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Impressive as is, this howitzer must be among the first places of an endless lists of classic weapons of Second World War. Its big caliber, strange tracks and its participation in the famous film about the fall of Berlin in 1945, are their letters of introduction. However, it went unnoticed for the most well known injected plastic kits manufacturers. Just the resin kit companies had it in their catalogue, but so pricey as the howitzer itself.
This is my seventh attempt at building a kit of this towed gun. Pit Road (old white metal kit), MB Models, Wespe, FInemolds, Minotaur and Alan offered several kit releases of this howitzer in different materials. All these kits have their pros and cons, but they are not recommended for inexperienced modelers. Having a B4 among your collection had become a difficult reachable goal, this was only for very experienced modelers and huge budges.
The arrival of this new Pit-Road kit changes drastically this concept. Apparently, anybody can have now, a B-4 in his/her showcase with very little effort and at a reasonable price. By seeing the sprue parts, we can say that none of the old kits is better than this Pit- Road one. It seems that today, having a B4 is possible.
But don’t hurry, let’s see what we’ll find inside the box.
The mold is exactly the same as Trumpeter’s which finally released for worldwide distribution their boxing of the Soviet B4 Model 1931 203mm Howitzer which first appeared back in May as a Pit Road boxing for Japan only. The difference between both versions is that the Pit-Road kit also includes a set of 5 crew figures that will be released as a separate kit by Trumpeter (plus two more figures even though to operate this gun, it would be necessary 15-16 crew members).
At first sight the box includes good injected moulded parts in the usual light grey plastic very well detailed, individual track links and a very small etched set. As my intention was to represent it in firing position, I didn’t use the transport limber.
This Pit-Road version could be considered more appropriate for the pre war period since it includes the limber with solid disc wheels seen before 1939. During the WWII, it was usual to see it with spoke wheels. (and in the 50’s they started using conventional wheels with tires)
Perhaps in the future we’ll see the long barrel (4915mm) version or even the 152mmBr-2.
There’s not any injection plastic kit available proper to tow this gun. The options could be the prewar soviet artillery tractors Kommunar and Kominter or the Stalinetz S-65 and Voroshilovetz if we want to consider a 1945 theatre. Also it could be towed by some Caterpillar D6/D7 which origin is North America.
From the first step, we see that we’ll have a great clean up. Each part must be carefully treated to remove small defects. The mold seams are not very prominent, but should be removed from each part with a sharp edge of a cutter. It’s not a complicated task, but somewhat tedious and the assembly takes more time. A proper cleanup will assure us an assembly without complications.
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