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In-Box Review
135
Vietnam Era M114A1 Howitzer
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by: Gino P. Quintiliani [ HEAVYARTY ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

History

The M114A1 howitzer began as the Howitzer, 155mm, Towed, M1 in the years just before WWII. At that time, the current US Army howitzer was the WWI French 155mm Schneider cannon, which was deemed obsolete. Shortly after adoption in 1941, the M1 had its electric brake system changed to an air brake system and was designated the M1A1. The next version was the Howitzer, 155mm, Towed, M1A2 with a new screw jack for the base plate and a modified travel lock. By the early 1960’s, the M1A2’s in service were reaching the end of their lifespan and needed to be rebuilt. As part of this rebuild, new, larger multi-directional mud tires were added and they were again redesignated to Howitzer, 155mm, Towed, M114A1 in 1962. The M114A1 was the main towed howitzer for the US and many other nations into the early 1980’s when it was replaced by the M198 155mm towed howitzer. The M114A1 is still in use by many nations around the world today.

The Kit

Bronco has followed up on their excellent M1A1 Howitzer with the updated M114A1 version. This kit contains basically the same sprues as the M1A1 kit which was reviewed here at Armorama by Mike “Redleg 12” DelVecchio earlier this year;

Bronco M1A1

Since the basic parts of the kit are the same as in the M1A1 kit, I will not list them all again here. For a great description of each sprue, see Mike’s review above. I will focus on the sprues that are new or modified in this kit.

The Parts:
This version of the M114A1 has the newer, larger multi-directional mud tires seen on most US Army vehicles from just after WWII up until almost the present time. Bronco represents these well with a multi-part tire and wheel combo that looks really good. These parts are on two new Fa sprues that have three parts for the wheel/tire combo that has the tread as one piece that has been finely molded so there is no center glue seam to deal with. There is a very fine mold seam that is easy to remove with a sanding stick. The sidewalls and wheel parts are molded separately for good definition of details. The Fa sprues also include the parts for the air brake cylinders.

The other new parts are for the screw base plate jack and for the travel lock mechanism. These new parts are on a reworked C sprue that contains the upper carriage and cradle parts as well.

The new parts look spot on and will make a very accurate M114A1 as seen in the Vietnam War and after.

Also included in both the M1A1 and M114A1 kit is a very nice 155mm ammo set with 16 rounds (8 fused; 8 w/shipping plugs), 8 powder canisters (w/8 WWII and 8 modern tops), 8 separate powder charge bags (the first in a 1/35 kit that I know of), and a wooden shipping pallet with PE straps. A very nice decal set for the rounds, powder canisters, and charge bags is also included. This is a great addition and very welcomed. Hopefully Bronco will release these as a separate accessory set.

Overall the kit looks very nice. Assembly looks straight-forward and with no noted problem areas. The gun, cradle, trails, and all other parts look to be very nicely detailed. The nicest parts of the kit to me are the included air lines for the brakes. These add a great deal of detail and really bring it to life.

Conclusion

I highly recommend this kit. The parts are well molded and free of flash. The PE will give it the little extra details to make it stand out. I see no flaws in the kit, its dimensions, or details. With minimal work, it looks like it will build into an accurate replica of an M114A1. Another winner for Bronco!
SUMMARY
Highs: Finely molded and correctly updated for an M114A1 as seen from the early '60s, through the Vietnam War, until the 1980's and beyond.
Lows: None noted.
Verdict: A great kit. I highly recommend it.
Percentage Rating
88%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: CB-35102
  Suggested Retail: 34.99
  Related Link: DragonUSA item page
  PUBLISHED: Mar 25, 2012
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.61%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 87.97%

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 Gino P. Quintiliani (HeavyArty)
FROM: FLORIDA, UNITED STATES

Retired US Army Artillery Officer, currently a contractor at MacDill AFB in the Tampa, FL area. I have been modelling for the past 35+ years, really seriously on armor and large scale helos (1/32, 1/35) for the last 30 or so.

Copyright ©2017 text by Gino P. Quintiliani [ HEAVYARTY ]. 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

The only nitpicker issue with this kit seem to be the groove at the end of the barrel. In another thread it was pointed out that the grooved barrel were a post-vietnam feature. The alu. barrel (separate set AB3555) has the groove as well. The alu barrel for the M1A1 (no. AB3554) might solve this for anyone whanting to do a Vietnam-era howitzer. Cheers, /E
MAR 26, 2012 - 04:39 AM
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