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Skoda 75 mm Mountain Gun

Hat Industries 1/72 Skoda 75mm Mountain Gun Kit Build Review

By John Kelley

Date of Review February 2012 Manufacturer Hat Industries
Subject Skoda 75mm Mountain Gun Scale 1/72
Kit Number 8244 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice kit Cons Instructions
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $11.99

Background

The Skoda 75 mm Mountain gun was used by the Austro-Hungarian Army during the First World War. It was primarily used on the Italian Front but was used by the Germans as well. The Germans did not use this weapon in great numbers due to its poor performance against tanks. For a more complete history with walk around photos, I recommend the web site www.landships.info. Look in the Artillery Articles and it is listed as Skoda 7.5cm Gebirgskanone M.15.

The Kit

Hat Industries has released a series of artillery pieces in 1/72 scale which have been molded in a hard plastic so that ordinary modeling cements can be used. Prior to this, their guns were molded in the same soft plastic as their figures. The new hard plastic models are:  Russian 76mm M1902 Putilov gun, Italian Deport 75mm gun, British Q 45 Howitzer, 10cm Feldhaubitze M.14 gun and the Austrian Skoda 75mm Mountain Gun, which is the subject of this review and build. While war game models are necessarily simple to facilitate quick assembly and to minimize the number of parts that can be broken off during a game, these models are well done and nicely detailed. They are a good basis for the display modeler to add additional detail to if they so desire. But simply built out of the box they are a good representation of the real weapons.

Skoda 75 mm Mountain Gun Kit #8244 - The kit is comprised of eight flash free pieces molded in a gray green plastic. The trees consist of two wheels, two shield supports, carriage, gun, gunners sight, and gun shield.  Each box contains four trees for a total of four complete guns.  The box art can be used as a painting guide and on the back of it is a set of instructions for assembling the model.  The crew seats are molded onto the carriage and the elevation wheels and breach block handle are all molded onto the gun.  There is both raised and recessed details on both the inside and outside of the gun shield.

WWI Austrian Artillery Crew Kit #8258 - This set consists of eight figures, two wooden ammunition boxes, one coiled rope, one woven ammo case, one shovel, three shells, and two shell casings.  The figures are molded in various poses and the detailing is quite good for figures of this size.  The figures are molded in a soft plastic which is rubbery to the feel but still stiff and when properly primed, can be painted with normal modeling paints.  More on this later.  The box art can be used as a painting guide and on the back is a diagram of the figures and accessories.  Each box consists of four sprues for a total of thirty-two figures.

Assembly

Skoda Mountain Gun

I followed the kit instructions in assembling the gun and encountered no problems. I did find two very fine sink marks on the back of the gun shield which I sanded down. I removed a seam on the top of the gun barrel as well.  The only change I made to the kit was to drill out the end of the gun barrel and to add the folding gun shield extensions from sheet plastic to the bottom of the shield.  I added .015 rod between the kit shield and the extensions to represent hinges.  After completing the model, I then began painting it using Model Master 1736 Leather and 1706 Sand mixed 50/50 which I sprayed on with an airbrush. The gun was painted in this Red Brown color but it could also be painted in a Olive color as well. 

The steel tires on the wheels were painted Gun Metal and after this had dried, I coated the model with Pledge Floor Wax with Future.  An oil wash of Windsor and Newton Van Dyke Brown was applied to the model to bring out the details.  To give a weathered look to the model, I used brown, white, and yellow oil paint and I applied these in small dots to the shield. I then took a brush dampened in Turpenoid and pulled it down along the shield creating a streaking effect.  This was done to the chassis and wheels as well.  When everything had dried, Testors Dull Coat was sprayed over the model to flatten the finish.  Pencil was rubbed on to the edges of the gun shield and the breech block to simulate wear.

Skoda 75 mm Mountain Gun Skoda 75 mm Mountain Gun Skoda 75 mm Mountain Gun Skoda 75 mm Mountain Gun

Artillery Crew

I removed two figures from the sprue and began eliminating the mold seams. This was accomplished by taking a paper clip and opening one end straight.  I then heated that end in a candle and removed the seams with the heated paper clip.  Care should be taken when attempting this to be sure that you do not burn your fingers or mar the figure.  Patience will yield seams that are blended into the figure and will not be visible.  If you find blackened areas on the figure this is normal and the priming will eliminate this.  After cleaning up the figures, I washed them in soap and water, scrubbing them with an old toothbrush.  After they had dried, I Super Glued the base to some square plastic tubing to act as a base for painting.  For priming, I used Rustoleum Plastic Primer.  This can be found at any hardware store or home center.  Apply several light coats, letting them dry in between. 

For the base coat, I used Vallejo Blue Gray.  This color was a little too blue so I over-coated the figure with Polly Scale Ocean Gray.  The boots were painted black while the faces were painted flesh, and brown was used for the hair. Red tabs were added to the collars and one of the figures had a mustache which was painted black.  The figures were then coated with the Future and allowed to dry.  Dark blue paint was thinned and washed over the uniform making sure all the folds were highlighted.  After this had dried, the Ocean Gray was dry brushed over the uniform.  Game Workshops Gryphonne Sepia was used on all of the flesh painted parts of the figures.  After this had dried, Testors Dull Coat was once again used to flatten the finish.  I recommend going to www.hat.com and reading the Tips section for working with soft plastic figures.

Diorama Base

The base was made from .040 Clapboard Siding and strip styrene was used to edge the base.  The ground cover was made using Apox-I-Sculpt and rocks were placed on the base.  The gun and figures were temporally added as well.  I removed the figures and gun to create a depression and allowed the ground cover to set up.  The edges of the base were painted Model Master 1735 Wood and this was over-coated with Tamiya X26 Clear Orange to simulate a wood finish.  Finally, Future was applied on the border to give it a glossy finish.  After drying, I used Tamiya Masking Tape to protect the border and then painted the ground work using a craft acrylic tan paint and adding Woodland Scenics Fine Turf while the paint was still wet.  After the base was covered, I removed the excess turf and the gun and figures were then added to the base, being glued in place with white glue.

Conclusion

Skoda 75 mm Mountain Gun Skoda 75 mm Mountain Gun

This was a really fun build.  I had determined at the beginning to build this as much as possible straight out of the box.  For me it was a learning experience by leaving my  comfort zone of armor modeling and building artillery and painting soft plastic figures.  While I am sure that you will do a much better job than I did, for my first time painting soft figures, I was quite pleased with the results.  The Hat model and figures are really great.  I highly recommend both of these kits to anyone interested in Great War modeling.  For a very small price, four guns and thirty-two figures can be acquired.

I would like to take this time to thank Philip Radley for his advice for how to prepare and paint the Hat Industries figures.

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