by: Alan McNeilly [ ]
Originally published on:
The 6inch Howitzer 26cwt was a British Artillery piece developed during WW1 and used in both WW1 and WW2. Design began in early 1915 and it entered service in late 1915. It replaced the obsolete 6inch 25cwt gun. The combined firepower, range and mobility made it one of the most important artillery pieces of WW1. Originally designed to be towed by horse by 1916 it was commonly towed by a 4 wheel drive 3 ton lorry. The WW1 version had wooden wheels that could be fitted with ‘girdles’ for movement in the mud of the battlefields. Towards the end of WW1 it was fitted with solid rubber tyres. These guns fired an estimated 22.4 million rounds along the length of the Western Front.
After WWI and in the intervening period before the start of WW2 the carriage had its wooden spoke wheels replaced with modern pneumatic tyres. During WW2 it was deployed with the BEF in France and saw active service in the early campaigns in N Africa. With the introduction of the 5.5 inch gun its deployment was restricted but it was used in Burma and finally withdrawn from service in 1945 at the end of the war.
It was designed by Vickers and manufactured by Vickers, Beardmore, Coventry Ordnance Works, Woolwich Ordnance Works, and the Midvale Steel Company. Approximately 3,633 were produced and it was crewed by 10 men. It could fire Gas, Incendiary and High Explosive shells to a range of 9,500 yards in WWI and to 11,400 yards in WWII. The shell weight during WW1 was 100lbs and 86lbs in WW2.
Captured guns were use by the German and given the designation FH-412(e).
Artillery played a decisive role in both World Wars, and continues to do so to this day making the Royal Artillery one of the key ‘teeth arms’ of the British Army.
The kit provides a comprehensive build for the early 1940s style 26cwt Howitzer and was Mastered by George Moore.
The kit comes packed in the standard Resicast format, a good sturdy box, zip plastic bags containing the parts and everything wrapped in bubble wrap for extra protection. The box marking show 5 pictures of the built but unpainted weapon, the product and manufactures details.
Inside the box are 9 zip bags of parts and the gun carriage plus an A5 size 20 page set of build instructions. The parts are cast in a light grey resin and as one would expect are of outstanding quality.
The build sequence is clearly laid out in the instructions and any areas to note supported by text. A comprehensive parts list lets you know what is what and each part is numbered to correspond with the build pictures.
The gun features a choice of two sights, the dial sight (quadrant shaped) No 12 Mk1, or the "Rocking bar sight." The No 7 dial sight can be fitted to either and the No 7 dial sight was the same sight as used on the majority of British guns and the Vickers MG.
The carriage designation is MkIP, it has the longer towing bar and earlier conversions had the shorter towing bar bolted to the "cast" towing eye on the carriage rear. The "newer" longer towing bar had a totally revised mounting, allowing it be "un-pinned" to move up and down freely. When towed, the bar was locked into position
The parts are expertly cast and highly detailed. The trail has a film that will need removed and a small pour plug at the end. The various boxes that were present on the trail come as separate items.
The saddle for the cradle has excellent detail and fits nicely onto to the trail. The elevating quadrant has nice fine teeth and the gun cradle is well cast. The barrel is in two parts and the rear slots into the cradle easily. The muzzle has been drilled out to a decent depth and fits snuggle onto the main part
The tires are cleanly cast with excellent detail and the brake drums as separate parts are of good quality. Note the instruction sheet on fitting the drums as they need to be aligned in a specific way.
The main point to note when adding the wheels is to just make sure the axles are square.
The breech block can be modelled open or closed, note the instruction on tool storage when in firing or travel mode. The fixtures and fittings for the gun, sights, elevating arms/wheels etc are all very cleanly done and accurate to the references I have seen.
You get a few individual types of shell for the gun, HE shell, HE streamline shell, and Star Shell, plus a loading tray. I’m not sure if Resicast intend to produce an ammunition set for the gun, but I would like to think so.
A complete set of tools comes with the kit including a sponge handle and sponge.
This is an excellent looking kit, providing a big chunky piece of British Artillery not previously available as far as I know. Many of these weapons were abandoned in France in 1940 and used later by the German Army.
The quality of the parts is as you would expect - excellent. The build looks straightforward enough, all the parts being numbered and corresponding to the instructions. If you get the axle alignment correct then the remainder of the build shouldn’t present any problem.
There are no PE parts to fight with as the complete kit is in resin and the quality of the casting doesn’t require any.
Work is also underway for the WW1 version with the spoke wheels, which I believe is well advanced.
Another excellent kit to mark 20 years in the business for Resicast!
I have enclosed some pictures of the built model courtesy of the Resicast site, at the bottom on the review.