M3 105mm Howitzer

This is the old Z-183 the Roco 105mm howitzer.  It served in the Second World War and continuously ever since in one army or another.  The US used it for over 50 years.

This it it's little brother, the M3 howitzer.  It was made lighter and intended for use by paratroopers and mountain troops.

Sweeping through the bits and crumbs in my spares boxes I found a lot of old, beat up 105 howitzer parts.  So I collected the parts and decided to use the worst of them to make the M3.

Most of the work is right here and it's done with a sprue cutter.  Starting at the bottom with a Roco 105mm howitzer barrel cut off the end of the barrel.  Then cut off the recoil mechanism on top of the barrel.  Finally trim the front of the recoil mechanism, and the back as well as shown in the top photo.

I did not have enough trails so I made one from one of the clips that holds the wheels on the bottom of a Roco tank.  On top you can see the spade that I made out of plastic.

Here is an original on top for comparison.  Later I added some wire along the side and a few bits of plastic rod to simulate the other parts.

Once all the parts were cut down, I sanded them smooth, and removed the shields from the gun.  I added a couple pieces of plastic rod to make the new recoil mechanism on the side of the gun mount.

You can really see how short the barrel is and how plain the gun looks without the shield.  I mounted them on sheet plastic because my original trails were broken and did not hold together very well.  The added strength of being glued to a plastic sheet seemed a good idea.

Some of them were missing other parts and I cobbled them together using square plastic tubes.  I had plenty of barrels and wheels.  Some of the guns were missing the towing loop, I used a bit of wire to replace those.

I primer painted them gray, and then used Testors Olive Drab spray paint. 

the ground cover is dark green paint sprinkled with Woodland Scenics ground cover and then they got a final spray of Woodland Scenics Scenic Cement to hold it all together.

WWII US Army paratroopers used these in batteries of four guns, with 12 in a company.

US paratroopers used Jeeps to tow these guns in WWII.  I made 12 of them but ran out of OD paint after only four. 

So it might be a few weeks before these get finished.  It's a good way to use up some old parts and add an interesting piece of artillery to your collection.

Thanks for reading.

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Mike Bunkermeister Creek


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