Dragon 1/35 105mm Howitzer M2A1

KIT #: 6499
DECALS: One option and it is for the shells
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New Mold kit


The 105 mm Howitzer M2A1(M101) was the standard light field howitzer for the United States in World War II, seeing action in both European and Pacific theatres. Entering production in 1941, it quickly entered the war against the Imperial Japanese Army in the Pacific, where it gained a reputation for its accuracy and powerful punch. The M101 fired 105 mm high explosive (HE) semi-fixed ammunition and had a range of 11,200 metres (12,200 yd), making it suitable for supporting infantry.

All of these qualities of the weapon, along with its widespread production, led to its adoption by many countries after the war. Its ammunition type also became the standard for many foreign countries' later models. Minor changes were made after World War II, and the howitzer became known as the M101A1. It continued to see service in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Though a similar model, the M102 howitzer, shared the same roles in battle, it never fully replaced the M101. Today the 101A1 has been retired by the U.S. military, though it continues to see service with many other countries.

The Canadian Forces continued to use the M2A1 as the C1 Howitzer until 1997 when a modification was made to extend its service life. It is now designated the C3. Those improvements include a longer barrel, a muzzle brake, reinforced trails and the removal of shield flaps. It remains the standard light howitzer of Canadian reserve force units. France and the State of Vietnam used it during the First Indochina War.

A number of M2/M101 howitzers were used by Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and approximately 50 were inherited by Croatia. Yugoslavia manufactured the M101 as the M56, and 100 of these were inherited by Croatia.

M2 Howitzers are still in service in the Australian Army Reserve, albeit in small numbers. They are gradually being replaced by L118 Light Gun and M198 Howitzers. In all 67 nations have used this piece.


Prior to this kit, most modelers whose interest is artillery, had built the Italeri 105 kit. That kit is still quite nice, but it is plagued with ejector pin mold marks on nearly every part of size and most are very difficult if not impossible to remove, making it a fun kit for a build, but one that takes more work than it is worth for most to bring up to contest quality.

This new Dragon kit very much takes care of that situation. The only place I found these marks was on the inside of the trails and these appear to be quite easy to remove. This is a Smart Kit so includes a set of figures (set 6163 - US Airborne, winter 1944) along with some extra arms and some shells to add to the set. It also includes an aluminum forward barrel that includes interior rifling. A small decal sheet is provided and this is for the rounds as the guns themselves have no markings. This was not at all atypical as it seems any serials  that would have been present in the US after manufacture were painted over once the gun reached a combat zone.

It is obvious from the parts not used and the large blank area in one sprue that this gun will find its way into several other kits. In fact, I believe there is already a half-track kit out that mounts this one if I'm not wrong. While the Italeri kit had just about everything that could be moved designed as moveable, that is not the case with this kit. One must make a decision rather early in construction as to whether it should be displayed ready for action or towed. This is because in the fire position there is some trimming that needs to be done on the carriage cross brace. The instructions show this quite clearly.

In fact, the instructions are quite well done with a lot of detail drawings for some of the less easily seen parts. The last two construction steps are optional as to towed or fire positions. As mentioned, the decals are for the shells, but two different paint options are provided. One is your standard OD while the other is one with a white streaked shield and forward gun. As a bit of an afterthought, I notice that this kit does not have the lower shield that is part of the Italeri kit, but then again, that may have been a post-war addition.


If you have waited for a decent 105mm gun kit then your wait is over. This one looks to be a real beauty and one that can be built to very high standards. I know that I'm pleased to see it.



June 2009

My thanks to the fine folks at www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Buy yours today at your local shop or on-line retailer.

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