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Kanone 18

Trumpeter 1/35 German 17cm Kanone 18

by Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review August 2010 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject German 17cm Kanone 18 Scale 1/35
Kit Number 2313 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Very highly detailed howitzer kit Cons Not always too clear how parts assemble and some PE too small to be practical
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $74.95


The 17 cm Kanone 18 in Mörserlafette (German: Heavy Howitzer Carriage) (17 cm K 18 in MrsLaf) was a German heavy gun used in WWII. It was intended to be employed at the Corps level in order to provide very long-range counter-battery support. It filled the same basic role as the 21 cm Morser 18, as well as sharing its carriage, and replaced it entirely after 1942. Although it was technically an excellent weapon, it was expensive, difficult to maneuver, very slow to set up and tear down; many were lost when their crew abandoned them to avoid capture by advancing Allied forces.

The Kit

Trumpeter is a model company based in Hong Kong. This is one large and complicated model kit. I don’t recommend it to the novice modeler. It contains 13 sprues of plastic parts, a left and right chassis side, 2 metal springs, 2 brass cylinders, a fret of Brass photo-etched parts, 2 large black vinyl tires and 2 small black vinyl tires. There are easily nearly 700 parts in this kit!! It definitely is not a weekend project.

I started construction with the two side frame members. Two long strip shaped parts are to go into the slots in these frames. Make sure you get the correct ones into the right slots. A31 goes into the left frame and A1 into the right one. Arms are then turned upside down to add the small fittings.

In step 2, be careful to get all the parts positioned carefully, especially the doubly curved part no. F10.

In the multiple assembly drawings making up step 2 study the drawings carefully and follow the arrows shown to get these complicated parts positioned correctly.

In step 4, the recoil frame arms are flipped over twice in the drawings to add parts. Be careful you don’t get parts cemented upside-down here.

Kanone 18 In step 5, two small locking handles (parts #H4) are to be left LOOSE with no cement and swing loose for now. They are not held very tight by parts F38 and F31. So, be careful not to knock them loose from between these. Also, line up the holes in F38 and F31 with the holes in the parts they glue to behind them. I almost missed adding parts H5 here. So make sure all parts shown in the drawings are used.

Once all parts are added the locking handles (left loose moving earlier) are swung upward into the locking positions.

In step 6, you make two locking arms that later hold the round recoil ground plate. Make sure they are oriented at the right angles from the frames. I had to remove and turn mine later to get them positioned right. Make sure the notch in small part H25 is aimed at part G15. F55 was so tiny that removing it from the sprue destroyed the rivet detail on it…sigh.

Kanone 18 The eight PE hooks (parts PE8) are so microscopic and tiny that they are impossible to super-glue to the sides of the fames. So, I left mine off. These truly should have been molded into the frames and not provided as PE parts the size of a mosquito’s eyebrows.

In step 7, I lost one part H21 to the shag rug monster and had to make a new one from a plastic disc. I also lost one bracket that holds a pry bar to the frame (part H19) and I fabricated a replacement for it.

In step 8, I lost part no. H24 and made a new one of those.

Step 9 is the assembly of a rectangular ground pressure recoil plate and a round one. You have to decide here which way you want to build your howitzer. Either deployed in the firing position or in the towing mode. The round pressure plate is fitted differently for either one.

Kanone 18 In step 10, after assembling parts J19, J20 and J21 together the unit was a poor fit to the yoke shaped part J22. Make sure you turn this yoke upside-down before adding two parts H8 and J5. Also, after parts J2 and J3 are glued together they should be glued into the yoke BEFORE part J5 is added above them. A lot of flash was found on part J27.

In step 11, I suggest that you super-glue the two metal springs in place. As they tend to be easily knocked off with handling otherwise.

In step 12, the catwalks are shown deployed for the firing mode. These get folded up for the travel mode. Refer to how they look for travel by viewing the drawings on page 24 of the instructions. G16 had very heavy attachment points to the sprue and took a lot of cleaning up. Since I am building my howitzer in the travel mode, I left the catwalks off until after painting, so as to be able to get behind them and paint the frames.

Kanone 18 In step 13, I found part G33 hard to find on the sprue. It was between G4 and G5. Part G2 has very heavy attachment points to the sprue and needed much cleanup. When gluing G14 to G13, I left tiny G13 still attached to the sprue to glue it to G14. It was much easier handling it that way and was cut off the sprue once the glue hardened.

I found one of the two G32 parts missing in my kit. This is an axle part that holds the larger wheels on the chassis. I contacted Trumpeter in Hong Kong at least 3 times by e-mail with no responses from them. I finally scratchbuilt a reasonable replacement for the missing part out of plastic tubing and sheet stock. While not a perfect match for the missing part, it does the job and I mostly hidden from view behind the wheel anyway. It is very unclear just where part H12 goes in the drawings. In step 15, there is a mistake. Part no. E1 should be E3.

Kanone 18 In step 16, you have to open two large holes in part G49. I managed to break this part in two, whittling out these holes. A tiny knob (less than 1/16th in diameter) is shown to go into a cup on the side of the breech block. It has a keyed pin on it, that is half circle shaped. It is supposed to go into a similar shaped hole at the base of that deep cup. I found it impossible to do and will probably leave this knob off. Trumpeter surly should have molded this knob into the breech block and not as a separate super tiny part to drive modelers nuts.

In step 17, part N5 was found to be heavy with flash and need much cleaning up. This part is illustrated in step 18 with the two wheels (parts N19) removed. Not correct!

The two pneumatic cylinders (brass parts) with plastic pistons are assembled in step 19. They are tricky to do, so be careful.

Kanone 18 In step 20, parts J10, J11, J12, J13, J14 and J18 are lousy fits to K3. Parts K23 and K24 are poor fits also and seem too short.

The bending of photo-etched parts PE-2 and PE-3 into their twisted shapes is going to be a chore next. A job I don’t look forward to at all. Illustrations show how they are to be twisted and bent but distances between these bends are not called out at all.