Trumpeter 1/35 B-4 M1931 203mm Howitzer Kit First Look
|Date of Review||July 2009||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Subject||B-4 M1931 203mm Howitzer||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||2307||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Nicely detailed kit!||Cons|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$69.95|
The B-4 M1931 was a heavy howitzer developed in the early 1930s to provide high power artillery fire against fortified enemy positions. The B-4 employed an 8 inch (203mm) howitzer that could fire a 220 pound shell out to a range of 11 miles. The weapon weighed over 39,000 pounds, so designers placed the gun mount on a tracked base that allowed the weapon to be moved around the Russian landscape with less risk of getting the weapon stuck in areas of soft ground.
When the B-4 was designed and produced, the Soviet Union was still at peace as was western Europe. Nevertheless, the Soviet Army was a firm believer in artillery and fielded a wide range of artillery pieces to ensure fire superiority on a future battlefield. By the time the Soviet Union was attacked by Hitler's armies, the B-4 and similar pieces were around 10 years old and were used to blunt the advancing armies before the Russian winter finally took its toll on the Germans and allowed the B-4 to be used in its intended role as an assault weapon against German pockets of resistance on the road to Berlin.
Trumpeter has released another artillery piece into their impressive and growing product line. This release is also molded in light gray styrene and presented on 10 parts trees, plus a single fret of photo-etched details and a set of rubber tires for the limber.
Assembly starts with the carriage which is nicely detailed and includes the integral jack to lift the end off the carriage onto and off of the limber. This jack doubles as the recoil spade to keep the weapon from going cross-country during each recoil.
The limber is next and sports two large diameter wheels that have the rubber band treads that are also included in the kit.
The 203mm gun goes together with a photo-etched insert that goes into the end of the barrel to provide visual rifling detail. The recoil mechanism and elevation mechanics are installed on the barrel assembly along with the breech block. The completed howitzer is mounted onto the carriage.
The tracked assemblies are assembled next and these feature individual track links. The two sets of tracks are connected together by a heavy shaft which, in turn, is mounted to the carriage.
A pair of operator seats are assembled and mounted one on either side of the B-4. The completed weapon gets the limber at the end of the trail and you have another 'big honking gun' to add to your artillery collection.
A small sheet of decals are provided for the personalized markings 'Boevaya podryga' (Combat companion).
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!