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Have Gun - Will Travel: Wire Paladin

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When I was growing up, one of my favorite TV shows to watch with my dad was "Have Gun, Will Travel." It was about a hired gunfighter in the post-Civil War Wild West played by Richard Boone who went by the single name of "Paladin." Paladins were elite warriors in Charlemagne's court, and were celebrated during the Middle Ages in epic poems about Roland, one of the original 12 paladins. Paladin the gunfighter would only hire out to good people, and would help the poor for free.

And his signature moment was to hand clients and bad guys his calling card which read: "Have Gun - Will Travel. Wire Paladin S.F." The show was of course total bosh, but my dad and I loved it, and I thought Paladin all dressed in black was very sophisticated (for 10 years old).

Apparently I wasn't the only one who grew up on the show, because the U.S. Army named its upgrade of the hoary M109 155mm self-propelled gun the Paladin. The M109 has been the Army's go-too self-propelled gun since the Vietnam War, but armored warfare has changed so much that the old war horse needed modernizing. After all, a heavy howitzer is still a useful tool on the modern battlefield, but it better be able to keep up with the tanks, helicopters and HUMVEEs with their sophisticated electronics.

According to my sources, the goal of the refit for the A6 (and later A7) version will be to bring the vehicle into the 21st Century, including the ability to fire within 30 seconds of stopping, as well as a sophisticated interface with a fire direction center (FDC). The newer A7 achieves some logistical simplification among Army tracked vehicles by using the same engine, transmission, chassis and tracks as the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. For this reason, I chose to put the Bradley-style Friul tracks on my build.

The build other than the metal tracks also includes the Legend Productions Paladin Stowage Set and the usual Orange Hobby PE radio mast. The Legend set includes "sea" bags, folded cots, an ice chest, MREs, cases of water bottles, ammunition, and tarps, including the large one hanging off the end of the turret. The metal tracks are the Bradley-style "Big Foot" variety. The paint scheme shows a newly-arrived vehicle in NATO camo making its way in the desert environment, and the wooden tool handles sport Decalomaniacs' wood grain decals.

The kit builds up pretty well, though the travel lock is more than a little fiddly. I had to build it attached to the gun barrel (a nice metal one is furnished in the kit), since otherwise it wouldn't hold together. Other than that, it was a fun build.

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About the Author

About Bill Cross (bill_c)
FROM: NEW JERSEY, UNITED STATES

Self-proclaimed rivet counter who gleefully builds tanks, planes and has three subs in the stash.


Comments

Both. The M109 chassis is over 50 years old. It was first fielded in 1962. It can't really keep up with Abrams and Bradleys any longer and it has been taken as far as it can as far as making it faster or giving it better mobility. The new chassis streamlines the supply chain with the same parts commonality with other Bradleys, and is more reliable, faster, has better mobility, etc. The turret and gun are good, but the chassis just can't keep up nor handle modern combat any longer. The M109A7 PIM should be a good system and will most likely be around for quite a long time as well.
FEB 02, 2016 - 06:12 AM
Now that's a very nice one you got there ! All you need is a crew to ride it ... good job !
FEB 02, 2016 - 11:09 PM
What is the difference between this version and the one in use by the British army. ..is that a build option with this kit
FEB 03, 2016 - 04:53 AM
Bill: Great job!! I think your Paladin looks incredible! Would love, one day, to build and paint one that comes even close to yours. I think your subtle weathering and dust coating makes the machine look like the real thing!
FEB 03, 2016 - 07:12 AM
This is a different version. The British Army used (no longer in active service) the M109A2/A3, which was an earlier version. AFV Club does an M109A2 that would work as a British Army vehicle. The m109A2/A3 had a totally different turret and travel lock, among other things. They are totally different.
FEB 03, 2016 - 08:16 AM
you're welcome, stunning work Bill, I was impressed with the finish. [/quote] Oy, did I ever screw that up. Sorry, Brian. Gino, I have amended the review, thanks for that update. Curt, you're too kind. You should post more of your builds here, Dude!
FEB 03, 2016 - 10:57 PM
This is a different version. The British Army used (no longer in active service) the M109A2/A3, which was an earlier version. AFV Club does an M109A2 that would work as a British Army vehicle. The m109A2/A3 had a totally different turret and travel lock, among other things. They are totally different.[/quote] Ao do I use the afv club or trumpeter version for the gulf wars?
FEB 04, 2016 - 02:05 AM
The AFV Club M109A2 is perfect for a Gulf War 1 (ODS, '90 - '91) howitzer. That is the timeframe of this gun. There is no Trumpeter M109 at all. You may be thinking of the Kinetic M109A2. It is OK, but not as nice as the AFV Club version. Both are the correct version for GW1 though.
FEB 04, 2016 - 02:39 AM
Bill, long time, no talk. Great build. I don't think I've ever seen one from you. who takes you pictures, and how?
FEB 11, 2016 - 10:52 PM
Thanks, Dave, I miss editing your reviews. Hope all is good with you. I take my own with a small light box. I will think about doing a feature on photographing models.
FEB 12, 2016 - 03:41 AM