This was a license built, made in the USA, version of the excellent French WW1 Schneider 155mm howitzer. The American built weapons had a flat 2-piece shield vs. the curved shield on the French pieces. In the 1930s this still excellent howitzer was upgraded with pneumatic tires and airbrakes to allow towing at “high speed” behind trucks. The upgraded weapons saw service in WW2 in Tunisia and were used extensively in the Pacific theater.
This was my first Das Werk kit. It is a decent kit - far better than the resin kits that had been a modeler’s only choice prior to Das Werk. The accuracy and fit is good. Detail is generally good. Some of the parts are molded too thickly and there are a couple of parts that feel incomplete. The travel locks look decent from the top but are incomplete when viewed from the sides. The sight is only finished on one side - the other is flat. The kit lacks the airbrakes which were part of the high-speed upgrade. The kit includes projectiles and ammo boxes. I opted not to use the metal barrel that I purchased as the prominent muzzle flare was a separate nylon part which had to be butt glued to the end of the barrel. I was sure that this would not survive handling during the painting and weathering process. I did use the nice brass projectiles from the set.
I made a number of improvements to the kit.
*Thinned edges of the shield
*Scratched new thinner sight door in the shield
*Added missing rivets to spade bottom
*Added detail to the handspike hinges
*Fixed the 2-dimensional travel locks
*Added missing loop on rear of trails from copper wire
*Added missing hand brake cable
*Scratch built a powder charge to go with the projectile.
*Scratched a new sight as the kit one is 2 D
*Detailed the air tank
*Scratch built missing air regulator and mounting brackets
*Added all of the airbrake hoses and fittings - combination of scratch building, copper wire, lead wire and Aber PE gladhands
*Made custom decals for projectile markings, and ammo boxes
After priming with rattle can Mr Surfacer 1500 black, I preshaded with Tamiya XF-2 White. I used Vallejo Model Air 71.043 US Olive Drab for the rather brownish early war OD. I applied a dot filter of various Winsor & Newton oil paints to the flat surface. I gloss coated the model with Aclad Aqua Gloss in preparation for decals and again after the decals were down and dry. With the model glossy, I pin washed with my favorite AK Streaking Grime. I added streaks with AK Rainmarks and Streaking Grime. I used some of my precious remaining Model Master Flat Lacquer to get the model back to a dead flat and seal in the weathering effects. The model was then dry brushed with Winsor & Newton Yellow Ochre oil paint and wear points hit with Uschi Chrome pigments. The dirt on the tires is a slurry of AK Europe Earth pigments and mineral spirits. Fine splashes of AK Dust Effects, AK Kursk Earth and Brown Earth were flicked on with a brush and toothpick.
This kit required more work than it should have; but the investment in time was worth it. The model looks good and fills a gap in my collect of US WW2 artillery.