Built Review
M109 Howitzers
Three M109 Self-Propelled Howitzers
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by: Ed Burgess [ BURGESSE ]


Artitec is a Dutch company that produces model railroad accessories, including trains, cars, trucks, and military vehicles. The military range is in HO (1/87) scale and is surprisingly broad. There a number of WWII German and Allied vehicles, and quite a wide collection of post-war and modern ones. The three samples I received are variants of the M109 Paladin, a venerable American-built SPG which is widely used in NATO.


Artitec has given us the M109A2 (US, UK, NL, B). Also the BRD M109 A30 (Germany), and the BRD M109 G (German short-barreled variant).


The resin kits are, of course, small. A Paladin hull is about 2.75 inches (70 mm) long. The hull and turret are solid blocks of resin. The three variants vary slightly in molded-on hull fittings but are essentially the same. Detail is surprisingly petite and shows excellent feel for grills and gear. Two versions show nicely represented smoke projectors on the turret. All three have barrel braces that can be laid flat or opened up to hold the barrel for travel.

Construction is simple and should take perhaps half an hour per vehicle. One might start by attaching the running gear to each side, then inserting the turret into the obvious hole. Add the appropriate periscope, barrel, commanderís hatch, and a few other bits and youíre done. Thereís a small bit of flash and mold imperfections, all of it easy to clean up. A tiny fret of photoetch provides side mirrors. Two variants have a decent machine gun that can be mounted on an extremely fragile PE pintle; the US version has a resin M2 50 caliber. As the company has chosen to reuse some of the sprues you end up with a lot of unused parts for the spares box.

The only negative I found was the turret storage baskets. They are very fragile bits of resin and none of them survived shipping intact.

Instructions consist of a single sheet of 8.25 x 11.75 paper {editor: this is A4, correct?}. Very little text, but what there is, is in Dutch. There are two exploded drawings that are somewhat ambiguous as to placement and selection of options. A variety of paint schemes are illustrated for the three variants, including MERDC, UK two-color, and solid color. Colors are called out in Humbrol and Revell numbers. Decal sheets allow a choice of national markings and unit numbers.


I have built a little in HO scale, and Iím impressed by these three offerings. They seem to be in scale, surface detail is quite good, and they go together quickly. Modifying much beyond the basic models would be a challenge in 1/87, but the Paladin has had a huge variety of external stores attached, so one could super-detail if so inclined. Shrouds and chains come to mind, for example. Altogether a very pleasing trio of 155 SPGs and something to test your miniature painting skills.
Highs: Excellent detail considering these are 1/87th scale.
Lows: The small scale has made some parts very small and so easily damaged.
Verdict: A great addition to the Artitec range and a big plus for those with limited space or into HO/OO railways.
  Scale: 1:87
  Mfg. ID: 106, 107 and 109
  PUBLISHED: Aug 20, 2016
  NATIONALITY: United States

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About Ed Burgess (burgesse)

Copyright ©2021 text by Ed Burgess [ BURGESSE ]. All rights reserved.


Those little big shots do look sharp. Shame about the baskets. I suspect P/E would be a better material for those. Of course, that could increase complexity of what seem to be kits created with a simplicity of assembly in mind.
AUG 19, 2016 - 06:05 PM
1/87 is the scale for wargames.
AUG 20, 2016 - 02:14 AM
There are actually several scales used.
AUG 20, 2016 - 02:21 AM
hO train scale! You may use them as a load for special trains. I used to travel from Seedorf to Munster shooting range by train. A complete arti transport would be: 1 (old) person wagon, M578s, M577s and 18 M109(A2)s.
AUG 20, 2016 - 09:19 AM

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