by: Seb Viale [ ]
The M198 howitzer is a medium-sized, towed, 155mm artillery piece developed for service with the United States Army and Marine Corps. It replaced the WW II vintage M114A2 155mm towed howitzer in the early to mid 1980ís. It can be dropped by parachute or transported by a CH-53E Super Stallion or CH-47 Chinook.
The M198 is deployed in separate corps- and army- level field artillery units, as well as in artillery battalions of light and airborne divisions. It also provides field artillery fire support for all Marine Air-Ground Task Force organizations. The M198 is being replaced by the BAE Systems Global Combat Systems M777 ultra lightweight howitzer, with deliveries underway. The M198 is also used by the Australian Army and the Pakistan Army.
This kit from Trumpeter comes in a 29.5 cm x 22cm x 5cm sturdy box with nice box art displaying an M198 in firing position. The kit contains 4 grey plastic sprues, 2 gun trails, PE fret, decal sheet, 4 vinyl wheels, two copper covers and finally the instructions and color guide. Total plastic parts are 205 pieces.
The A sprue contains the large base parts for the firing position of the howitzer, while the B sprue has the barrel, breech, muzzle and panels for the trails, mountings for the barrel, sights and other miscellaneous parts. The C sprue is the tire rims, suspension, hand wheels, handles and 155mm shells with fuse.
The details are crisp with no flash, and when ejector pin marks exist they are located in hidden places on the finished model.
The gun trails are molded in styrene, and the big box channel molding appears excellent with no molding imperfections, and in my review sample they are not bent or warped.
The other kit parts are the 4 vinyl tires. They are pretty well done with nice details embossed on the sides, and the tire pattern is nicely depicted without any seam line. The PE fret contains 9 parts with the gun cover and small handles.
The kit includes a 12 page black and white instruction manual. There are 17 total steps to the assembly of the kit. You decide to represent the gun in the firing position or in transport mode, with the choice of having the gun at 6 or 12 oíclock.
Also included is the typical color guide from Trumpeter, a nice and neat way to help the modeler decide which color scheme to use as well as showing the decal placement. You have the choice between the 3-NATO scheme and overall sand.
The build seems really straightforward. The kit is dimensionally accurate and the small details are well depicted. As an example, the tire hub is well done and the inflation tub is also presented. Due to the dimension of the gun, an aluminum one would have been a better choice for this kit. This is one main drawback; we will see on the build blog if the seam line is visible or not. Moreover, the breech cannot be open and no detail is present here. The optics are finely represented. On the double baffle muzzle brake, be prepared to do some work to remove the horrible seam line inside and outside the piece.
Trumpeter provides some extras in the kit, such as the eight 155mm shells equipped with fuse and a loading cradle.
The kit has a great level of detail, is dimensionally correct and it seems really easy to build. Be ready to do some extra work if you choose to depict the gun in the firing position, since the breech cannot be opened and the lack of any details in this area. You donít have the choice regarding the equipment used in firing position: aiming stakes are glued with their racks on the gun trail as well as the small box that contain the Panagraphic Telescope.
Concerning the travel mode, you have the choice of either a 12 or 6 oíclock position, but concerning the prime mover, you donít have much choice. The army usually uses the M1083 and the Corps the MRTV, neither of these vehicles are currently available in 1/35. So, knowing what you are dealing with; you cannot depict the gun in firing position without work and in travel position you donít have a prime mover.
Moreover, the absence of aluminum barrel is quite striking and the level of detail on the gun muzzle brake is pretty low.
The author thanks Gino Quintiliani for his help regarding artillery vocabulary.