Until now, if you wanted a 1/35 scale model of the 105mm howitzer the old Italeri kit was your only option. (And that kit actually represents a postwar variant.) At last, Dragon has released a new model of this important U.S. field gun, depicting an M2A1 howitzer on an M2A1 carriage. Molded in gray plastic, the kit includes a turned-metal barrel detailed with rifling. Also included are four figures; they're actually from an old Dragon ETO Infantry set, but new arm moldings now allow two of the figures to hold shells. A tiny decal sheet provides markings for the ammunition, but the gun itself has none.
Assembly starts with the gun and cradle. The gunsight and panoramic telescope comprise miniscule parts, many with insecure mountings I bolstered by drilling with a #80 drill bit and connecting with wire.
A touch of Mr. Surfacer 500 filled the seam on the bottom of the cradle. While the breech is made up of several pieces, the breech handle is molded in the closed position. The gun can be built in either the traveling, towed configuration or in a deployed position. The gun assembly can be built to elevate and rotate, but I glued mine in a fixed position. I did not attach the gun shield as shown in Step 3; instead, I added it as my final step. I also waited to attach the wheels to the axle until after the gun assembly had been installed on the axle.
The fit of the wheels to the brake drums was a little loose. Check their position often while the glue sets to make sure they don't shift out of alignment.
I painted the gun while it was still in subassemblies, starting with a coat of Tamiya olive drab right out of the bottle. Then, I lightened the olive drab with a little Tamiya dark yellow to highlight the parts' details. Finally, I used oil paints to wash and dry-brush the model.
It took only about 12 hours to build this little jewel of a gun. The finished model matches dimensions stated on Wikipedia. Another useful Web site was Tim Streeter's "Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII" (www.usarmymodels.com
), where I found an article on building, photos of the gun in the World War II Victory Museum at the National Military History Center in Auburn, Ind., as well as some illustrations from a technical manual.
Unused parts indicate Dragon will probably release another kit with the M2A2 carriage, and no doubt the gun will find its way into other kits - perhaps, one can only hope, on an M7 Priest.
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