The 2S1 entered Soviet service in 1971. It initially replaced towed artillery batteries in tank divisions, tank regiments and BMP equipped motor rifle regiments. By the 1980s regimental batteries were being increased in size to battalions and by the late 80s BTR regiments in GSFG were recieving them. The vehicle mounts a 122mm D30 Gun and swims with little preparation and together with the D30 towed gun provided the mainstay of regimental artillery.
These vehicles are the main equipments in my Motor Rifle Regiment's Regimental Artillery Group covered here. As with all things Soviet it has had a long life and is still in service globally with many nations, so another of those very flexible pieces.
Fabbri make a ready assembled version, Ace and Armo both make more intricate versions. The ACE model is difficult as the instructions are unclear around the track assembly. This review focuses on the S&S model which if you are into volume production is a good bet, being the easiest to obtain and construct, both the others are aimed more at the modelling market than the war gaming.
The model is cast in resin, the hulls and turrets of the eight versions I have recieved over the last three years have been clean and free of bubbles, the model requiers little preparation before assembly. The barrel is cast in white metal and on the latest versions recieved from Shaun is flash free, assembly is straight forward.
The vehicle is instantly recognisable as a 2S1 with the shape size and major features being clearly represented. The only niggle to my mind being that the angle of the cut away on the forward left hull corner is probably a little sharp. I have not attempted to add any extra detail to my vehicles and could find little evidence of the vehicles in use with any significant stowage.
The obvious conversion job is the UR-77 Meteorit, an explosive hose mine clearance system. the options are to either scratch build the turret or to kit bash using the turret supplied with the ACE kit avoiding the difficult hull construction.
The other is the RKhM "Kashalot", but as this was built on a shortened chasis, conversion of the resin hull might not be the best way forward.
I have painted 2S1 in Vajello Russian Green, weathered using washes of vajello Khaki and khaki grey. The decals are from a variety of ace or ICM kits. TL Modelblaus Soviet set might also be useful particularly if you wish to represent Naval Infantry versions.
Other 2S1 resources on the web that you might find useful are:
Sigga, Modelling madness
Ace, KG Wings
ACE 2S1, on the way, kit review
Armo 2S1, on the way, kit review
2S1 Walk Around, Prime Portal
UR-77 Walk Around, Prime Portal
UR-77 missing lynx, Braille scale forum thread