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Al's Kit Corner

 

This month Iíve decided to look at one of the older military models in my stash. The M1A2 howitzer is one of the most widely used artillery pieces in the Western World, having been the mainstay of artillery units in the armies of many nations besides the United States. One could hope for a good model of this important piece of equipment. This isnít itÖ.

Iím not quite sure exactly what Max Model of Japan had in mind when they designed their kit of this famous gun back in the 1970s. Many Japanese kits of that time suffered from a similar identity crisis Ė even early Tamiya kits were often little more than toys that required assembly. Depending on oneís point of view this could be a model with operating features or a semi-realistic toy; Iím somewhat surprised that there arenít any shells included to shoot out of the barrel.

The model, as packaged by the now defunct Peerless Corporation of Philadelphia, contains 86 parts molded in an olive green plastic, two rubber tires, 13 metal parts (five tubes, five shafts, and three springs), a simple decal sheet, a fairly good English language instruction sheet (unusual for the era), and a handy-dandy tube of cement. Evidently when assembled the barrel can be pushed back and realistically returned to the firing position courtesy of the metal recoil springs!

I donít have a lot of references on the subject but this kit appears to be much closer to 1/30 scale than the 1/35 claimed on the box. Even given the relative simplicity of a howitzer this gun just looks "clunky" to me. There isnít a lot of detail and what little is there is heavy looking; the barrel looks especially heavy (sorry!) and out of scale, making me wonder if the kit would require weights in the trail pieces to keep from tipping over onto its muzzle. At least there isnít any flash on my example but this "model" is probably one that is better left to the kit collectors Ė it seems to be in the same class as the equally poor M26 Dragon Wagon model once made by Max. I doubt that it would be of much use or interest to the serious modeler of US Army ordnance.

Iíve heard that Italeri, which purchased the old Max kit tools, has reissued this kit substituting plastic for the metal parts. I havenít seen one so canít comment directly but it certainly couldnít be any worse. Or could it?

Until next month, then: "Build what YOU like, the way YOU want to,

and the critics will flame you every time." Even this one, if you can find it. ;-)

Al Superczynski

 



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