Saturday, 18 February 2012

s.K18 (Schwere Kanone 18)

Time to take a look at a model from ACE, a model manafacturer from Ukrane. In this case we look at the model of the "schwere Kanone 18" (kit no. 72219)or 'Heavy cannon 18'. This was a 10,5 cm cannon used by the germans in WWII. It has the same undercarage as the s.FH 18 (Schwere FeldHaubitzer 18, also produced by ACE as no. 72218) but a different caliber gunbarrel. The s.K18 was not a very popular weapon, it's caliber was the same as the l.FH18 (leichte Feld Haubitzer) which was a weapon with the same caliber but a much lower weigth making it easier to transport. It range was larger though. Typically the s.K18 had to be transported by a Sd.Kfz. 7.

The boxart

The model from ACE is the only plastic model of this weapon 1/72. ACE is a company from the Ukrane producing in small batches which has some advantages and disadvantaches.

The disadvantages:
  • The moldings are not up to the standard of Revell or other brands. You need to sand a lot of seems from the place where the mouldhalves meet (flash this kind of exces plastc is called). A coarse grade of sandpaper is recommended to get trough the worst of the flash. Also the parts are not always molded in a sharp form. When you have assembled the model it looks like something you could never make into something decent but once the sanding is done it looks all different. Now sanding is ofcourse a very basic modelling skill and in this scale it doesn't even take long.
  • The buildingplan is quite a disaster since the parts are not numbered on the sprue on particular product and it is not always clear from the drawing what the part looks like on the sprue. This is solved by making a 'map' of the sprue and putting the numbers on there, not really handy. Fortunately most parts are recognisable without help of this 'map'.
  • Not always easy to purchase.

The advantages:
  • There range is quite extensive and has some unique vehicles.
  • Very compatitatively priced considering the fact it is a limited edition kit. (The price is the same as a Revell model)
  • The model is made out of injected plastic so it can be build with your normal modelling tools.
  • Photo etched parts are included.
  • Shells and ammunition is included.

The model is ofcourse a gun which is always a difficult subject. I encountered no real difficulties in the construction. On the real vehicle there is a kind of 'table' with probarbly elevation angles and ranges attached on the side of the guncradle. This part is missing and must be added by the builder. The same goes for the strips holding the range sticks. (red & white sticks on the photo's).
The only difficulty encountered you won't see with a Revell kit is the fact that all parts need a lot of sanding, also the small ones. When I started building the model by getting the parts from the sprue I really thought "Just what the hell did I get myself in to now?". But once you start sanding the parts begin to look good. When all the parts are glued together it already looks like a decent model and I was curious how the result would look like once painted. It turned out to be one of my better productions.

I painted mine as a piece used by the Afrika Korps with desert yellow strips over a panzer gray background. The 'legs' are bolted with large bolts and the model looks good when heavily drybrushed. That's why I chose an example from the Afrika Korps, I imagine the rough conditions of the dessert will wear off the paint fast exposing the panzer grey and groundpaint (reddish) under the dessert yellow. After I made the model a placed it in a diorama as showing the gun being captured by the British 8th army which is historically correct.

The photo's:

After these photo's are made I painted a few pistons silver and added sand to the tires.

I can recommend this model to everyone who has basic modelling skills and is willing to put some effort in a model because of the quite extensive sanding. With basic skills you can build a very good model of a uniquie gun. The adres of the ACE website is: here you can see there extensive modelrange including many heavy german and also sovjet AT-guns. You can also see which models are currently in production and which are not. I bought my example at the modelhobbies webstore in the UK.

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