Griffon Model
WWII German sFH18 15cm Howitzer w/Limber
(w/Rifled Metal Barrel)

Griffon Model 1:35th Set # L35015
(for Dragon kit #6392)
Review by Terry Ashley

The Set:
Dragon This update set from Griffon Models like the Voyager Model set #PE35207 is designed for theDragon sFH-18 150mm Howitzer w/Limber (kit #6392) and while the Voyager Model set could be termed a basic update set, this Griffon Models set is far more extensive and not only includes the etched parts but also a replacement metal barrel with fine rifling and a small decal sheet with a selection of stencilling for the Dragon kits 150mm ammo and the etched ammo boxes in this set.
The set contents include:
3 x larger etched frets
3 x smaller etched frets
1 x turned aluminium barrel with fine muzzle rifling
1 x decal sheet
1 x copper wire 0.2mmx50mm
3 x copper wire 0.3mmx50mm
2 x copper wire 0.3mmx100mm
3 x ABS rod 0.5mmx50mm
1 x ABS rod 1mmx100mm
1 x ABS rod 1.5mmx100mm
1 x ABS rod 2mmx50mm
1 x 7 page A4 sized instruction sheet.

Metal, plastic and wire parts
Griffon Model
Stencil decal sheet
Griffon Model

The quality of the etching is again first class with clean well defined detail that includes embossed detail and the usual engraved bending lines where required. There are many very small parts that will need care when removing from the frets and during assembly.

Due to the quality of the Dragon kit to start with most of the parts in the set are for the smaller detail items on the kit with the largest part being the limber which has basically the whole chassis frame and spade extensions replaced with etched parts as well as the trail arm spades and the replacement metal barrel.

There are numerous small moulded on details that have to be cut from the kit parts beforehand and you should study the instructions before each step to see if any trimming in needed. As the updates are quite extensive I will go through the Dragon kit instruction steps to indicate the updates provided for each as just about every construction step gets some form of update.

Step 1 Barrel and Breech:
The breech has the small bracket on the top (part A40) replaced as well as the bracket on the recuperator piston and small bolt heads on the end of the gun slide. There is also the replacement metal barrel which requires you to open up the hole in the end of the breech to 5mm for the barrel to fit in place and it’s best to do this after gluing the two breech halves together.

The new barrel has the muzzle drilled out to a depth of 15mm and includes very fine rifling for the first 10mm to improve the look but other than that is dimensionally similar to the Dragon metal barrel supplied.

Metal barrel rifling
Griffon Model
Modifications to kit breech to take the metal barrel
Griffon Model
Assembled barrel on the Dragon kit, note additional etched details on the breech block
Griffon Model

Steps 2 and 3 Gun Cradle and Recuperator:
The large recuperator supports are replaced with etched parts requiring you cut away the kit supports and the small side pulleys are also replaced with etched parts. The lower gun cradle has the  inside U brackets replaced and again you have to cut away the kit brackets but as the cradle is in two halves this is quite easy to do, there are additional smaller brackets added to the outside of the cradle and the bolted cap on the recuperator is also replaced with three etched parts.

The calibration slide on the side of the cradle is also replaced with finely engraved measurements included on the etched part as well as the locking lever on the left of the cradle.

Steps 4 and 5 Trunnions:
The left trunnion receives most of the updates here which again require some smaller details to be cut from the kit parts with all the main sight linkages and brackets replaced and the hand wheel mounting is replaced with the 1.5mm rod and etched parts. There are additional details for the side mountings and brackets as well as the ranging board and chart with finely etched calibrations as well as a small length of etched chain added.

The right trunnion has a number of smaller brackets and the side mounted tube case brackets replaced with fine etched parts for added detail definition.

Step 6 Main Wheels:
After the limber and spades this section has the largest updates with the entire moulded on brake mountings cut from the two brake hubs (parts C3, C4) to be replaced with intricate etched levers and brackets supplemented with the thin plastic rod provided with the only kit part used being the piston cylinder from part C24/C25.

These assemblies are quite intricate and detailed requiring care and patience during assembly but will provide a real lift in detail definition

Steps 7 and 8 Lower Carriage Base:
The carriage base gets a number of smaller brackets replaced with etched items as well as the two trail locking levers supplemented with small plastic rod pins.
The tail light mounting brackets is also an etched part with the tail light itself also made up of a couple of etched parts.

Step 9 Spade Assemblies:
This is another comprehensive update with the entire spades replaced with multi-part etched metal, plastic rod and wire assemblies with just kit part D18 remaining from the kit spades. These again are quite intricate assemblies required care with many small parts but again the end result is very detailed.

Steps 10 and 11 Trail Arms:
As with the Voyager set you firstly have to cut off some of the small moulded on plastic brackets, grab handles and mounting plates for the replacement etched parts.

These include all the tool and equipment brackets, the side foot plates with nice tread plate pattern included as well as the two square storage boxes on each arm also replaced with etched parts with separate lids that can be shown open if you wish. The shovel also gets a new two part spade in etched that you add to the kit handle after the plastic spade is removed.

The details here are more extensive than for the Voyager set with just about every clip, bracket and tie down replaced and the actual small tool securing straps have two parts each so you can fit the strap though the buckle or leave open if the tool is removed in a diorama scene.

Obviously many of these parts are very small and intricate requiring more care when fitting but the level of detail is again very good.

Step 12 Transport Limber:
As mentioned this is the largest section in the set and sees the entire limber chassis and frames replaced with multi-part etched assemblies supplemented with small pieces of plastic rod and both the etched chain provided.

This is made up of many small and not so small parts that all require some bending to shape before hand and careful study of the instructions will be beneficial to avoid any problems.

Additional details are added using the thin wire provided to form springs that fit into the chassis frame as well as small lengths of etched chain.

The central mounted storage box is also entirely replaced with etched parts with additional small lid clips and the large Y towing frame (kit part E20) is also completely replaced with etched parts with just the towing hitch remaining from part E20.

The two large perforated plates that are stowed on the limber during transport and attached to the trail arm spades during firing are also completely replaced with etched parts for greater detail definition but you have to cut the four long mounting pins from the kit parts to be used with the etched plates.

Added to this are the suspension leaf springs made up of 9 parts each that you fit together to form the springs added to the kit axles which are one of the few remaining kit parts in the entire assembly, the others being the top trail mounting bracket and pin (kit part E9) and forward bracket (kit part E13).

The length of etched chain is used to attach the limber to the trails during transit and add further fine detail with the limber being basically a kit within a kit such is the extent of the brass and other parts provided replacing almost all the kit parts.

Additional parts:
There is also provided in multi-part etched assemblies two cartridge cases with separate lids and securing latches allowing these to be built open or closed for diorama purposes as well as the small decal sheet with a selection of stencilling for the cases and the kit supplied shells and cartridges for a very nice finally to the update set.

Etched Parts
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Griffon Model
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Instruction sheet in .pdf format
Griffon Model

These have 6 A4 sized pages and a 7th half sized page with the usual exploded view drawings of the assembly sequences which due to the complexities of the sub-assemblies are quite intricate in places.

As usual you should study the instructions carefully before assembly to avoid any traps but overall I found them easy to follow if care is taken.

This extensive set goes beyond just the more obvious updates for the various brackets and tool clips etc. and provides many additional parts to really add the finer details to the already well done Dragon kit.

The almost entire replacement of the wheel brake assemblies, the large trail arm spades and the limber especially will need care as there are many very small parts and the sub-assemblies quite intricate but nothing that should be too taxing for anyone buying this update set in the first place.

Highly recommended 8/10

See the sFH-18 150mm Howitzer subjects page for additional reviews.


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ISBN 83-919061-6-7


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Nuts & Bolts Vol.10


Ground Power No.70
March 2000
GALILEO Publishing Co.,Ltd.

Thanks to Lucky Model for the review set

Page created April 27, 2008