AFV Club
10.5cm Howitzer

AFV Club1:35 Kit No. AF 35089
First Look Review by Terry Ashley

Following its inclusion in the limited release Sd.Kfz.251/4 Ausf.C and leFH18/40 (kit #AF 35s28) AFV Club have now released the leFH18/40 on its own with this kit.

The /40 gun is basically a stripped down version in an attempt to produce a lighter gun easier to handle by the crews and for ease of manufacture by incorporating the lower carriage and trail arms from the PaK40 along with a smaller modified shield, smaller wheels and a large muzzle brake to help reduce the recoil forces on the lighter carriage. This was not entirely successful as the 105mm gun recoil was too much for the lighter carriage and caused a number of problems but still over 10,000 /40s were produced. 

The kit consists of 153 parts in olive drab plastic plus the metal barrel and recuperator tube from kit AF35s24 and four resin parts for the bonus figure.
The new parts are on sprue C with the modified gun shield, upper gun carriage, large muzzle brake, smaller spoked wheels of this version with vinyl ‘rubber’ sections and the modified PaK40 trail arms plus other smaller details.

Sprue A is from kit AF35s24 (and AF35050) with the elimination of the M shield and upper carriage parts plus sprue B from kit AF35071 with the lower PaK40 carriage, lower shields (not used here), pioneer tools and some smaller detail parts.

The standard of moulding is very good overall with virtually no pin ejector marks on the parts, this is most noticeable on the large gun shield which has details on both sides and is completely free of pin ejector marks. There are quite a few very small pieces that are well moulded but will require care when removing from the sprues.

There are unfortunately quite a few of those annoying mould shrink holes prevalent on kits of years back to contend with on the new parts. This is especially noticeable around the inside of the wheels where there are shrink holes on the rims between all the spokes and this will take some effort to remedy. There is also one prominent shrink hole on one trail arm and minor ones on the spades all of which will need filling. 

Many of the sub assemblies are broken down into multiple parts for excellent detail definition, an example is the breech which is made up of nine separate parts and also features engraved production numbers on the breech face while the main gun sight has four parts and is especially well detailed.

The cradle and lower carriage are again very well detailed with many separate small parts for excellent detail, such as the brake assemblies and separate axles.
The main gun shield as mentioned is devoid of pin ejector marks and has nice details moulded on both sides along with other details parts, including the small side shield extensions on this version.

The 105mm barrel is in aluminium with small lip at either end for the muzzle brake and breech attachment and is cleanly machined.
The two breech halves are secured over the barrel lip as is the new large muzzle brake assembly which consists of five parts with the two rear sections and two separate muzzle brake sections with the distinctive large side extensions and there is an inner textured grommet which is fitted inside the two outer muzzle brake parts and apart from some minor join seams after assembly makes into an impressive muzzle brake.

Added to this is a brass tube for the upper recuperator cylinder and plastic lower air equalizer cylinder on the right side of the gun assembly which can be positioned on its inner piston depending on the elevation of the gun.
The trail arms are new with the smaller spades for this version and apart from a couple of shrink holes mentioned above are nicely detailed with many separate parts for the grab handles and other smaller fittings. These attach to the lower gun carriage so they are movable after assembly with alternate securing latch depending on the firing or travel position.

The new smaller spoked wheels with separate vinyl “rubber” tyres have well defined spokes with separate brake drums but as mentioned those annoying shrink holes around the rim between each spoke will take some filling.

The kit builds into a nice representation of the final /40 version of the 105mm howitzer with all the alterations from the earlier M included and is sure to be another welcomed artillery piece especially when released as the separate kit.

As a bonus the first batch of kits will include a nice resin figure of a seated crewman in Afrika Korps gear from Hobby Fan with the usual clean crisp castings and excellent uniform and facial details.

AFV Club

The small decal sheet from the original leFH18 kit (AF 35050) is included with markings for two guns included on the instruction sheet but you could build virtually any gun and the markings were minimal.

Another excellent artillery piece from AFV Club that now gives us the three versions of the leFH18 produced during the war and is bound to make artillery fans happy.

Highly Recommended.

The Sprues:

Decal sheet
AFV Club
Negative view showing
the white markings
AFV Club
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book Leichte Feldhaubitze 18, GW II für le.F.H. 18/2 „Wespe“ and „Hummel-Wespe“
Nuts & Bolts Volume 33
by Joachim Baschin, Martin Block, Heinz Tippmann
soft cover
german & english texts
184 pages, 353 photos, (198 historic, 40 model, 115 modern), 40 blueprints, 13 camouflage schemes, tactical markings, table of organsisation (KStN)
Wings & Wheels WWII German and Soviet Field Howitzers in detail
Wings & Wheels Publications.
Special Museum Line No.25

ISBN 80-86416-24-0
Published by RAK, Czech Republic.
60 pages all in colour.
This book features the leFH18/40 which is based on the 7.5cm Pak 40 carriage.

Kit courtesy of my Credit Card and the excellent service from Hobby Easy.

Page Created December 15, 2005

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