The LeFH 18/40 was designed to meet new requirements in 1942 for a reduction in weight and ease of manufacture. To ease production, the howitzer was mounted on a 7.5 cm Pak 40 carriage. Modifications included a modified shield and a muzzle brake that would absorb 42% of the recoil. The Pak 40 chassis was stressed with the gun. From 1942 to 1945 over 10,000 were made. The new howitzer helped convert artillery units to move from horse drawn to motorized transport. The faster movement of artillery helped with the German tactics and improved their mobility and striking power.
This is the first AFV kit I had purchased and was eager to take a look in the box.
The sprues are an olive drab color with approximately 162 parts on the sprues for the LeFH 18/40, and 5 parts for a resin figure posed in a sitting position.
The contents of the box included
• A sprues: Gun cradle parts
• B sprues: Gun cradle parts
• C sprues: Carriage, gun shield, wheels and muzzle brake
• D sprues: Tools, sights, shield parts
• M: Aluminum barrel, Copper recuperate cylinder
• R: Rubber tires
• J: Decals
• Resin figure consisting of 5 parts
On inspection of the sprues I found no sink marks and only a few ejection marks inside the cradle mount, with no flash visible on the sprues. Some of the smaller parts have large connections to the sprues, so care will be needed in their removal. There was some excess plastic on part A-7 that will have to be removed before building. The kit includes a metal barrel and recuperator, eliminating the need for these parts in styrene.
The instruction sheet seems clear and not overloaded. Directions are divided into firing or transportation modes, so care must be taken in selecting the parts in the right application. The decals include range & firing tables, 4 capital letters, A, B, C & D, plus a name in white. The location for the firing table decals are shown in the fourth section. I was unable to find a place for the battery letters and name for the decal sheet. The kits rubber tires can be slipped over the wheels after they are constructed, which makes for easier painting.
The marking and painting section is on the next to last page along with sets of accessories sold separately. The resin figure looks like it is of good quality with separate arms and head. The figure is a light tan color with small molding blocks.
Without building the kit I can only conclude from my investigations that this kit looks
to be a superior product. The parts all look to be engineered with care and ease of
assembly. The kit uses many of the sprues from the earlier LeFH 18 M so some
parts will be left over.
Joe has started a Build Log
on the Forums to evaluate the kit construction.