Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

AFV Club M1 8-inch howitzer

Build review of the 1/35 scale howitzer kit with a metal barrel
After World War I, the U.S. Army standardized artillery to the 8-inch howitzer and the 155mm gun. While the design of the 8-inch howitzer began in 1919, it was 1940 before the gun entered service.

The howitzer would have a long service life and would be used in Korea and Vietnam. In 1962, its designation changed to M115 8-inch howitzer, but the gun remained basically the same throughout its lifetime with only minor changes.

In 1997, AFV Club released a 1/35 scale M115. Now, 20 years later they have re-released the kit with updated and new parts to backdate the gun for WWII service. Two new sprues include parts for the WWII style limber as well as improved parts for the gun breech and the trails. Also included are a shell-loading sled, new vinyl tires, and  vinyl brake lines for the carriage and limber.

While the original kit parts show good detail, you can really see how the art of molding has improved in two decades.

The original kit had directional tread tires while the ones included in the new kit feature commercial road tread. They have good sidewall and tread moldings but also had several hard-to-remove seams. Also upgraded are the metal equilibrator cylinders replacing the original plastic parts.

Assembly started with the gun and breech, which can be posed opened or closed. The assembled barrel was a tight fit to the recoil sled and the rails required a fair amount of sanding and filing to fit smoothly. The gun’s mount went together quickly and easily, although I did use a touch of filler on the front seam.

Building the trails required removal of some molded-on detail so it could be replaced with new parts. The instructions for this process are shown between the trail assembly diagrams in Step 7.

Test-fit the gun mounting plate (A13) to the gun before gluing it in Step 9. I had to enlarge the tab openings.

The complex gun carriage needed patience to assemble. The connecting links (B34, B35) are extremely delicate and I broke one removing it from the tree. I left the brake actuator levers (B2) loose until the brake drum plates were installed for alignment. The brake levers (B9, B10) also lack precise locators, so I left them unglued until assembly was done to ensure correct location. The vinyl brake lines were frustrating. I would replace them with fine wire.

I also had problems building the limber. The mount arms (D15, D18) must be installed in the correct direction, but the diagram is not clear because the main bed (D6) does not look handed — but it is. I would suggest installing the tow yoke mounts (D14, D19) first — they only fit properly on one side of the bed — then add parts D15, D18 making sure the smaller tabs face toward the yoke mounts. I also could not get the vinyl brake lines attached to the limber to my satisfaction, so I left them off. Again I would replace these with lead wire if I were to build another one.

I painted my M1 with a mix of Tamiya acrylics (45% olive drab, 45% khaki drab, 10% flat white).

I spent about 27 hours building my howitzer and I am very pleased with how it turned out. Although there are only a few difficult areas, this kit requires experience to build as the many small parts and delicate subassemblies take practice.

AFV Club has done a good job here and should be applauded for updating rather than just re-releasing it.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the January 2020 issue.
Read and share your comments on this article

Want to leave a comment?

Only registered members of are allowed to leave comments. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.


Essential finishing techniques for scale modelers.
By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our Privacy Policy.