Trumpeter 1/35 Sd.Kfz.165/1 Geschützwagen IVb Für 10.5cm le FH 18/1(sf) Kit First Look
|Date of Review||June 2008||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Subject||Sd.Kfz.165/1 Geschützwagen IVb Für 10.5cm le FH 18/1(sf)||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||0374||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-etch|
|Pros||Excellent exterior detailing||Cons|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$47.95|
In 1939, the German engineering company Krupp designed the first self-propelled artillery piece. This was a marriage of a modified Panzer IV chassis with a 10.5cm leFH 18/1 field howitzer. The gun was mounted inside of an open-top armored turret that afforded the crew armor protection.
Ten prototypes were built and field tested in the Wehrmacht's eastern test range (the Russian Front) during 1942. The tests were successful, but somewhere along the way, it was realized that this field piece could be mounted on a surplus Panzer II chassis which diverted the production effort temporarily. delaying a usable field system. As usual requirements creep changed the design to mount a larger gun (which would have worked on the Panzer IV chassis) on the Panzer II chassis.
While this system was limited to ten units, Krupp's concept would forever change field artillery as most armed forces now mount many of the field artillery systems on armored chassis that are mobility (and usually parts) compatible with armored vehicles in the force.
Trumpeter continues its love affair with prototype combat vehicles and here we have the Sd.Kfz.165/1. What is significant here is that this is the third kit to be released from Trumpeter based upon the Panzer IV chassis though none of them have actually been a Panzer IV tank. With the great detailing that has been produced for these different variants, it will be great to see what Trumpeter does with the Panzer IV tank family itself!
This kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on fourteen parts trees. Six of those parts trees are individual track links to build up the track - 'rubber band' tracks are not included. The turret shell, hull top and hull bottom are provided separately. One fret of photo-etched details round out the kit.
Starting with the hull, this kit segments off three compartments in the lower hull - driver, fighting, and engine. While neither the driver's compartment nor the engine compartment are included in this release, the fighting compartment is nicely laid out with crew platforms, ammo stowage, personal weapons stowage, and other detailing.
The exterior of the lower hull is populated with the roadwheel suspension and axles, transmission/axle covers, return roller axles, and their associated wheels. The individual track links will add some visual reality to the project as vinyl 'rubber band' track never quite captures the look of the track even though it is far easier to use.
The upper hull is equipped with stowage, pioneering tools, mufflers, headlights and other detailing. The armored vision ports for the driver and alternate are molded closed (since there is no detail to see anyway).
The turret floor receives the operator seating, traverse and elevation controls, and personal weapons stowage. The turret interior also is treated with lots of details as personal stowage for canteens, mess kits, ammo clips, etc., are provided for.
Next up is the breech for the 105 gun along with the block, recoil mechanism, and other detailing. This is mounted into the inside of the turret while the barrel and muzzle assembly mount to the exterior.
The kit provides generic numbers and German crosses to add tactical markings to replicate any one of the ten examples used on the eastern test range. Available photos of the subject mirror the included color profile in that these vehicles were German Gray with no markings. That might have been while still in Germany, so who's to say if your colors and markings might be inaccurate?
This is an interesting subject and will make for a nice addition to your armored division. AMS modelers will really have fun with all of the included details plus the potential of adding an aftermarket Maybach engine in the back to pose the engine cover doors open.
My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!