I have had large interest in building artillery kits, like the heavy field guns or AT guns of the Germans.
But, it also seems to be one of the hardest things to construct in the AFV modeling.
Am I right in this?
Let’s have a conversation about this shall we?
I find them no harder than any other type of kit. Approach it as any other kit; careful removal from sprues and clean up, dryfit subassemblies. go easy on glue, sand and prime to check joints, etc., etc., etc…
Start by googling the kit plus scalemates and looking at the instruction sheet carefully to see what your getting into building. Also find and read/watch video of the kit review build before purchasing a given kit. Scalemates: Tamiya 7.5cm-anti-tank-gun-pak-40
Schroll down and to the instructions and download the pdf. You can see what’s involved to build most kits. Example.
This kit has a gun barrel that requires putting two halves together for the main gun. The making the seams disappear can be challenging. Otherwise, this is a straightforward kit. An aftermarket barrel could probably be found etc if desired and so forth.
Picking a very simple inexpensive anti-tank gun kit like Tamiya’s 3.7cm PAK35/35 is probably the best path to success. It’s easy to build and paint but very different from an AFV kit.
If you like the experience then step up to another slightly more complex but still inexpensive kit like this one or similar. The kit below makes an excellent second or third artillery build in my opinion.
If you start with a large expensive complex kit, I believe you will undercut your potential long term success and enjoyment of complex AT, AA guns & field artillery kits.
In any case you’ll want to avoid kits like like Dragon’s 15cm artillery piece starting out. The instructions are terrible with many mislabel parts etc. It makes a very nice build later when one has a bit of experience with artillery.
Kudos to you Wade for a VERY informative and comprehensive reply . You obviously put a bit of effort into this and I think you are to be commended for it . Gotta love this site - like a family, really.
My experience has been that complexity / difficulty with artillery and gun kits has more to do with the kit manufacturer than the subjects (either specific or in general).
That is, a gun kit made by a kit manufacturer that has a reputation for poor instructions, poor kit design and engineering, etc. is more likely to present some assembly problems than one made by a kit maker that has the opposite reputation. To put an even finer point on it, gun kits made by Tamiya are generally much easier to assemble than gun kits made by DML.
So, the Tamiya 6pdr AT gun kit is pretty much “shake and bake.” The Zvezda is comparable in complexity but needs more attention to basic construction since it’s pressed from the old Peerless Max molds originally cut in the '70s. The DML kits of the same basic subject are quite nice but require more attention and care to assemble than the Tamiya or Zvezda (ex-Peerless Max) kits, and the Riich kits are beautifully detailed, but very “fiddly” to assemble.
Again, my opinion is that it’s all about who makes the kit. Gun-arty kits are not inherently more difficult, though. If you can get the suspension alignment on a tracked-AFV kit correct, then you can get the alignment on an arty kit correct, too.
So far only one reference to a barrel with two halves, and that for only one specific kit.
Let’s face it, this is a challenge for a lot of folks. Read any review of a new kit, and invariably someone will say “Hopefully someone will come out with a metal barrel soon.”
Pretty much a throwaway statement that can used for any kit with any component -resin wheels, an interior, etc…
But it is a valid concern for many nonetheless. Witness some excellent builds on this site that still suffer from a bit of seam. “Wow, my camera really picks up what you can’t see with the naked eye.”
No, your camera is showing you what’s there for everyone including yourself to see if you look hard enough.
So yes, for some, gun kits, and tank kits as well, do present more of a challenge for that very reason.
Edit to add:
By the way, I generally remove the locating pins on barrel halves. Not necessarily because they’re not lined up precisely (even though that has been the case once or twice) but because I’ve seen many cases where the base of the locating pin is slightly too thick, and no amount of squeezing or liquid cement will bring the halves completely together.
I’ve made quite a few artillery kits. It may just be me, but personally I quite enjoy them. The Tamiya kits, e.g. the German 88mm are easier, but older so you get the issue with two piece barrels (AM barrels are available of course). Dragon are more up to date, with metal barrels and PE, but the instructions are dire. AFV Club and MiniArt are probably the most accurate, but quite flimsy to make with a plethora of parts. Definitely to work up to. It’s swings and roundabouts, you don’t have to line up 8 bogies and 16 wheels (Panzer IV), but you do have to get the trails and wheels square.