15 cm Field Howitzer / 10.5 cm Field Gun
As stated on the kit box, this is a brand new, new molds kit. The kit will build your choice of one artillery piece of different calibers ( 10.5 cm and 15 cm ) that used a common carriage. Although it doesn't seem to be addressed in the instructions, it looks to me like this kit will build a gun in either a firing mode or in travel mode. These guns were commonly seen in German use on all fronts throughout World War II.
These guns were designed and manufactured by the Krupp and Rheinmetall firms in the 1920's, and were a big part of Germany's rearming plans in the 1930's. The 15 cm gun was more commonly seen than the longer tubed 10.5 cm gun, as the Wehrmacht already had the lighter leFH18 10.5 cm field artillery gun as standard.
What's in the Box?
Sprue C - 10.5 cm gun tube
Sprue D - 15 cm gun tube
Sprue E - Gun Crew. We seem to be missing part D3....
Sprue E - Gun Crew, opposing side view. Detail is not bad, but just a bit "soft" on the figures.
Above - instructions
Instructions detail view - the drawings are not crowded, and clearly done.
Above - 2 of 3 paint and camo schemes provided, the one not shown is a solid gray East Front example.
Above - decal sheet, plus the part D3 which had broken off of the figure sprue
Parts quality seems quite nice at first glance, as you'd expect from a new tooled kit. Parts are molded crisply with nice detail, sprue attachment points are of a reasonable size, and mold seams appear to pose no problems.
As noted above, this kit will build a gun in either 15 cm, or in the longer tubed 10.5 cm version. The kit also includes 4 shells in each caliber, as well as a five man gun crew.
Building the Kit
The build begins with assembling the gun breech, gun tube and associated parts. Some of these parts ( as seen above ) are quite small, so take care not to tweezer launch them during removal from the sprue and cleanup.
You have a choice of building the 15 cm gun, or the 10.5 cm gun, with the 15 cm tube being the traditional two part tube, split lengthwise. The 10.5 cm tube is split at it's rear section near the breech, with it's forward section being a single slide molded section. I opted for the old school two piece barreled 15 cm version. The two halves of the gun tube fit well, cleanup of the joined areas was pretty easy.
The gun cradle and recuperator are molded in two halves, which are quite well detailed and fit together very well.
Above - assembling the gun carriage sides, the parts are very well detailed, with no fit issues.
Above - carriage sub-assemblies ready for mating to the gun cradle assembly.
Above - despite it's small size, this gun is very well detailed and fit has been very good. Just pay close attention to where NOT to use cement!
Above - fitting the equalibrators is just a bit tricky, as the lower section is cemented to the carriage arm at the bottom, while the hollow upper section ( to the left of center above ) is a friction fit to the upper part of the gun cradle. The bracket on top of the upper equalibrator tube which fits to the upper carriage is a bit fragile, and WILL break if too much force is used to mate it to it's hinge point on the gun cradle. If mounted correctly, the entire gun cradle ( and gun tube, when mounted ) will elevate and depress properly.
Above - adding the sights completes the upper carriage. Again, no fit issues.
Next up was the build of the lower carriage. When unboxing the kit and taking the above Sprue photos, I noticed two parts were broken from the sprues and luckily they were in the cello bag. Unfortunately a third piece was also missing from it's sprue, ( B14, already missing when I removed the Sprue from the cello bag for photography )and it wasn't in the bag. I should have caught this situation earlier.
Above - the missing part pointed out. Most unfortunate.
Above - some of the lower carriage parts
Above - the lower carriage assembled, the white parts behind the axle are my scratch built replacement for the MIA part B14. This is an amazingly well detailed, intricate assembly, and to Italeri's credit, parts fit was all very well done.
These guns had a split trail, meaning it had two legs for stability. Each of the legs has 4 parts making up the body of the leg. The molded on detail is quite sharp and crisp, and the parts fit together perfectly!
Above - both trail legs assembled and in place. Pay close attention to where not to use glue, and these legs can be movable.
Above - the trail legs are full of detail parts to be added, beginning with the spades. These are mounted on the ends of the legs if you're depicting the gun in a firing mode, or hooked into place on the arms for travel mode. The instructions do not show the gun as being built up in travel mode, but it's easy enough to figure out.
Building up the gun trails is straightforward, with solid landing spots provided for the various parts. All parts were added with no issues or problems. The red and white range poles I waited to add, due to painting complications.
At this point I decided to build the gun's towing limber, which itself is a nice little kit.
Just as with the gun, parts fit here was very positive, and the instructions were crystal clear. Detail on these limber parts is quite good.
Above - the built up two wheel limber
The last of the gun's sub-assemblies that I built was the gun's wheels, dual wheel assemblies with their brakes and linkages, etc. All parts fit well and have very nice detail on them. The wheels are "keyed" to fit onto the gun carriage axles in the proper orientation. Wheels built, that concludes the building portion of this review. Painting will be done in sub-assemblies, with final assembly to follow. I've been test fitting these sub-assemblies all along during the build, all mated up perfectly.
Above - all sub-assembles ready for final assembly.
But first, the Figures..
The kit provides a five man gun crew, with various amounts of assembly required ( mostly attaching arms, gas mask cases, one head...). I don't usually build in 1/72 scale, so I'm really no judge of how well these figures are done. They do look serviceable to me, and I'd think that a good figure painter could make them look pretty good. It's nice that Italeri included them in the kit.
Painting and Finishing the Gun
I opted to go for a standard Wehrmacht dark yellow paint scheme on the gun, due in part to my desire for the markings ( decals ) on the gun to show up clearly against the paint. I figured that if going to the trouble of adding several tiny decals to the build, it'd be nice to actually see them clearly.
I pre-shaded the gun with Vallejo surface primer 73063, German Panzer Gray, which is quite dark and will help provide depth to the paint job. I then followed with Tamiya's acrylic Dark Yellow, XF-60, misted on with my airbrush allowing the dark gray to show through in the spots that would be shadowed. A coat of Future was airbrushed onto the model to provide a glossy surface for the decals application. Decal application went very well, the decals in this kit are perfectly printed, and went onto the model without any silvering, and no edges showing. I will say this though...some of them are TINY! I did some chipping with Vallejo German Camo Black Brown applied with toothpicks and a 20/0 brush, followed by oil washes.
While building this kit it occurred to me that a subtitle for this review could easily been " the Braille Scale kit that thought it was 1/35 scale". It seemed to me that parts breakdown for this little gun was actually pretty similar to many guns that I'd built in larger scales. What I'd thought was going to be a quick weekend project took quite a bit longer, and to be honest about it, I loved every minute of it! This build was fun.
The parts quality in this new-molds kit was quite good, and the kit engineering was also very good. There were very few of the "where the heck does THIS part go...." moments during the build. Mold seams, while present, were acceptable and easy to clean up. The instructions were well drawn and clear. The instructions did NOT address building the kit in transport mode, but most of us could easily figure that out, so it's not an issue in any case.
As one of the "Old Guard" model kit producers, it's nice to see Italeri continuing to produce quality kits like this one. It's also nice to build a kit that reminds you of why you started model building as a kid, too.
Thanks to Model Rectifier Corporation ( MRC ) for the review sample
Reviewed by Chuck Aleshire, AMPS Chicagoland
AMPS 2nd Vice President, Midwest Region
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