (part F3) is provided to simulate that assembly. The gun appears to
be fixed as it comes with a pre-molded canvas boot (part E1) that cements to the
frame from the inside.
A model of the new Chinese heavy machine gun – presumably based on the venerable
"Dushka" from its appearance – is provided on a separate sprue and consists of
14 parts on its own.
Markings provided include a "number jungle" of sorts, but the only marking
option given is that of the three-color camouflage and "I" series numbers used
during the 50th Anniversary parade.
Overall, this is a very impressive model of a very obscure vehicle to most
modelers. Barring that, one shouldn't ignore it as it appears to be an
interesting vehicle and a very detailed kit.
Review Copyright © 2003 by Cookie
Page Created 23 February, 2003
Last updated 24 August, 2003
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