ARM: Review - DML 1/35 scale leFH18/40/2 auf GW III/IV

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale =9139-=9145 Series Kit No.
6710; leFH18/40/2 (sf) auf G.W. Pzkw. III/IV; 1,054 parts (706 in grey
styrene, 288 =93Magic Track=94 single links, 57 etched brass, 3 clear
styrene); pre-order price US$69.95 via Dragon USA Online
Advantages: probably the only kit of this vehicle to be produced in
styrene; very well detailed and complete
Disadvantages: expensive kit for a one-off prototype
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for German SP Artillery fans and =93Panzer 46" fans
In most cases, for every vehicle which sees the light of day in
production there are at least two competing prototypes in the running
for a job. One wins and goes into production; quite often, this does
not denote the best choice but the politically viable one.
This particular vehicle, Leichte PzH18/40/2 auf GW III/IV (sf), was
the Rheinmetall-Borsig entry in the competition for the =93Heuschreke
10" light self-propelled howitzer competition. The better known
version, the 10.5 cm leFH18/1 L/28 auf Waffentraeger GW Ivb from
Krupp, was its competition. Neither one was accepted for service.
Both vehicles featured a rotating turret with a 10.5 cm leFH 18
howitzer that could be dismounted for use in a fixed emplacement,
leaving the carrier to function as an ammo transporter. But whereas
the Krupp vehicle had a complete turret which dismounted onto a
partially mobile framework, the Rheinmetall entry used the lightened
10.5 cm howitzer on a Pak 40 carriage which could be reinstalled on
its wheeled carriage for separate use. Both vehicles carried racks for
ammunition inside their structures.
However, by the time the vehicles were developed in 1943, things were
turning for the Germans and it was no longer felt that the concept was
While a number of kits of the Krupp =93Heuschreke=94 have appeared over
the years in 1/30 and 1/35 scale, this is the first kit of the
=93competitor=94 variant from Rheinmetall in injection molded styrene. DML
has combined parts from its Panzer III/IV series kits and its 10.5 cm
and 15 cm howitzer kits with a massive number of newly created parts
(over 340) to create this model.
Other than the running gear, very little of the chassis comes from
previous DML offerings. The hull is totally new and while the
original was based on the GW III/IV chassis used for the late model
Nashorn and Hummel the chassis pan has been completely modified for
this kit. There are a number of new bits added to the running gear as
well. It also appears DML either made a mistake or corrected one as
there is a separate stern plate for the kit (blue G31) to mount the
towing shackle and wheel storage mounts.
The engine deck is unique and shares no parts with previous kits.
While a generic German jack is included (K sprue) it appears a more
detailed one (G sprue) is used instead.
There is an open forward bulkhead inside the hull, but no interior
detail in the driver=92s/radio operator=92s compartment. Most of the
details - extensive ammo racks, as the vehicle was designed to carry
80 rounds of ammunition - go into the turret and its base. Propellant
canisters are part of the racks, but the kit does come with six
separate projectiles for the gun.
While the leFH 18 can be assembled as a complete weapon, the kit
directions show it with the trails and wheels stowed (Step 26) and the
howitzer in place in the turret. A folding travel lock at the rear of
the turret basket is provided as well. The organic gun shield is
fitted but two armored shields (J25 and J26) mount on it once
installed in the turret. There is also a conversion base (parts L) for
fitting the lower carriage minus the wheels and trails to the turret.
Technical consultants were Tony Greenland, Tom Cockle and Gary
There is only one finishing option with two alternatives for the kit:
either sand overall or sand with an olive green patch and German
stenciling (unreadable) on it. Both are listed as 1945, apparently
dated from its capture by US troops (as shown on the box art by Ron
Overall this is a nice but expensive kit of a one-off armored
vehicle, but I know several modelers who have longed for it so it may
find a good home.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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