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1/35 AFV Club 155mm Long Tom
by John Ratzenberger

 

Basic Kit:
AFV Club 35009 "M59 155-mm Cannon Long Tom"

Aftermarket:
Masters Production 35019 "Dolly M1 155 Long Tom - 203mm"
Eduard 35295 "M-59 Long Tom Detail"

Using US Army TM 9-350 and the Masters Production detail set, I back-dated the AFV kit to a late-WW2 or Korean War 155-mm Gun M2, Carriage M1, and Limber M5.

The AFV Club kit is really very good for three basic reasons -- it is a needed kit, it is in scale & proportion, and the detail is crisp & clean (i.e., check the big castellated nuts which are not just lumps of plastic). On the other hand, a lot of work is required to correct the mold marks, sink holes, & seams; there are some very, very fragile parts connected to sprues in the worst way; and the instructions have no explanatory text so you must figure out order/location from large exploded diagrams

The Masters Production detail set provided 6-spoke wheels with commercial tires, the most critical items to replace. The MP detail set also provided a few little parts, but they could have been scratch-built if necessary. The Eduard detail set was only useful for a few hinges, chains, and replacing some "lumps" on the trails.

I corrected limber parts (axle, limber lift, limber lift guide, T-bolt, clamp, bolts) and their usage for travel mode, and added parts such as the limber lift cable and air brake lines/fittings. I added air brake lines/fittings to the rear bogies & lower carriage. I corrected the barrel stop, recoil mechanism, and trail travel lock and added the trail travel lock support cable. There are several other enhancements and corrections to parts, equipment, and fittings.

The paint is a dry-brush method to replicate non-smooth cast surfaces. Moderate weathering has been done to reflect usage of the gun, and has been focused primarily on the areas where the spades are stored or mounted.

I really enjoyed this build. The AFV Club kit is a great starting point. Obtaining a copy of the TM is, of course, extremely helpful, but I also must thank lots of guys online (Missing Lynx, Armor-ama, Fine Scale Modeler, etc) who contributed information, comments, and questions which forced me to dig deeper.