by: Michael Goldberg [ ]
First designed in the years following World War I, the M1 75mm Pack Howitzer, (later re-designated Howitzer, Pack, 75mm M116 after WWII) would eventually go on to see action in all theaters of the war. In US service, it was used mainly by airborne units and the Marine Corps. It also served in many foreign militaries as well. Designed to be light (weighing in at only 1340 pounds) and to be easily disassembled, it was ideally suited for use in rugged terrain to be carried in six loads by pack animals. It was also for this reason that it was favored by airborne units as it could also be easily airdropped and assembled quickly on the spot. The gun, in various versions, was also mounted in various mobile platforms such as the 75mm HMC M8 "Scott," the 75mm HMC T30 and some LVT models.
The complete resin kit comes packaged in a thick box with a picture of the completed kit and painted ammunition glued to the top cover. This is a very small kit with a low number of pieces. All that's in the box is a small, staple sealed bag which contains 27 cream colored parts with a single 8 1/4 in by 5 3/4 in folded, line-drawing instruction sheet. Even though this is an older kit, first being produced in 1994, it still looks to be able to hold its own against the newer Vision and Bronco kits. Comparing online photos of the newer kits and the kit at hand they look to be on par with each other.
I'm not going to comment on the molding as I have limited experience with resin and none with a full out resin kit but I will say that the molding is far from being sub-par. The mold blocks are quite large on some parts, such as the tires, and could possibly detract from detail, such as the tire treads. Mold flash is quite prevalent and the only reason the pictures don't show it is because I had gotten bored and decided to remove the flash. The kit doesn't have the amount of separate and finely detailed little parts as the other two do but everything appears to be in the same places. Bolt heads are present as are spring detail in the front trail assembly. Overall detail is nice. The wheels appear to be Highway tires and the details seem to be correct as far as relative accuracy is concerned. I won't comment on dimensional accuracy as I have neither the resources nor the time to devout to measuring it. The entire gun assembly is molded as one piece to be mounted onto a single piece gun cradle. The muzzle is hollow for about a centimeter to a half into the gun tube. 4 different ammo types included: an ammo tube, a spent shell, a complete shell and a shell inside a tube with the top off. No let downs from what I can see of the kit from this perspective.
The only let down I can find is in the instructions. Everything is assembled in one single step with arrows drawn every which way. To my eye it is very confusing. The lines are very heavy and do interfere with the arrows which are the same width. Arrows do occasionally interfere with each other, again, making for some possible confusion. If studied long and hard it could eventually make some sense.
Overall, a good, out-of-production, and what seems to be little known, resin kit let down only by the lack of understandable instructions. While not very fancy and flashy with itsy-bitsy pieces, it seems like it might be a rather buildable kit once the instructions are hammered out.