Sunday, 15 June 2014

Ace M2A1 howitzer (Kit No. 72527) & M5 Gun (Kit No. 72528)

Ace released several models in the past months including also the M2A1 105mm howitzer (kit No. 72527) and the M5 AT gun (kit. No 72528).

The M2A1 howitzer was first produced in 1941 for the US Army and was used on all fronts during world war II as a light howitzer. It became a successful export product and has been used by over 50 countries for decades. The Canadian army still uses this howitzer although it has of course been modernised with new parts.

The M5 AT gun, a 76,2 mm AT gun mounted on the same carriage as the M2A1 howitzer, was not such a successful product.Developed and 2500 pieces build during WWII it was already being phased out of service during that war as the armor penetration capacity of the shells the gun fired was a bit to weak and it offered the crew too little protection against machine gun fire and HE shells from tanks. The US army opted for tank destroyers like the M10 Wolverine, M18 Hellcat and M36 Jackson instead since they could move and gave the crew better protection. The gun was towed by M3 halftracks, a version of this halftrack with the gun actually mounted on the vehicle also existed. Ace's model features the early type of gun shield. Later in the war this shield was changed to larger ony offering a bit better protection for the gun crews.

The models

Since the carriage for both the howitzer and AT gun are identical, the corresponding parts of the models are identical as well. The difference between the models are in two sprues containing the gun barrels and shields:
These parts are quite well molded, certainly for a model from Ace. Sanding away flash and mold seams still is necessary but not on the scale I'm used to from this company. The instructions are a bit of a puzzle as they again don't feature part numbers, these have to be found on a 'map' of the sprue on the instructions. Because these are guns they gave quite a lot of small parts not having a very distinct shape from each other (especially when it comes to the targeting mechanism) the map is quite needed. The fit of the parts is very good and I had no trouble assembling the gun although carefully looking at the instructions and using some common sense is needed. The only part I dad difficulty fitting was the part with teeth used to point the gun sideways. The part to which you have to attach the gun shield too was drawn only partially which was not very clear. The gun shield can be attached in one way so you'll find that out soon enough.

I build the M5 AT gun. Instructions give you three painting options, all olive drab with no decals so there are all the same. To add a bit more color to the gun I weathered it with chalk to simulate snow. On to the photo's (The last few pictures are of the gun towed by a GMC truck to give an impression of the size of the gun, others are the gun with the British 17-pdr AT gun):

I recommend these models to any modeller willing to put effort in building a model from a less the absolute top manufacturer. gun models are usually a bit more complicated then tank models but one of these might be a good first gun model.

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