The 17 Pounder was the largest of three anti-tank guns used by the British Army in the Second World War. Design work on the 17 Pounder began in April 1941 with the aim of replacing existing anti-tank guns. First deliveries of the new gun were made to Royal Artillery units in August 1942 and this type first saw action at the Battle of Medenine, North Africa, on 6 March 1943. The 17 Pounder was widely used in Italy and northern Europe and continued into post-war service for many years. Its use extended to being employed as a field gun, its high explosive shell proving a particularly useful charge in this role.
The kit is produced by Airfix, a well-known maker of scale model kits. The kit arrives in the usual red box with artwork of the gun crew firing the 17 pounder. There are some photos displayed on the side of the box showing close up detail of the gun and crew.
The kit consists of approximately 171 parts and comes on five grey sprues. The parts are nicely molded, but this kit is a reproduction and the molds are showing their age. There is flash on each and every part, and the gates are large. The 8 page instruction sheet shows the suggested assembly through 28 steps starting with the gun assemble and progressing through carriage, gun to carriage assembly, shells, and crew assembly. The decals are produced by Cartograf and printed with in registry with no silvering. There are decals provided for the uniforms for the crew.
The kit fits together well enough. Some the part assembly locations as depicted in the instructions are vague and you need to look at the subsequent steps to assure yourself you have the part placed correctly. This is however a nice kit for only being a skill level 2 kit. I had no problems with gluing together any of the main assemblies and did not have to use any filler at all. I actually built and painted all of the assemblies separately and then put it all together. The gun controls are a bit thick and would be due for replacement if an after market set were available. There is a nice touch to the kit in that the gun is movable in elevation as well as being able to traverse.
There is one page of the instructions devoted to the assembly and painting of the 6 figures for the gun crew. I assembled and painted one of the crewmembers to show the relation of the gun to the crew. The crew members are nicely molded and detailed.
There are 2 suggested units for the 17 Pounder gun, the 21st Anti tank Regiment, Guards Armoured Division, Nijmegen Bridge and the 2nd Anti Tank Regiment Royal Canadian Artillery, Antwerp Belgium. The 17 Pounder Guns used by both units are the same color, Olive Drab.
I painted the overall gun using Tamiya colors. I painted the gun and carriage the suggested olive drab with a faint pin wash and light dry brushing to bring out the details. The crew figure I painted the suggested matt khaki and added some pin wash and dry brushing. I am not a figure painter as can be seen in the photos.
The decal sheet is very basic with only a decal option for the 2nd Anti Tank Regiment Royal Canadian Artillery, Antwerp Belgium. Apparently there were no unit markings for the 21st Anti tank Regiment, Guards Armoured Division, Nijmegen Bridge? The decals laid down very nicely even over a flat sheen surface. There are decals provided for the crew uniforms.
Overall the kit is a joy to build and builds into a nice 17 Pounder Anti Tank Gun and Crew.
My thanks to Airfix and IPMS USA for the opportunity to build this kit. I look forward to building more of the Airfix kits in the future.