Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale '39-'45 Series Kit No. 6795; 10.5 cm leFH18/40 w/Gun Crew; 318 parts (305 in grey styrene, 10 etched bras s, 3 clear styrene); pre-order price US$36.99 via Dragon USA Online
Advantages: provides a nice centerpiece and details for an artillery dioram a; well done gun and carriage
Disadvantages: nothing major noted
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all German and "Redleg" fans
As WWII progressed the Germans had to increase production of nearly all of their war material, and one of the solutions/compromises they made was to combine items where it made sense and simplify parts and other supply probl ems. The 10.5 cm leFH18/40 was one of those, in which they combined the low er carriage and parts from the 7.5 cm PaK 40 antitank gun with the upper ca rriage and shields of the 10.5 cm leFH18 howitzer. This had two advantages: one, it simplified the supply of carriages as noted above; and two, it lig htened the 10.5 cm by 600 kilograms which made it easier to manhandle in Ru ssia.
However, when something looks too good to be true it usually is, and here the howitzer was too much for the lightweight antitank gun carriage. As a r esult it caused problems, and heavy weight or not the older howitzers were kept in service until the end of the war.
DML has made several versions of the 10.5 cm howitzer but nearly all of th em have been as part of a self-propelled weapon. This time they have combin ed bits from the Gw III/IV Heuschreke kit with the PaK 40 carriage and the crew from the premium version of that kit to create a new towed piece. The box photo illustration still notes that "The trails may be stowed on the re ar of the hull" which I do not think they meant to say!
The model is pretty straightforward and the barrel is a one-piece molding with a nine-piece breech that can be displayed open (although the direction s do not indicate that) and comes with a three-piece muzzle brake. This has to go on after the gun shield (Substep L) is attached to the carriage. Not e that the upper carriage simply sits on the lower carriage - no locking pi ns or rings are used to connect them.
The entire PaK 40 carriage less lower shields is used and two new spacers are provided to get the wheels from the i.SG. 33 to fit in the proper posit ion.
The figures have been around for a while but are still good and useful as they cover generic gunner positions as commander, aimer, loader, and rammer (and one that sort of looks to be doing something important but I am not s ure what!). Directions for them are simply B&W photos and no painting direc tions are provided (the box art simply shows the gun at rest).
There are no decals and finishing directions only indicate to paint the en tire gun sand yellow for use on the Western Front in 1944. An Sd.Kfz. 7 is partially shown on the box art as a suggested towing vehicle.
Technical support is credited to Tom Cockle and Gary Edmundson.
Overall, DML has had a nice string of useful artillery pieces and this o ne fills in another niche.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.