The SU-76 (Samokhodnaya Ustanovka 76) was a Soviet self-propelled gun used during and after World War II. The SU-76 was based on a lengthened and widened version of the T-70 tank chassis. Its simple construction made it the second most produced Soviet armoured vehicle of World War II, after the T-34 tank. Although not especially loved by its crew for its open fighting compartment and thin armour it was a highly mobile versatile SPG which provided invaluable support to the Red Army. In the rush for fast completion of the order, a quite unreliable powerplant setup (precision-panzer says a quite ridiculous power plant set-up!) was installed in the first mass produced SU-76s. Two GAZ-202 automobile engines were used mounted in "parallel", each engine driving one track. It was found to be almost impossible for the driver to control the two engines simultaneously. Moreover, strong vibrations led to early failures of engines and transmission units. After 320 SU-76s had been made, mass production was halted in order to fix the problems.
As an interim solution a very similar but unrelated vehicle the SU76i (i= inostranny - foreign) using the hulls of over 300 PzIII and Stug III captured at Stalingrad. The German superstructures/turrets were removed, a 20-30mm armoured citadel fitted and the vehicles armed with a version of the F34 76.2mm tank gun plus stowage for nearly 100 rounds. The vehicle also carried two PPShK41 SMGs & 20 Grenades for close defence. A command version equipped with a PzIII style cuppola was also preoduced. Initial tests proved the vehicle to be fast, reliable & hard hitting. Some 201 SU-76is were produced from March to November of 1943 at Factory #37 in Sverdlovsk. The SU-76i had its debut in July of 1943 at Kursk and served in both tank and light mechanized gun regiments of the Red Army. Germans encountered first examples of SU-76i (from 177th Tank Regiment of the 64th Mechanised Brigade) in October of 1943.Some were recaptured by the Germans as Stug 76mm and pressed into service against their former users. By 1944 problems with the SU-76M were solved and the SU-76i was withdrawn from frontline service, although they remained in training units until the end of the war.
This model combines a Heng Long PzIII J with a resin SU76i kit from modellino in Germany to make a very nice example of one of these unusual Russian SPGs.