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Howitzer Kit

Trumpeter 1/35 German sFH.18 15cm Field Howitzer Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2007 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject German sFH.18 15cm Field Howitzer Scale 1/35
Kit Number 2304 Primary Media Styrene, turned aluminum barrel, turned brass, rubber tires
Pros Nicely detailed kit! Choice of styrene or aluminum barrel Cons  
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $39.95

First Look

Howitzer Kit
Howitzer Kit
Howitzer Kit
Howitzer Kit

In the early 1930s, the German Army issued a requirement for a new field artillery piece that would meet expected performance requirements of the time. Several designs were submitted, but the 149mm (15cm) Rheinmetall howitzer was selected, though through a production compromise, Krupp received the contract for the carriage. This new standard field artillery piece was manned by a crew of five, was initially designed for horse-drawn transport (later updated for transport by vehicle).

Howitzer

In combat, the Soviets proved to have artillery with greater range which forced the Germans to try various techniques to increase the range of these field pieces. One such technique gave the sFH.18 the distinction of being the first artillery piece using rocket-assisted projectile (RAP) rounds. Nevertheless, these various range extension techniques added severe wear to the guns which led to the sFH.18M that allowed for the barrel liner and muzzle brake to be replaceable.

This field piece was not only towed, but it would also be mounted on the Geschütswagen III/IV chassis to become the Hummel self-propelled artillery system. Interestingly enough, this field piece did not simply go away after the war as did many other weapons systems. The armies of Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Finland, Portugal, Yugoslavia, and perhaps others, continued to operate the sFH.18 in their own artillery forces, with the last pieces being retired around 1970.

The kit wars continue between Trumpeter and DML with this subject becoming the latest battleground. This kit from Trumpeter is quite detailed (more so than the DML kit) and is presented on six parts trees of standard Trumpeter light gray styrene parts, plus two separately provided carriage arms, a set of turned brass and aluminum parts for the barrel, and a set of rubber tires.

There are lots of fine details provided in this box to build up a very detailed rendtion of this artillery piece. As is typical of many artillery models, this kit provides the abilitiy to set the gun up for transport and for fire (and to fiddle with) if you're so inclined. Many modelers will simply glue the model together to avoid having the model wear out later on and fall apart. Nevertheless, this kit provides nicely detailed subassemblies for the howitzer, the carriage, and the limber.

You won't be lacking for details and options. Among the highlights of this kit:

  • Choice of metal or styrene gun barrel
  • Gun can be articulated in azimuth and elevation (movable)
  • Gun can be set up for transport and for fire after assembly (movable)

No decals are provided in this kit as this one is a simple subject for marking - paint it field gray, weather to taste, and display as you'd like.

This is another nice offering from Trumpeter and this provides a mostly-styrene option for this subject for those modelers uncomfortable with resin or limited run kits.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!

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