Italeri M110 Self Propelled Howitzer
As noted in the First Look Review, this kit has less than 200 parts and only nine steps; however, it seemed during the build that almost every one of those parts had flash, or sprue knockouts, or noticeable seams that had to be taken care of. In addition, several major parts did not fit well and had to be filled with putty and sanded.
There is no idler wheel, but the final axle (left) is oriented differently than the roadwheel axles (right)
Step 1 consists of gluing the 3-part sprockets together, the five sets of road wheel halves together, attach the four roadwheel suspension arms to both sides, and the final roadwheel axle which serves as an idler wheel for track adjustment.
Rear view - barely visible is the outline of the various tools in the rectangular stowage
Step 2 is attach the upper hull, both hull sides, and the hull rear to the lower hull (no order is given, I did it as written here). There are noticeable gaps along both rear sides and the rear because of fit (misfit?) issues with the sides and the top. The sides are flat, but the upper hull is slightly indented - putty filled the gaps and paint covered that.
Step 3 is attach the drivers hatch and handle, lifting hooks, engine hatch handles, two 5-gallon fuel cans, rifle rack, fire extinguisher, crew platform, field telephone wire reel, and tools.
Notice the large sprue knockout circles in the center. There are two more on each end. All smoothed down by liberal use of sandpaper.
Beginning the build up of the spade support and hydraulic arm system
Notice those gaps in the hydraulic arm assemblies, and the seam on the arm. Careful assembly means the spade can raise and lower. The shell trays are just sitting on the arms, until the spade is attached, as the illustrations in the directions are a little vague as to their exact location.
A close-up of the seam. Sandpaper and sanding sticks took care of that.
Step 4 is attaching the hydraulic arm assembly and support arms to the spade. I followed the directions and used a heated flat blade to flatten the end of the attachment parts 43B and 45B that enable the hydraulic arms to pivot up and down.
Attach crew steps on both sides under the tail light assemblies, the telephone wire reel, two tow points, and the towing pintle.
Attach the hydraulic arm assemblies and the lower support arms to the rear hull. I used light dabs of Testors Cement to attach them.
If you're sharp-eyed, you'll notice that I glued the right-hand shell tray in the wrong direction - fortunately, the glue had not set so I was able to pull it off and re-glue it correctly.
Closest I can get the lens to the attachment points
Attach four hook-like parts to the outside upper edge of the spade, along with two sets of track links
As noted, the hydraulic arms can raise and lower the spade
Step 5 is finishing up the spade by attaching (NOT CEMENTING) parts 51B and 52B to the hydraulic arms and 53B and 54B to the lower support arms; then, cement 51B, 52B, 53B, and 54B very carefully to the rear hull -- that will allow the spade to move up and down. This took a lot of tries, as those four little parts wanted very badly to feed the carpet monster.
Step 6 is first of three steps to build up the howitzer mount assembly. Cement the top and bottom halves of the traverse ring to each other. Each trunnion has two parts and the gun cradle has two parts -- there is a small plate to insert into the barrel cradle before the glue sets. There are seams on the bottom of the barrel cradle and along the top halves of the trunnions, so dig out the putty, sanding sticks and sandpaper. After attaching those parts together, attach that assembly to the traverse ring, add the first part of the elevation arm assembly, parts 60C and 69C, which the directions show having their pin flattened with a heated screwdriver. Because it seemed to fit snugly, and the next step should keep it in place, I did not flatten the pin. Add the base for the shell tray loading mechanism at the left rear of the mount.
Notice the putty on the right side elevation arm assembly
Step 7 continues the howitzer mount assembly on the left side, with the addition of a crewman's seat, control arm, sight, attach the shell tray to the lower assembly. This should freely raise and lower, but mine kept coming off, so I finally glued it on. Attach two caps, parts 75C, on top of the trunnions. Glue together the halves of the elevation arms assembly (more seams!), and after the glue has dried, slide over parts 60C and 69C from the previous step, and insert the pins (NO CEMENT) into their respective holes on the gun cradle, so the gun can freely elevate. Attach part 76C to the front of the trunnions.
Rear view, shell on tray, breech closed
Right side crewman's seat and controls.
Rear view, breech open
Step 8 completes the howitzer barrel and mount assembly. Note that the barrel consists of four parts, so yep - seams that have to be puttied, sanded, puttied again, sanded again. Gently slide the barrel assembly into the barrel cradle. Build up and attach the breech assembly; the breech can be assembled so that it freely opens and closes. Attach a crewman's seat and controls to the right side.
Before painting and adding the tracks
Oops, that control arm is on upside down - was able to cut it off at the base and top and attach correctly.
After painting and adding tracks and decals for "Dirty Dozen" U.S. Army, 13th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Battalion, D Company, South Vietnam, 1968
Used Vallejo's U.S. Army Olive Drab paint set
Used Tamiya Mark Fit Decal Solution, but there is still some shine there.
The skull and crossbones, and the dragon, were difficult to attach to the rounded parts of the barrel, but fortunately they did not tear.
Besides the decals and lights, the only thing else with color are the shells (3 in the kit) and fire extinguisher
Step 9 consists of attaching the front headlights and guards assemblies, two front tow pintles, crew bench seat, and inserting the howitzer mount assembly into the hull. Attach the two rubber tracks using cyanoacrylate (CA) glue, and the build is done.
As noted in the First Look Review, this kit has less than 200 parts and only nine steps; however, it seemed during the build that almost every one of those parts had flash, or sprue knockouts, or noticeable seams that had to be taken care of. In addition, several major parts did not fit well and several gaps and seams had to be filled with putty and sanded. I also gave the kit a 'Highly Recommended" depending on the build. I'm going to recommend the kit for all builders, mainly because this is an iconic weapon system that served in Vietnam, during the Cold War, and even during Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and that has gone on to serve with several foreign countries.
There are no other current kits on the market, and this "re-box" probably consists of a lot of parts from Italeri's 2012 M110A2, which was a reissue with a new box of a 1996 kit. That may explain why there were lots of seams, gaps, sprue knockouts, and a general lack of details. Therefore, I believe that this will be an interesting build for advanced, and maybe even intermediate builders, who will welcome the challenge of adding details, either scratch-built or after-market. It will allow the beginner to practice those necessary skills of using putty to fill gaps, sanding seams, and dealing with fit issues. Several on-line retailers carry the kit well below the MSRP price, so it is worthwhile if you welcome the challenge while practicing social distancing.
I definitely recommend the Prime Portal walk-around of the M110 for help with the build and adding details:
Also, conduct an internet image search; there are dozens (hundreds?) of photos of the M110 in Vietnam, other countries, and in front of VFW halls that will provide more details and ideas for vignettes and dioramas.
Scalemates lists two after-market kits for the M110: https://www.scalemates.com/kits/italeri-6574-m110-self-propelled-howitzer--1266930 There are also aftermarket kits for the M110A2 and the M107, which appear to use the same chassis.
Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders, especially those who enjoy artillery builds.
Thanks goes out to Italeri and Model Rectifier Corporation for this review kit.
Reviewed by Joseph "Mac" McDaniel
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