About the Kit
The Skoda 42cm M.1917 Heavy Siege Howitzer was used by the German Wehrmacht during the Siege of Sevastopol in 1942 and Takom
has produced their kit No. 2018 depicting this monster. Cost of the kit is around £40 dependant on the retailer.
In 1917 a redesign of the M16 howitzer was ordered in an attempt to make the howitzer more mobile, resulting in a smaller base-box, making the gun transportable in only four sections, and the 42cm Autohaubitze M.17. was born (Autohaubitze means that this was a howitzer transported by automobiles). This last type was manufactured but never saw actual combat in WW1. It was, however, used first by the Czech Army, and then after the occupation of Czechoslovakia, one M.17 was used by the German Wehrmacht, first against France and the Maginot Line, and later in 1942, during the Siege of Sevastopol, a task this heavy howitzer was perfect for.
What You Get in the Box
The large top opening box shows the usual nice artwork we have come to expect from Takom
, depicting a scene showing the siege howitzer in action with Erich Von Manstein standing beside it. The sides of the box show the contents and adverts for other kits within the range as well as two colour profiles for the siege howitzer created by Mig Jimenez of Ammo.
Upon opening the box you see 4 poly bags holding the sprues for the kit, the instructions, a colour guide, some photo etch and 2 poly caps.
The instructions are on a small double sided fold out sheet that also gives a brief history of the howitzer. Going through the instructions they show nice and clear part diagrams throughout the build of the kit.
The colour guide is a full colour double sided sheet showing two paint schemes by Ammo, one depicting an unnamed unit listed only as Sevastopol siege 1942 the other is named as 787th Artillery Regiment Sevastopol 1942. Both schemes reference the Ammo brand paint colours.
Now, on to the actual kit. The parts are cast in a firm dark grey styrene and are moulded with crisp detail with a small amount of flash that will need to be cleaned up, especially on the more intricate parts plus a few nasty seam lines on the gun mount. The main let down is that there are a lot of ejector pin marks and some are quite pronounced, but luckily the majority of them are on parts of the kit that visible and so can be ignored, but some, like the ones on the interior of the main gun mounting will need to be carefully filled and sanded so as not to damage the surrounding detail.
The main gun mounting is a large multipart turn table base which when put together will result in the Howitzer being able to rotate 360 degrees and freely elevate. The turntable comes as 4 parts, 2 outer and 2 inner, and have lovely crisp detail and fit together like a glove. Given the detail of the kit I was surprised to find the grab handles on the turn table are moulded on, but they are very nicely defined nevertheless. The 2 sides of the gun mount have every rivet and bolt moulded in extremely crisp detail which is a shame as these require a lot of work to clean up due to a large seam line running all around them and a number of ejector marks as mentioned above. There is also a multipart loading rack fixed onto the inner table, unfortunately there is a fair bit of flash to clean up here on all the parts.
The howitzer itself looks to be a beast when built, consisting of a number of parts for the outer shell, attachment to the base gun mounts and elevation control. These are all joined together to make the main body of the howitzer and have a number of detail parts that need to be added once the main body is complete, and then there is an inner barrel which slips inside the shell to complete the main howitzer. It is made up of 3 parts, 2 to make the main barrel and an end piece which includes around an inch of slide moulded rifling; just enough to see when you look down the muzzle. With all of these parts there are a few seam lines to remove once everything is put together. This brings me to the breech block, which is designed to slide in to the gun once complete and by the looks of it can be shown open or closed, although having it in the open position would require some work to correct it as one side of it is open. The handle for this was moulded slightly skewed on my kit but shouldn’t be too hard to replace. I have been unable to find any reference shots of the breech open and visible so I am unsure of any other amendments that would need to be made if you wanted to show it in the loading position.
There are 4 photo etch parts which make up a section of rivets that wrap around a part of the gun mounting and also part of the breech controls. The PE sprue has been coated green which I suspect is to help with glue adhesion and paint and saves burnishing the part yourself, but be warned, when these parts are removed they are surprisingly thin and can easily be bent out of shape.
have included in this Sevastopol siege edition a figure of Erich Von Manstein, which I am sad to say does not live up to the impressiveness of the rest of the kit as the details are a little soft especially with regards to the face and body.
For those that are a fan of these weapons there is a review of the smaller Takom
Skoda 30.5cm M1916 Siege Howitzer conducted by Bill Cross:
Skoda 30.5cm Siege Howitzer
In conclusion this is a nice kit with great looking good detail but it is slightly let down by the amount of clean up that is required on it. From all the pictures I can get hold of it looks to be spot on accuracy wise, and it will build in to a great model for use either as a standalone piece or as part of a diorama. The addition of the figure is a nice thought by Takom
but not very useful and for most people it will end up either in the spares box or used for parts. I would have preferred to see them adding a loading trolley and/or ammunition for the howitzer. For those that do want that extra bit of detail RPM did a loading trolley and shell set for this type of howitzer although it seems to be harder to find nowadays.