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Kit, DML 6675, British 25-Pdr. Field Gun Mk.II w/Limber & Crew

December 25 2011 at 4:07 PM
Frank V. De Sisto  (Login zappa93)
MODERATORS ONLY - Time on Target
from IP address 108.21.76.232

DRAGON MODELS LIMITED

6675, British 25-Pdr. Field Gun Mk.II w/Limber & Crew Smart Kit. 1/35th-scale injection-molded styrene/multimedia kit. Contains: 202 styrene parts (including 49 for the figures), four DS100 parts, one etched brass fret, generic decal/marking schemes and four pages of instructions in 11 steps.

Introduction.

British and Commonwealth troops fought most of the Second World War with the 25-Pdr. Field Gun as standard divisional equipment. This was a modern, powerful and robust piece of ordnance, which came in several versions. It also armed the self-propelled Valentine-Bishop and the Ram-Sexton; approximately 12,000 of these field pieces were produced by 1945. In addition, the gun was designed to be sighted, elevated, traversed and fired by one man. As the vast majority of contemporary field guns needed two men to lay and fire the piece, this is probably the main reason why the carriage was expediently fitted with the 17-Pdr. gun tube; in this guise, the resultant anti-tank gun was known as the Pheasant.

DML has chosen to release the Mk.II version on the Mk.I carriage. Also included is the No.27 Limber and a full, six-man crew. Knowing DMLs predisposition to getting the most use from a given set of molds, it is quite probable that a Pheasant and even a Ram-Sexton may come our way one day. But, I digress.

Wheels and Suspension System.

The tires take advantage of the use of DS100 soft styrene. This material allows for undercuts and therefore the tire tread pattern (one of several types) is accurately-depicted. The wheel rim, brake drum and back of the tire side-walls are molded in conventional styrene. A central hub part is then fitted on the outer wheel rim. A hand-brake and separate linkages, as well as an axle complete this assembly.

Carriage.

The gun is, as mentioned, mounted on the Mk.I carriage. This is based on a riveted box-type trail system, which was also equipped with a unique, circular firing platform. The latter item resembled a wagon wheel and when set in place beneath the wheels, allowed for a full 360-degree traverse of the gun. The crew, using the hand-spikes and various grab-handles, would push the piece to one side or the other, as its wheels traversed the circular rim of the platform. This design feature could be very handy in the fluid situations sometimes encountered on a modern battlefield, particularly in the Western Desert where the 25-Pdr. often doubled as an anti-tank gun. It also allowed for the shifting of indirect fires on a very broad front, making the 25-Pdr. a very versatile weapon. The kit features optional trapeze-like steadying assembly parts that will allow the platform to be depicted in the firing or travel position. The platform has a separate hub and features a dozen etched brass parts that are set at each of 12 points around the rim; these reinforced the teeth that dug into the earth. The latter parts have fine rivet detail and really dress up the assembly.

The box trail is based on two main parts, each of which comes from a slide-mold. Rivets, stiffening plates and other small details are crisply-rendered, while a number of separate parts provide for such details as well. Various stowage boxes, tools and accessories are placed in various locations on the trails, while etched brass parts are provided to be used as empty mounting brackets for the hand-spikes when in firing mode; an all-styrene part is provided to show the hand-spikes in travel position. Other details include grab-handles, structural members, trail spade, in-place hand-spike, towing lunette, and the gunners circular seat. Note that if in travel mode, the seat and its mounting stem should be removed, but its mounting bracket should stay in place with a hole drilled where the seat stem would be placed. The separate spade box can be mounted in the firing or traveling position.

Gun.

The gun shield is well-molded and about as thin as current injection molding technology will allow. It has crisp hinge, rivet and brace detail molded in place. Separate shield stays connect it to the box trails. A separate flap for the direct sight aperture is provided; it can be positioned opened or closed. The top section of the shield is also separate and it can be depicted raised or lowered. Various stowage boxes and bags are affixed to the inner face, while a shovel and a pair of aiming stakes are stowed on the outer face.

The gun tube is based on a pair of slide-molded segments. Thus the bore is already opened up and all the modeler must do is carefully eliminate the restrained mold seam. The breech assembly is composed of four parts, one of which is slide-molded. The wedge is a separate part and can be shown opened or closed.

The gun cradle has two variations, one of which is riveted. It is a nine-part assembly and includes the geared elevation arc, front cap, and the recuperator/recoil cylinder block. Multiple parts go to make up the No.18 dial sight and carrier, No.9 dial sight and the No.29 sighting telescope. More separate parts make up the gun saddle, the elevation and traversing hand-wheels, and their associated mounts and linkages. Many small non-descript parts provide for the final details.

Limber.

The Number 27 Limber usually accompanied the 25-Pdr. Mk.II. It is composed of 47 parts, plus the two DS100 tires. Two etched brass parts are provided to replicate the data plate seen on the access doors; references indicate that only one is needed and it should be placed on the outside of part E8. Five parts make up the body of the ammunition locker, with two more for the access doors. The latter can be shown opened or closed. Separate slide-molded parts are provided for the trail bumpers, each of which is composed of three parts. The towing attachment comes in two, multi-part versions, one of which features a slide molded part for the proper hollow appearance. The fuze key plate is made up of an etched brass part.

The perch and towing attachment assembly is composed of four parts, which well-represent the original device. The left and right wheel-guards (fenders) are molded together with the ammunition tray; etched brass parts make up their mud-flaps. The trailer axles are embellished with separate bumpers (leaf springs), hand-brakes and their linkages and tire scrapers; see above for a description of how the wheel assemblies go together.

Accessories.

Three shells and three charge cases are provided, with decals for the stencil data on the shells. There are also two ammunition trays that can be depicted as being separate from the ammunition limber. Each is composed of styrene and etched brass parts, which create a properly intricate appearance.

Figures.

There are six of them, all of which are new for this release; they represent a complete gun crew. They are multi-pose in design and each figure is broken down into several parts: torso, legs, arms and head. Being configured for action in a hot climate, four figures have no shirts. So, their arms will require careful fitting and some filler for a seamless effect. Helmets are separate and one man holds a shell-ramming staff; otherwise no other gear or equipment is provided. All wear short pants and the two men wearing their shirts have the sleeves rolled-up. They each wear standard British ammunition boots with thick stockings and/or anklets. These guys are fairly well-molded and will benefit from careful assembly, clean-up, painting and perhaps after-market resin heads.

Molding, Fit and Engineering.

Molding is up to todays high standards, with no shrink marks and all ejector pin marks are either hidden after assembly or negated by the use of small pips attached to the part. Mold seams are fine and easily dispensed with. Slide-molding was used in about a dozen places to enhance detail or simplify construction, while the shields are about as thin as styrene can be with current technology.

I did not conduct a fit check since this kit is being passed along to another modeler.

Accuracy and Details.

The gun matches photos quite well, with any issues falling into the category of omissions. More accessories, such as ammunition boxes, as well as proper weapons and personal gear for the crew would not have gone amiss. Drag-lines were typically stowed on the outer face of the gun shield, but none are included. The painting instructions and the decal sheet both ignore the two aiming stakes that are mounted on the guns shield for transport, while the decals for the shell markings may be incomplete. Likewise, the colors of the various tools and accessories are not catered for in the instructions. Finally, creative use of DS100 material would have allowed for the inclusion of the various canvas covers used during transport.

Instructions.

These are in the conventional line drawing style and are rather short, but due to the number of small and/or moving parts, it is recommended that the modeler proceed with caution, carefully cleaning and test fitting parts as he goes along.

Decals, Painting and Marking Information.

The decal sheet is quite tiny and only includes some small stencil data for the ammunition. They are from Italys Cartograf and are of their usual fine quality. Color schemes are confined to overall Sand or Dark Green. The painting of the various detail parts is almost completely ignored.

Conclusion.

This looks to be a sound rendition of this widely-used field piece. The parts break-down would make it quite easy for the manufacturer to produce the Pheasant or the later 25-Pdr. with muzzle brake by simply swapping-out one sprue. As DML and Cyberhobby are (sensibly) well-known for getting the most use from a basic set of molds, this release bodes well for British/Commonwealth artillery enthusiasts, to be sure.

Frank V. De Sisto

References consulted for this report included, but were not limited to the following books:

1. The 25-Pounder Field Gun 1939-72; Osprey New Vanguard 48, by C. Hemry & M. Fuller.
2. Light and Medium Field Artillery; WW2 Fact Files, ARCO, by P. Chamberlain & T. Gander.
3. 25-Pounder Field Gun & Limber; Military Vehicle Workshop Series ARTY 03, Allied Command Productions, by S. Arnold.

Note: Since May of 2005, I have been working on books for Concord Publications, a sister company to DML. The reader may wish to take this into consideration. For my part, I will attempt to maintain an objective viewpoint when writing these reports.

DML kits are available from retail and mail order shops. For details see their web site at: www.dragon-models.com.

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