Dragon 1/35 leFH18/40/2(sf) auf G.W. Pz.Kpfw.III/IV

KIT #: 6710
PRICE: $82.50 SRP
MARKINGS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Smart Kit

HISTORY

Germany designed a number of different self-propelled howitzers during WWII, but not all of them reached production. One of the more interesting types was the le.FH.18/40/2 auf.Pz.III/IV Sfl. With a name as convoluted as this, unsurprisingly it isnít widely known! Basically the 25-ton vehicle mounted a 10.5cm le.FH.18/40/2 infantry gun in a fighting compartment, although it also carried gun trails and wheels on the rear of the hull so that the howitzer could be removed and used as a towed howitzer too.

Alkett / Rheinmetall-Borsig completed a prototype in March 1944 in direct competition to Kruppís Heuschrecke 10. It was eventually decided that it would be based on a Geschutzwagen IV (Hummel) chassis, and it was designed to carry 80 ammo rounds and operate with a five-man crew. Production was scheduled to commence in February 1945 but no production vehicles ever left the assembly line.

THE KIT

This is another of Dragon's superbly detailed Smart Kits. This also means that the kit has separate link tracks and photo etch to help make up the 750plus parts count. While the features list below covers pretty much everything about the kit, there are a few things I found to be quite nice. First, the track links are a different shade of grey for the right and left sides. I liked that the interior of the turret is fully detailed and includes ammo storage racks and radios. I also liked that if one wanted to, the leFH18 can be assembled separately from the vehicle as standard towed artillery (though why one would want to I am not sure). I also liked that the armor shield is commendably thin. The photo etch fret is pretty minimal compared to some sets, but all of the parts are appropriate to the medium.

Now, here is a full list of features straight from Dragon.

- Newly tooled leFH18/40/2 features full detail
- Newly tooled gun platform authentically produced
- Newly produced turret made by slide mold
- Delicate upper hull and fully detailed on hull bottom
- One-piece slide-molded lower hull w/exquisite detail
- Turret contains intricate interior details
- Ammunition assembled in ammo racks
- Armored shield mounted on turret
- Stowage locker included in turret
- Delicate gun sight reproduced
- Realistic gun has full detail
- Slide-molded hollow gun barrel w/finely detailed muzzle brake
- Gun can be separately assembled in either travel or combat version
- Gun trail stowed on hull rear
- Gun wheels included
- Intricate engine deck w/ventilation grill
- Brake-cooling inlets produced for frontal plate
- Magic Tracks reproduced

Instructions have 27 steps, a goodly portion of those dedicated to the gun. There is the usual Gunze and Model Master paint reference chart. Markings are quite minimal with one having pretty much none and the other having a large greenish patch on both sides with writing on it. No unit information as its combat usage is pretty much unknown.

CONCLUSIONS

With a lot of the more common variants already having been produced, Dragon is having to get creative when looking for subjects. This is an interesting one and very nicely done

REFERENCES

Dragon Models

April 2012

Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. This one should be at your local shop and if not, as them to order you one.  

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