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German leFH 18 10.5 cm Howitzer

AFV Club

Eastern Front FH 18 Gun Crew (1)

Eastern Front FH 18 Gun Crew (2)

Hobby Fan

 

S u m m a r y

Stock Number and Description; Mdia and Contents; Price AFV Club 1/35 Scale Kit No. AF35050; German leFH 18 10.5 cm Howitzer; 153 parts (150 in light tan styrene, 1 section of aluminum barrel, 1 plastic screw section, 1 brass tube) Price not known

Hobby Fan 1/35 Scale Figure Set No. HF 548; German Eastern Front FH 18 Gun Crew (1); four figures in light tan resin; price not known

Hobby Fan 1/35 Scale Figure Set No. HF 549; German Eastern Front FH 18 Gun Crew (2); four figures in light tan resin; price not known
Scale: 1/35
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: First reasonably priced kit of this weapon in styrene; crisp, now-legendary AFV Club attention to detail; turned aluminum barrel; tractor/prime mover made by same company; figures make it into a instant diorama
Disadvantages: Very VERY tiny parts may put off some modelers; plastic screw section has serious flash problems; directions still a bit difficult to figure out; no ammunition included
Recommendation: Highly Recommended for all German fans or "Redlegs" (Artillerymen)

 

Reviewed by Cookie Sewell


 AFV Club's 1/35 scale 10.5cm Howitzer may be ordered online from Squadron.com

 

F i r s t L o o k

 

Most people who have talked to WWII veterans or seen many of the documentaries on the "History Channel" are aware that more often than not when they discuss being shot at by the Germans "we were pinned down by Kraut 88s" is the usual statement. This was probably never true, as the 8.8 cm guns were either used for antiaircraft or antitank purposes but not field artillery.

More often than not, and as vividly shown in the TV mini series "Band of Brothers," the culprit was the 105mm Light Field Howitzer Model 18 leFH 18 10.5 cm in German. This gun was developed in 1928-29 by Rheinmetall and after testing entered service with the Wehrmacht in 1935. It could fire an HE fragmentation projectile weighing 14.81 kilograms to a range of 10,675 meters. The basic gun was produced in four different towed versions, the leFH 18M with muzzle brake and increased propellant charge (giving this gun a range of 12,325 meters) being the most common other variant (a later variant used this barrel and upper carriage on the carriage of the lighter Pak 40 7.5 cm AT gun to reduce its bloated weight). The gun was built with both pressed steel and spoked wheels, all with rubber tires, and came in both horse-drawn and mechanized versions.

AFV Club released its very impressive Sd.Kfz. 11 series 3 ton halftrack a couple of years ago, and now has provided a fitting subject for that prime mover to tow. The kit is typical of what we have come to expect of AFV Club over the years, with its turned aluminum barrel and amazingly small parts. Some modelers have grown to hate the latter, but with care and a thin (0.005-0.008") razor saw blade removing them from the sprues is not difficult. All of the major details are including, with the collimator sight consisting of four parts by itself. No rounds or ammunition are provided, but those are available from some of the aftermarket companies.

This version of the gun comes with the pressed steel wheel option. The model does not have many "working" parts, and is designed to be displayed either in travel mode or in firing position. To that end, the directions provide some indication of what the modeler is to do in each case. They also provide directions for how to build either the horse-drawn or mechanized drayage versions of the weapon. (I believe the main differences are one has electric brakes and the other does not.)

The directions cover a total of 15 steps and include at each one how to build it for either form of movement, as well as for firing and towing. One minor problem is that the elevation of the gun is set by the use of the plastic screw section, which alas on the review sample had a massive section of flash on one side. This has to be cut to the elevation the modeler wants, with 4mm being near horizontal and 8mm high elevation. Care must be taken with other parts as well; while the directions are as clear as mud in Step 13, part B4 is the trail lock that keeps the trails in place either deployed or closed. It has to be cut off and fixed in place to represent the closed position, but the directions are not really clear at explaining that point.

The model provides two basic and very predictable paint schemes (gray or dark yellow) but unlike most other artillery models it comes with a decal sheet for the basic warning stencils and placards, as well as the hydraulic fluid warning labels ("braun").

The two figure sets, released by AFV Club's parent company (who makes the resin components of many other AFV Club kits as well, such as the interior for the LVTP-5A1) are both necessary to complete a crew. Set 1 has a loader, two "other numbers" and the gun section commander; Set 2 comes with the two gun layers, another loader and the gunner. All are multipart resin figures with separate arms, heads, feet, hands and details, and are beautifully done in their heavy overcoats.

Taken together, this model can be made into a beautiful diorama, with or without the tractor. (I do not believe that AFV Club is going to do a horse-drawn limber for this gun, but it may come out later from Hobby Fan.)

Thanks to Hobby Fan for the review samples.

Cookie Sewell
AMPS


Review Copyright 2003 by Cookie Sewell
Page Created 10 June, 2003
Last updated 24 August, 2003

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