The SU-85i is a what if design by Russian modeler Serzh. He created an original casemate and mantle design and generated a small handful as a conversion kit.
Here are a few images of the completed model. I wanted to go heavy on the mud effects. These were slowly built up layer by layer working from light to dark.
I watched his progress online and was fortunate enough to receive one of these gems. The resin castings and 3D printed parts are flawless. Fit is near perfect and the attention to detail, especially the welds, are better than most commercially released resin items.
Serzh also did the masters for the SU-76i conversion I built in 2018.
I used a Dragon PzIII Ausf J as the basis for this build. Serzh’s masters were made for the Academy kit but I was able to make it fit by extending the small filler strip on the front of the casemate.
The tracks are a set of Master Club that have been around the block. I assembled these several years ago but never used them . Handling over the years for various projects has knocked a few pins loose. The PE fenders are Voyager. PZIII fenders are the most complicated I have ever had to deal with in PE. There are just so many parts for the fenders and brackets that soldering then all together can be a real pain. I left most of the fenders off oiut of protest and because it is such a cool look.. The rear deck PE is a mix of Aber and ET Models. Tow cables are from Eureka XXL. Exhaust is CMK resin. Main gun barrel is from Aber designed for the Minart SU-85. It look a little work to get it to fit.
The conversion included several parts for external fuel tanks and a debris shield for the gun mantle. I'm going to keep this build stripped down to the basics.
Progress update. The casemate and main gun has been glued in place. The PE brackets are from ET Models detailed with Wave Option bolts. They might be a fraction too large but accuracy isn't an issue with this build. The fender and brackets have been attached. The figure is from MIG with a replacement hand from the spares. I only expect a few more minor details and then off to get primer.
Paint has been applied to the model. I'm going for a very worn and ratty pain finish to match the general worn appearance of the vehicle. The model first received a black base and then a squiggly white pattern was airbrushed over it. I then airbrushed a very thin 4BO color coat. I then applied a couple of layers of hairspray then applied the camo stripes. These were then gently worn away with a damp brush. Accent colors are used for the missing fender brackets and replacement road wheel.
A dark brown enamel wash was applied to bring out the details. Chipping was applied with a torn bit of sponge and a fine brush.