ARM: Review - DML 1/35 scale Sexton II with CDP tracks

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale '39-'45 Series Kit No. 6795; 1 0.5 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.
Cookie Sewell
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Cookie, this is a repeat of the DML 1/35 scale leFH 18/40 with Crew review, and not the Sexton :)
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GRRR - hate it when cut and paste does neither one!
*** Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale '39-'45 Series Kit No. 6793; S exton II with CDP Tracks (Canadian Dry Pin Tracks)- Smart Kit; 514 parts (5 00 in grey styrene, 10 etched brass, 4 DS Plastic Track runs); pre-order pr ice US$54.99 via Dragon USA Online
Advantages: nice alternative to the first kit of this vehicle in styrene; m akes use of proven components from previous DML M4 medium tank kits
Disadvantages: unsure if this is a WWII era vehicle or not (see text)
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all Commonwealth "gonners"
    As I noted when the first Sexton kit was released in December 2012, while the US had provided the American M7 105mm HMC ("Priest") to the Commonwealt h forces, it was not popular due to the fact that 105mm was not a standard British caliber and they preferred the 25-pdr gun/howitzer as a standardize d weapons system. So experiments were carried out to adopt the same concept and layout of the M7 Priest to use the 25 pounder on a Canadian Ram chassi s (basically the same M3 chassis used for the M7).
    The new hull incorporated British design concepts (driver on the right, no t the left) and fittings to include British radio sets and mountings for Br en light machine guns vice the "pulpit" for the M2 .50 caliber which had gi ven the Priest its nickname. Keeping in the same line (showing a good sense of humor!) the new gun was nicknamed the Sexton. Production began at the M ontreal Locomotive Works (Canadian branch of the famous ALCO works, who bui lt medium tanks in the US) in late 1943 and provided some 2,150 self-propel led guns to the Commonwealth forces. Easy to service and maintain, they rem ained in service into the 1960s with some Commonwealth forces.
    While the directions offer the hallmarks of a very late production vehicle - "upswept" trailing bogies with "spoked" welded road wheels, "solid" driv ers, welded idlers, cargo rails on either side of the engine deck, the kit does provide for the earlier "flat" return roller M4 style bogies, the note d CDP tracks with correct pattern drivers, and other detail differences.
    I am no expert on Sextons, but it would appear if this kit has some late-m odel features they can be removed with relative ease to backdate the vehicl e to anyone from production serial number 126 onward. These apparently incl ude the stowage bins at the rear of the hull which were added during the pr oduction cycle but are not seen on all wartime Sextons. Also, there are no Bren guns provided for the hull even though the mount bases are present.
    The model uses the hull from a DML M4 early production version with binnin g molded onto the floor. The kit also comes with the large sprues for the M 4 generic suspension with different styles of wheels and "flat" bogies plus the add-on sprues for the "spoked" wheels and "upswept" bogies. The DS Pla stic tracks are two-piece runs in this kit, which may make them easier to s horten than some of the one-piece runs. Unlike the helpful hints in their 1 /72 scale kits DML does not tell you how long they have to be to give a tig ht but correct fit, so the modeler will have to trial and error (these usua lly run a bit long and have to be shortened, but as the plastic can be ceme nted together with styrene cement it usually is not difficult to fix).
    The basic parts for the 25-pounder come on one sprue from the Mark II kit and on one of the Sexton sprues, and while all styrene they look quite serv iceable.
    The interior parts are fairly complete, but the ammunition lockers in the right rear section of the open hull come closed so "in action" posing will take some scratchbuilding or after-market bits.
    A considerable amount of detailing is provided for the engine deck, such a s all of the pioneer tools (more than on a regular tank), cable reels, stow age boxes, and etched brass strapping and engine air intake. This is over a very shallow spot on the engine deck, and some modelers may wish to open i t up to provide greater depth.
    Design credit goes to Hirohisa Takada, but I know several others also part icipated in the research and design work on these kits.
    Four finishing options are provided: 86th Field Regiment (SP) RA (Hertford shire Yeomanry), 2nd Army, Northwest Europe 1945 (S233996, white stars, fla sh number 147, Bc); 5th Field Regiment (SP) RHA, 7th Armoured Division, Nor thwest Europe 1945 (S234682, flash 76, red jerboa, Hh); 1st Artillery Regim ent, Motorized, 1st Polish Armoured Division, France 1944 (S234087, black a nd green camouflage, white stars); 23rd Field Regiment (SP) RCA, 4th Canadi an Armoured Division, Northwest Europe 1945 (CS234155, flash 76, A7, "Roger "). Markings are on a nicely done Cartograf sheet.
    Overall this is a bit nicer kit than the first Sexton offering and gives m ore flexibility for making a wartime vehicle.
    Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
Sprue Layout:
A    22    Sexton - hull and internal details B    84    Sexton - interior parts, driver's position, shields and details B    54    M7 Priest - transmission cover, transmission, internal components C    40    Sexton - 25-pdr barrel, internal and external details C    30    M4A1 DV - rear hull plate, doors, details C    24    25-pdr Mk II - cradle, breech, recoil mechanism D    19    M4 - "lifted" bogies, spoke wheels, CDP drivers R    30    M4 PTO - transmission cover, final drives, hatches, details V    98x2    M4 - all-in-one VVSS basic suspension components (plus 24 bolt heads ) X    1    M4 - lower hull pan Z    4    DS Plastic Canadian Dry Pin tracks MA    20    Etched brass
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