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In-Box Review
135
10.5cm leFH18/40 w/Gun Crew
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by: Kevin Brant [ SGTRAM ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

The 10.5cm leichte FeldHaubitze was the standard divisional light artillery gun used by the German Army during World War 2. The gun was designed and built by Rheinmetall in the late 1920s entering service with the Wehrmacht in the mid-1930s. In 1942 regimental requirements needed a light gun, thus modifications to mounted the leFH 18M gun onto the PaK40 carriage where done. This modification also changed the muzzle brake, providing a shorter recoil.

The kit is stated to be newly tooled from Dragon Models and includes a five figure crew.

Contents

8 plastic sprues
1 small sprue of clear plastic
1 small fret of photo-etched parts
1 instruction book

Review

While this new kit from Dragon Models is stated to be newly tooled, a first look at the sprues show that most of the sprues do come from older kits, for example the carriage is marked PAK 40 and the gun sprue is marked for the G.W. Pz.Kpfw III/IV kit. Having not personally seen the other kits, I must say the moldings of the parts looks very good. If any of the parts are retooled, I am not sure which ones. The kit is molded in the typical grey plastic from Dragon Models and from what I see, there is no flash and no ejector marks that will show after assembly. The moldings do show some great looking and crisp detail.

Looking at the gun itself, the molding of the shield is well done with nice looking surface details, and it is thin. The gun barrel is one piece, slide molded for a hollow barrel end. But the muzzle brake will need to be assembled. And the barrel assembly is where it construction begins, to include the breech assembly.

Construction then moves on to the shield and gun mounts. There are some very nicely detailed parts here, and care will be needed not to break some of the finer parts. Final construction should prove to be good looking elevation gears and mounts. Included in the kit are some clear plastic parts for the sights, and a little creative masking will be needed if you intend to keep the ends clear.

After the gun cradle is complete, assembly moves onto the carriage. As mentioned before, the sprue and parts are very familiar to the PaK40 kit, and it does look well detailed as well. The arms can be positioned in towing or firing position, with the inclusion of the crew, firing position looks to be optimal.

With the two sub-assemblies complete, you can now mate the gun cradle with the carriage. Unfortunately Dragon Models did not include any photo-etched details for the gun assembly.

The kit does include five Dragon Models figures to represent the crew of the gun while operational. The figures look to be very well done, typical Dragon Models fashion. One nice bonus in the kit is a large sprue of German individual gear and weapons, some of it slide molded for hollow barrels. This will be a nice addition to your spares box. There is also a photo-etched sprues for gun slings.

A few draw backs, the kit does contain a few rounds of ammunition for the gun, but not nearly enough to display as a diorama out of the box, thus some aftermarket ammunition and boxes will be needed and as mentioned earlier there is no photo-etched parts for the gun.

The instructions are typical Dragon Models, and I recommend that you study them and dry fit often. They do look to be well organized, and include paint call outs. There is one paint scheme for a single gun from an unidentified unit is Western Europe 1944, and no markings.

Conclusion

Overall this looks to be a good kit from Dragon Models. Unfortunately, as stated to be newly tooled, the sprues show the parts from previous releases, and I am unable to determine what the new tooling is. The kit should build into a nice representation of the 10.5cm leFH/40 and with the figures, it is almost a diorama in a box. The lack of extra ammunition and photo-etched details is a slight draw back, but the inclusion of the large sprues of German personal gear is a plus. It is a great subject of a towed mid to late German field gun, and would be worth the building of the gun in firing operation. A very nice kit, and recommended for artillery fans.
SUMMARY
Highs: Great looking subject, some nice looking details, crew figures.
Lows: Parts from older kits, lack of photo-etched details, and limited ammunition.
Verdict: Almost a diorama in a box, recommended.
Percentage Rating
80%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6795
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Dec 08, 2014
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.35%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.19%

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Kevin Brant (SgtRam)
FROM: ONTARIO, CANADA

I am an IT Consultant and father, with a passion for plastic models. I mostly prefer 1/35 Armor and 1/48 Aircraft. My main interests are anything Canadian, as well as WW2 German and British Armor and Aircraft. I have been building models since I was a young kid, got away from it for awhile, but r...

Copyright 2017 text by Kevin Brant [ SGTRAM ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Yes, this version used the same trailing legs as the pak40.
DEC 08, 2014 - 04:15 PM
The tubular legs for LeFH18/40 are not exactly like the Pak40 ones. On the howitzer, the legs have longer reinforcements around the base/cradle area. This is due because howitzer would fire at an higher angle than the anti-tank gun. So taking the sprue from the Pak40 is not the best idea. Eric
DEC 08, 2014 - 10:07 PM
We happened to be in Lille, France on the way back from visiting the Ardennes battlefields the other week, and hey, it's got a proper model shop near the Musee de Beaux Arts! Of course I had to go in, and didn't get out unscathed, but managed to keep it down to this gun kit. Now I've put it together, and I'm left feeling slightly let down. Firstly, this is definitely a "parts bin special" (bit like the real gun then), to the extent that none of the sprues are actually identified as belonging to this kit! Like some other correspondents when this kit was reviewed on Armorama, I was a bit dubious about the wheels, as Dragon chose to put in those for the SIG 33, which I thought were plain wrong. To check up, I googled said weapon, and the first dozen photos that came up all had wheels of a different pattern to each other! The old Hogg book on German Artillery shows the early type pressed steel wheels on this gun, but since the example in the photo is a museum piece which also lacks the muzzle brake, I suspect it was built from parts. So I'm provisionally going to let DML off on the wheels. However there's some oddities in the instruction sheet (DML instructions, surely not?!). Firstly the recuperator support bracket is clearly labelled not to be used, despite this it miraculously appears on the finished picture of the model! Rest assured, it does need to go on. Also there is supposed to be a box and what looks like a short ramrod fitted to the trails, both Ron Volstad's artwork, and the instruction sheet show them, but guess what, they aren't supplied in the kit! Finally the lower folding section of the shield is also "blued out" on the instructions. I wondered about this, but the Google pictures show guns with and without, so take your pick. But my real issue is with the crew. They are just plain wrong. They are all wearing early war marching boots and M1936 tunics, so are inappropriate for a late war weapon. They also betray their ancestry as an anti-tank gun crew as they are fully geared up with webbing and kit and rifles. This I just can't see except perhaps in a demonstration (Lehr)unit.
DEC 08, 2014 - 11:41 PM
You are correct about all the shortcomings with this kit. Other posts above bring more problems to light. The AFV club gun is much better IMHO and has all the relevant parts as well. Obviously this was an attempt by Dragon to cash in on already existing parts sprues which is fine. I like Dragon and would like to see them continue as a viable biz. I do feel like they upped the price unnecessarily by adding the bogus crew though. I wish the kit just offered the gun. As far as your concerns over the wheel style,yes,your "googling" gave you the correct answer. There were at least 4 different wheel styles used on this gun. This type of stamped wheel was usually not used on later war guns as the whole idea of the 18/40 series was to save weight. The last style of this gun had the squared off muzzle break and 6 spoke stamped wheel which was a larger version of the wheel used on the 75mm Pak. The AFV gun is the basic interim style with the wooden spoke wheels and the round muzzlebreak. The early style had no muzzlebreak,square trails and the stamped wheels included in this Dragon kit. AFV also has this style in a kit. Once again,these are generalities and there were exceptions(which guys always like to trot out pictures of whenever I post this). Sorry,didn't mean to get long winded. J
DEC 09, 2014 - 02:37 AM
Dragon's kit might be a candidate for tamiya's Wespe.
DEC 09, 2014 - 01:19 PM
Yes you're right Jerry, I also think the AFV Club gun is a better bet. In fact AFV Club have kitted a total of three different versions of the LeFH18; the first type with no muzzle brake, squared trail and pressed wheels; the interim type (LeFH18M) with muzzle brake and wooden wheels (to save on precious steel); and the 18/40. The interim type seems to be OOP ATM, which is unfortunate, as that's the only one I haven't got, and guns used by 9th SS in Russia and Normandy were of this type! BTW the initial steel wheels are completely different to both the SIG33 in the DML kit and PaK40 wheels. I too like Dragon kits on the whole, and find it exasperating when they do things like this - they did the same sort of thing with their SIG33, which I also bought.
DEC 10, 2014 - 11:52 AM
Yes you're right Jerry, I also think the AFV Club gun is a better bet. In fact AFV Club have kitted a total of three different versions of the LeFH18; the first type with no muzzle brake, squared trail and pressed wheels; the interim type (LeFH18M) with muzzle brake and wooden wheels (to save on precious steel); and the 18/40. The interim type seems to be OOP ATM, which is unfortunate, as that's the only one I haven't got, and guns used by 9th SS in Russia and Normandy were of this type! BTW the initial steel wheels are completely different to both the SIG33 in the DML kit and PaK40 wheels. I too like Dragon kits on the whole, and find it exasperating when they do things like this - they did the same sort of thing with their SIG33, which I also bought.[/quote] I hear ya!! J
DEC 11, 2014 - 02:42 AM
I just started this yesterday and it goes together quite well, but mine looks to have a slightly bent barrel.
DEC 14, 2014 - 02:18 AM
Anther bonus of the AFV kit is the brass barrel and metal recoil cylinder. J
DEC 14, 2014 - 03:58 AM
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