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39(H) Kit

Trumpeter 1/35 German 39(H) 10.5cm LeFH18(sf) Auf. Geschutzwagen Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review February 2005 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject German 39(H) 10.5cm LeFH18(sf) Auf. Geschutzwagen Scale 1/35
Kit Number 0353 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nicely detailed fighting compartment and exterior. Cons Basic markings provided
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $24.95

First Look

39(H) Kit
39(H) Kit
39(H) Kit
39(H) Kit
39(H) Kit
39(H) Kit

After the fall of France in WWII the German’s captured a lot of French armor. A lot of it was just repainted and marked with the German cross. Some of it was converted into self-propelled guns etc. Lorraine vehicles, Hotchkiss tanks, Renault tanks and tankettes and even the obsolete FT-17 were all taken into service and used in various roles by Germany.

Between 1942 and 1943, 48 Hotchkiss H-39 tanks were converted into artillery platforms (subject of this new Trumpeter kit). These vehicles mounted 10.5cm howitzers. Most of these conversions used the leFH 18 howitzer, but a few were converted using the leFH 16 howitzers. The only known surviving vehicle is located at the Saumur Museum in France.

The kit comes in a tray and lid type box. This box is made from heavy cardboard and is very sturdy. The box art shows a full color painting of the vehicle that is super-imposed over what appears to be a war-time, black and white, photo of a battlefield. Quite a DIFFERENT way of doing a box art.

Side panels of the box have a profile and top view painting of the vehicle, a short history and 4 color photos of the finished model.

The inside of the box has 2 compartments. Why this is mystifies me, because they could have put everything into the larger of the 2 of them. The larger compartment holds 4 trees of light tan parts. Each of these trees is in it’s own cello bag. The smaller compartment holds the single hull tub piece (in it’s own cello bag), the small decal sheet (which is stapled to the wall of this compartment) and the black vinyl rubber-band type tracks.

I see no need that these 3 things had to be protected in their own compartment. Very strange.

The instruction booklet completes the kit’s contents. These instructions consist of 12 pages with a stapled binding. They are in both Chinese and English languages.

Page one of the instructions begins with a black and white side profile drawing of the vehicle. This is followed by “Read before assembly” instructions and assembly symbol translations and decal application instructions.

Page 2 is the parts tree drawings. Only one part on these drawings (part no. A1) is called out as being excess and not needed to complete the model.

Pages 3 through 11 give us a total of 22 assembly steps.

Page 12 is just one 4-view drawing of just a camouflage scheme.

The decals only provide the German national crosses. No divisional signs or tactical markings are given. You will have to come up with those off some alternate sheet you may have. I have no idea what outfit used this particular kind of vehicle. Does anybody out there know?

Gunze Sangyo colors are called out by number only, not by names of the colors. This is frustrating, if you don’t have a list of what these numbers equate to as far as colors. Bad move Trumpeter!

Letter A parts tree holds: bogies, road wheels, idler wheels, return rollers, drive sprockets, a MG34 machine gun and it’s mount etc. (88 parts).

The next tree is letter E. It holds the fighting compartment walls and ammo bins etc. (18 parts).

Letter F parts tree holds: a radio, tools, 2 crew figures in standing poses (divided into separate heads bodies and arms) and numerous other small fittings (66 parts).

Letter G parts tree holds: All the parts for the 105cm howitzer etc. (51 parts).

The single hull tub part, the black vinyl tracks (these are the heat-riveted type and not glueable) and the decal sheet complete the kit’s contents.

This kit by Trumpeter, and several others that have been recently released, is a new venture into WWII type armor for them to market.

These kits are well molded and flash free and exhibit quite a bit of fine detail. The interior parts for this kit are very plentiful and will really make the kit a show stopper.

I only recommend this kit to those modelers that have built several armor kits before. This is because the 10.5cm, plus other assemblies, are quite complex. Careful study of the instructions and care are needed to get things assembled correctly. The instructions are very detailed to help in this respect.