This kit is a representation of the British Army’s attempt to mount the 25 pdr Field gun on the Valentine chassis to create a self-propelled gun. The need was created by the fluid nature of the North Africa battles. This stopgap design served the British Army till replaced by the American M7 Priest and the Canadian Sexton.
Sprues and decals
- A – Upper hull
- B – Gun cradle and various miniscule parts
- Ba – Suspension parts
- C – More suspension parts and various add-on tools
- Cb – Gun barrel (one piece), splinter shield (not used), and various parts
- E – Rear deck and radiator parts
- F– Ammo for display in the turret housing
- Fa– Sand shields
- G – Ammo trailer parts
- H – Ammunition and ammo boxes for the trailer
- I – Ammo crates
- J– “Turret” housing for the gun
- K– Internal parts for the “turret” housing
- L– 3 clear parts
- M– Lower hull
- N– Workable tracks.
- P and Pb – Photo etched parts
- Q - 2 tires
- Three decal sheets and one piece of string
This is a multimedia kit but the use of the PE is required, there are no optional plastic parts. Please be aware that some of the plastic parts are very, very small and will take a steady hand to get them off of the sprue without damage. And when they are off the sprue, these minuscule parts do their very best to hide or get lost in the carpet or even on the work table.
Before starting the model, you need to decide how you want to display the Turret housing, either in travel mode or firing mode. Then you have to decide between Option 1 and Option 2. The only difference that I could determine between these two options was small variations in the gun mounts and the number of bolts displayed. Then you will need to determine which barrel you want to use. I choose the late version with the muzzle brake and counter balance. The instructions are fairly clear on what to do on each version. I built mine in the firing mode Option 1 version.
- Step 1 – This step builds three subassemblies that are to be mounted in the interior of the hull.
- Steps 2 and 3 – These steps continue to assemble the interior that is directly below the gun. Very little of these two steps is visible after the “turret” is mounted, especially if you have the “turret” doors closed. This creates subassembly 4.
- Step 3 - The instructions show two steps 3s. This step is the mounting of the subassemblies 1, 2, 3, and 4, along with some odds and ends into the lower hull.
- Step 4 – This step builds the two radiators as subassemblies 5 and 6. These will not be visible unless you leave the rear deck hatches open. If you are going to show them closed you can probably skip this step.
- Step 5 – This step builds the transmission housing and creates subassembly 7.
- Step 6 – This step builds subassemblies 8 and 9. These are the cooling fans and what appear to be fuel or lubrication tanks.
- Step 7 – This step mounts subassemblies 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 into the lower hull. Again if you close the hatches you can’t see these parts.
- Step 8 – This step builds the drive sprocket and large and small road wheels. When making the drive sprocket, make sure that it is moveable, as this will facilitate the mounting of the workable tracks in step 22. While these are to be mounted later, I painted and started the weathering process while they were off the vehicle. This makes subassemblies 10, 11, and 12.
- Step 9 – This step builds the bogies and mounting fixture for the road wheels using subassemblies 11 and 12. This creates subassemblies 13 and 14.
- Step 10 – This step creates the right idler wheel subassembly 15. I left adjustment lever part C10 off until I had mounted the upper hull to the lower hull (step 22) and was able to insert this lever and get it lined up before gluing in place.
- Step 11 – This step creates the left idler wheel subassembly 16. I left adjustment lever part C11 off until I mounted the upper hull to the lower hull (step 22) and was able to insert this lever and get it lined up before gluing in place.
- Step 12 – This step adds the return rollers and the mounting brackets for the bogies.
- Step 13 – This step adds subassemblies 10, 13, 14, 15, and 16 to the lower hull. I have not yet added the road wheels and idler wheel to the subassemblies, to make painting easier.
- Step 14 – This first part of this step builds the internal drivers area which can’t be seen under normal circumstances. It also adds the front and rear fender extensions. Then you turn the upper hull over and add all sorts of stuff. The only thing I left off at this time was the spare tracks. These will be painted and weathered off-vehicle and added later.
- Step 15 – This step builds the muffler and adds it to the upper hull. This step also adds even more stuff to the upper hull. I did leave off the mirror parts C30 and C52. I know that if I leave something that fragile and sticks up that much, I would have broken them off before I finished step 17. I will use some bare metal foil to simulate the mirror.
- Step 16 – This step builds the front headlights as subassemblies 17 and 18, along with the engine hatch ribs as subassembly 19.
- Step 17 – This step mounts engine hatch ribs subassembly 19 to the rear deck. The instructions call for headlight subassemblies 17 and 18 to be mounted now. Again, I will leave them off till the very end to make sure I don’t break them off. This step also has you adding the muffler grating screen. I waited until I had painted the base color on the upper hull. I then painted the muffler a rust color. After that was done, I tried to add the PE screen and muffler shield part C3 and found that they don’t fit and allow the “turret” to sit properly. So I left the screen off as you can hardly see it, and just mounted the shield. I also left off C28 out to facilitate painting.
- Step 18 – The first half of this step adds the PE to muffler shield C3 and creates subassembly 20. In the second half, the external fuel tank is built as subassembly 21. I believe the mounting frames are mislabeled. This should be parts Ba30 instead of F4.
- Step 19 – This step mounts subassemblies 20 and 21, along with some other odds and ends. I left these two subassemblies off until I had painted the base color and the rust color on the muffler.
- Step 20 – This step builds the radiator doors as subassemblies 22 and 23. I also built the rear deck and rear plate with the towing assembly as subassembly 24. I left the towing latch Part K77 off until the very end as I wanted to show the trailer attached.
- Step 21 – This step adds the two radiator doors (subassemblies 22 and 23) to the rear deck. You will need to choose either to show the doors open or closed.
- Step 22 – This step mounts the upper hull to the lower hull. After you have glued the upper and lower hulls together, you can add parts C10 and C11 that we left off in steps 10 and 11.This step also builds the workable tracks. Be careful when assembling these tracks, as the attachment points can be damaged to the point of not holding together. I did not mount the tracks at this time as I wanted to paint and weather them off the vehicle. The will be added after step 50.
- Step 23 – This step adds the sand shields, and because I left off the tracks, I waited till step 50 to add the sand shields after the tracks have been mounted.
- Step 24 – This step builds the breech, and if you are careful, the breech block can be built so that it can be moved with the lever. This will help in the painting that area. This step creates subassembly 25.
- Step 25 - This consists of the assembly of the gun and gun cradle. Some of the parts are very small and delicate that will require a lot of care to keep them from being damaged during the build. The barrel is a one piece molding using slide mold technology so you have a plastic round barrel with only minor mold seams to deal with. Part Cb8 shows it being glued to part B70, the elevation gear by 2 mounting holes on B70. However, there are not location holes, but pins. I had to cut the pins off and drill 2 holes so that part Cb8 would attach correctly. This step creates subassemblies 26, 27, and 28.
- Step 26 – This step shows you where to mate subassemblies 26, 27 and 28, and then decide which cradle option you want. Option one uses the parts callout number in green (that is parts B37, B79 and B81). The instructions get very complicated at this point, as option two parts are to be shown in blue, but are not. They are shown in regular black type. I chose option one because the cradle had more bolts.
- Step 27 – This step shows the breech in either the open or closed position.
- Step 28 – This step builds two subassemblies (29 & 30) for mounting in step 29. The instructions for subassembly 30 show it being glued together, then in step 9 being mounted on the gun cradle, and then a part of it is glued to the trail in step 32. This will not work. I suggest that you assemble the hand wheel and attach it to the cylinder (B61), then set everything aside till step 32.
- Step 29 – This step starts the build of the gun sight. This sight is very detailed and will be a high point of the model. This step also starts the use of the photo-etched parts in earnest. Part P47 is a flat piece of PE that you will attempt to bend into a curved piece with a flange that is also a curve at a 90 degree angle from the first curve. I was unable to accomplish this feat. I also suggest that you leave off adjustment arms (B57 and B52) until you mount the completed gun sight subassembly in step 32. This will allow you to make adjustments for the proper fit. All I can say about this step is that there is a lot of PE and it will take a lot of patience to get it correct. This creates subassembly 31.
- Step 30 – This step also has you adding some rivet heads to the carriage support sides (B42 and B41, incorrectly called out as Ba42 and Ba41). These rivet heads are molded onto Sprue B’s runners. Here you will have to remove the heads with the correct height, because once you have cut them from the runner you will not be able to hold them and sand/cut off any extra plastic. I mounted them by putting a drop of glue on the support side, poked into the head using a sharp pointed blade, then placed the head in the glue drop and did a slight blade twist to release the rivet head.
- Step 31 – Adds part P43 to B46 and creates an oil can spout from stretched sprue for part B54. This step also adds PE part P1 to the oil can. The instructions never show the oil can being added to the right side of the gun, however, but in step 44 it is shown in place.
- Step 32 – This step adds larger bolt heads from the B sprue runner. Then it adds the gun sights (subassembly 31) to the left side gun carriage, along with the 2 subassemblies 29 & 30 from step 28. If you are careful, you can get the elevation gear (B13) to rotate, allowing you to position the barrel at any desired elevation. This creates subassemblies 34 and 35.
- Step 33 – This step attaches the carriage subassemblies 33, 34, and 35 and mounts the barrel assembly by trapping it between the two carriage halves. The second half of step 33 builds the vehicle-to-gun mounting apparatus. This creates subassembly 36.
- Step 34 – This step builds the undercarriage shield and mounts it and subassembly 36 to the gun assembly created in step 33.
- Steps 35 thru 39 are the option two steps. As I did not make the model this way, I cannot comment on them other than you still have to do some of the steps between 28 and 34 to get some of the subassemblies that will be added during these steps.
- Now you will build the “turret” to house the gun just completed.
- Step 40 – This step builds the “turret” floor as subassembly 41.
- Step 41 – This step builds the front plate of the “turret.”
- Step 42 – This step builds the left side of the “turret” and shows the ready rounds in place. The painting instructions for the ready rounds are suspect. I suggest that you consult your references before committing paint to plastic. This step builds subassembly 43.
- Step 43 – This step builds the right side of the “turret” along with the radio equipment. The painting instructions have the same problem listed in step 42. This step builds subassembly 44.
- Step 44 – This step assembles subassemblies 41, 42, 43, 44, and the gun into one piece. However, I painted and slightly weathered the interior of each subassembly prior to gluing them together. Since I intended to have the doors open, I wanted easy painting access to the front of the “turret” because it will be quite visible. I painted the gun with the base color on the part that would be exposed and an interior white on the part that would be inside the “turret.”
- Step 45 – This step has a choice of “turret” roofs. The first option has a sliding hatch. The second option is just open to the world. I used the second option, as I wanted to show off the gun better. Both options build a radio antenna base out of PE. This is a conical shape and it is very delicate. I was not able to complete this item unless I wanted to show it as battle damaged i.e. mangled beyond recognition. This roof is completed as subassembly 47.
- Step 46 – This step adds the roof subassembly 47 to the “turret” subassembly created in step 44. You also add the gunner’s vision door with PE and stretched sprue.
- Step 47 – This step builds the fuel cans and adds them to the storage rack. This creates subassembly 49. I did not attach the fuel cans until after I had painted and weathered them off-vehicle.
- Step 48 – This step builds the rear doors subassemblies 50 and 51. Parts PE P6 are very important if you are going to show the doors open, as they are the mounting bracket for the door braces that hold the doors open.
- Step 49 – This step adds the rear doors to the “turret.” After I had painted the interior side of the rear doors, I temporarily mounted the doors in the closed position so I could paint the outside of the “turret.” Because I used the open roof, I had to mask off the interior so I would not get any overspray on the inside. After that was dry, I glued the doors in the open position and added the door braces P13 and painted them by hand.
- Step 50 – This step builds some extra ammo boxes for you to place anywhere you want.
- Steps 51 and 52 – This step mounts the “turret’ to the chassis. At this time I added the tracks and sand shields and touched up any painting blurbs. I also then added all the little delicate parts and prayed that they will last until after the photos are taken.
- Now you build your second kit – the ammunition trailer.
- Step 53 – This step builds the trailer box framework. You will need to decide to show the doors open or closed. In retrospect, I would change the sequence to: Build the ammo trays in step 60 first. You can use them as spacers so that you can get parts H6 and H4 correctly spaced. I originally built this step as described in the instructions and when I got to step 60 the trays would not fit and it took a lot of effort to pull everything apart and rebuild. Make sure when you attach the brake handle that it is vertical, because if you get it too far off of vertical it will interfere with the fender.
- Step 54 – This step builds the 2 door latch handles as subassemblies 54 and the trailer hitch as subassembly 55.
- Step 55 – This step builds the 2 door stops as subassemblies 56 and 57. It appears that these could also be used to move the trailer around manually.
- Step 56 – This step builds the 2 trailer wheels and the top of the trailer as subassembly 58.
- Step 57 – This step attaches the 2 wheels to the trailer. I left them off for ease of painting and weathering. This step also adds the tray braces Pb1. Because of the poor spacing when I built these in order according to the instructions, they did not fit. My suggestion here is to wait till step 60 is complete and then use plastic strip to replace the Photo Etched part Pb1. By doing this, you can adjust the length of each brace so that it fits properly.
- Step 58 – This step builds the door side of the trailer box. You can show the doors either closed or open. If closed, you can skip all the parts to build the interior, trays, and ammo. I chose to leave the doors closed. You will attach subassemblies 54, 55, 56 and 57. This completed step produces subassembly 59.
- Step 59 – This step builds the trailer hitch and extension to create subassembly 60. There were no problems with this step.
- Step 60 – This step builds the ammo trays and attaches the fenders. When building the ammo trays, you need to be careful as the ammo will not fit in the tray properly as the tray is too short. This will not matter if you place all the trays in the trailer as you cannot see very much of the ammo.
- Step 61 – There is no step 61 in the instructions. However, there are two steps listed under step 62. I assume they just mislabeled the two step, therefore I am going to show step 62 in two parts.
- Step 62a – This step mounts the top and the door plate to the trailer, mating subassemblies 58 and 59. I had to do a lot of fiddling to get the top into place. Eventually I cut off some of the locating pins to get the top to drop into place.
- Step 62b – This step adds 4 latches to the top of the trailer and attaches the trailer hitch extension subassembly 60 bar to the back of the trailer.
Painting and Decals
The color charts shows the reference numbers for Tamiya, Humbrol, Mr. Hobby, and Mr. Color. The paint schemes and associated decals are as follows:
- Option 1 for the 121st Field Regiment Royal Artillery Libya 1942. The general paint scheme is overall sand yellow with a red brown camouflage
- Option 2 for the 121st Field Regiment Royal Artillery Libya 1942. The general paint scheme is overall sand yellow with no other camouflage colors.
The paint schemes for the trailer appear to come from museum pieces, as there are numerous items painted red. I’m not sure that this is a proper paint scheme; you will need to check your references to help you decide what to do. The overall color is sand yellow.
The decals are for the ammo, ammo boxes, and the vehicle itself. The kit provides 32 shells, and has plenty of decals for the rounds. A name plate is intended to go on the inside of the splinter shield, and numbers on the aiming sticks. Decals have no manufacturer's name other than Bronco, so I have to assume that Bronco produced them themselves. They appear to be in register but they are stiff. To get the decals to lie down on the ammo, it took several coats of Solvaset. The decals on the vehicle are on flat surfaces and did not pose any problems.
The build is at an Intermediate/Advanced level with very good detail and some exceptionally small plastic parts. The molding is crisp with no flash and minimal mold lines. I can recommend this kit to all self propelled artillery fans.
- British 25 pdr field Gun in Detail by Wings and Wheels Publications
- British Infantry Tank Mk. III Valentine Part 2 by Armor PhotoHistory #3 Dick Taylor
I would like to thank Bronco and Stevens International for providing the kit for review, and IPMS for allowing me the opportunity to review it.