ARM: Review - DML 1/35 Scale 105mm Howitzer with USMC Crew

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale =9139-=9145 Series Kit No.
6531; 105mm Howitzer M2A1 and Carriage M2A2 w/USMC Crew - Smart Kit;
178 parts (177 in grey stryrene and 1 turned aluminum barrel section);
pre-order price US$25.95 via Dragon USA Online
Advantages: follow-on to first Army kit with figures for Marine Corps
fans; one-piece central barrel section via slide molding; several
options included
Disadvantages: crew only suitable for Marines in the Pacific 1943-1945
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all USMC and =93Redlegs=94 fans
The history of this weapon is the same as noted when the first 105mm
kit came out in May 2009.
After WWI the US Army formed the Westerveldt Board to develop
American weapons systems for the US Army, as since it had not
developed sufficient weapons on its own it had to borrow or buy
foreign systems for use in WW I. One of the first designs which was
proposed was what was then a medium field howitzer in 105mm caliber.
But due to a lack of money and other factors the weapon was not placed
into production until 1940; the good news was that in the interim it
had been developed and received several useful changes, such as the
ability to handle unitary ammunition and employ a split-trail
pneumatic tire carriage for high-speed movement and high angle fire.
The new weapon came into service as the M2A1 howitzer on the M2A2
carriage. Able to throw a 33 pound projectile up to 12,500 yards, more
than 8500 were built during WWII and production continued on into the
1950s. More than 10,200 were then completed, and many were upgraded to
the postwar M101A1 standard and served through Vietnam, finally being
retired by the Reserves in 1980 when =96 oddly enough =96 the Army bought
the British L119 lightweight 105mm howitzer to replace it as the M119.
The =93105" still serves with several foreign armies and has received
new barrels and other modifications in their service, so it is one of
the longest serving weapons in modern history.
This is the second release of this kit as a separate towed howitzer
but this time adds a Marine Corps crew of four =96 actually it is set
No. 6038, USMC - Iwo Jima 1945 with a new dedicated sprue bearing four
arms and three 105mm rounds.
The 105 itself is a =93Smart Kit=94 and has features such as the entire
center section of the howitzer molded in one piece (recoil and
recuperator sections and barrel tube) by the use of slide molding. The
gun is completed with a turned aluminum muzzle section with rifling
and a four-piece breech block.
The cradle comes in four main parts with the outside sections and
slots for the howitzer to travel in as separate parts. A goodly amount
of attention has been paid to the elevating and traversing section
gears and also the sights. The gunshield is in styrene and has both of
the supplemental flaps installed in the erect position; however, many
WWII photos show the left section folded down. As this is the WWII
version, the gun shield top is swept back and not vertical as with
many of the M101A1 versions used postwar.
The lower carriage includes a choice of brake drums (but no
indications as to which ones or why other than there are two sets.
Note that part C27 =96 the lunette =96 is shown in the combat or firing
position, and if the gun is displayed in towed position it needs to be
rotated 180 degrees to fit on the towing vehicle (such as a GMC CCKW
353 truck). The trails are NOT moveable as the kit comes and you are
only given the option of towing (closed) or firing. =93Boo birds=94 will
be happy to know that after all of the snarls over their halftracks
DML did not mold the tires with a bulge but perfectly round for this
model.
As noted the crew here is from a previous DML set and uses =93Gen1"
figures of six parts (head, torso, arms and legs) plus kit. They have
the Marine Corps style helmets with camouflage covers and also three K-
Bar knives are provided as part of the accessories. In this case it
locks the gun into use only with Marine Corps units in the Pacific
from about mid 1943 to 1945. While the box art oddly shows at least
two of the crew fitted with some sort of boots or leggings, the fact
is that all four figures have unbloused utility trousers with shoes.
The four new arms now provide for serving the gun with more realistic
poses than the original combat ones. No weapons are provided, which
for Marines could be wrong based on photos.
Figure assembly consists of photos of the =93Stick Here=94 variety and
=93copy the box art=94 painting directions.
A small set of decals from Cartograf are provided and this time they
include some specific markings for the guns.
Six finishing options are offered: all appear to be for USMC units on
Iwo Jima 1945, but three are identified as =93US Army=94 which seems
wrong. The choices are basically camouflaged or olive drab, with one
weapon from the 3rd Artillery Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, coming
with a pin-up and the name =93GYRENE GAL=94. Another OD weapon is named
=93MISS FORTUNE=94.
Overall this compliments the first kit and now offers a choice for
our =93Leatherneck=94 friends.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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AMPSOne
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