In my experience the biggest problem with Conscripts is the sideteching. I'm fine with them being more of a utility focused unit. I actually think it is an interesting design. Cons aren't too capable in terms of AI in the mid and late game but there are other units like Penals, T-70, Maxims (although it probably could use a slight buff), Guards, Shocks, T-34s to do the killing for you. Or you can use a doctrine with PPShs.
But the problem is, that if I'm getting a squad mainly for it's utility I don't really want to build to many of them. Such an army will struggle with insufficient firepower. And that's when the sidetech comes into play.
Can you build a single squad of conscripts to have something to snare enemy vehicles?
Well yes, you can. But you're gonna be paying 365mp/25fu (240/0 Cons + 125/25 AT nades) for it. Even with 2 cons it come to about 302/12 per squad, and at that point you're much better off just calling in some Guards.
In short having to sidetech makes the Conscripts more cost effective if you get a lot of them, but they're a unit that would ideally be used in a combined arms composition.
My suggestion to fix this is to have the AT nades unlock for free when any of the tier buildings is constructed and then shift a part of the sidetech cost to T3 and/or T4 (changing the cost of T1/T2 would mess with soviet openings). This would result in:
- Conscript builds would get armour earlier
- Penal and Maxim builds would get armour later
- Most soviet builds would get AT nades earlier
- It would be viable (or at least more then presently) to build just a couple of Cons to support you army with snares
If 3) creates balance issues we could experiment with locking AT nades behind the T3 instead or even something like make T3 cost less but have it require either of the grenade sidetechs in addition to an earlier tech being built (some changes to sidetech costs might be required).
Molotovs could recieve a similar treatment but imo they're niche enough and cheap enough that they might as well stay as is.