Building Italeri's 155mm M1 Howitzer
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII

The particular kit I built is a Testors reboxing from the 1980s of Italeri's kit—which had its origin with Peerless Max. The distinctive mustard yellow Testors box had been collecting dust on the hobby store shelf for ages, and each time I saw it I had visions of creating a field artillery diorama, since they aren't seen very often. When AFV Club released their set of 155mm and 203mm howitzer rounds and propellant charge canisters, there was finally an opportunity to do the setting correctly, as the kit comes with no ammo.

While the kit, portraying an M1A2, captures the overall shape of the howitzer, it needs considerable corrections to make it more accurate and less toy-like. The gun is designed to elevate and the trails can be folded for traveling order, but none of that was necessary for my project, a diorama of a 155mm and its crew receiving supplies and mail during the harsh winter of 1944-45.

I present here what I hope is a fairly thorough and helpful guide to "accurizing" Italeri's 155mm. Because of the number and size of the images included with this article, I've divided it up into several "byte-sized" sections for (relatively) quicker downloading.

As you will see, this kit is, for better or worse, a detailer's dream. It just takes some time, patience and confidence. I probably devoted the better part of three months on the kit, and another two months on ammunition and accessories. The result is well worth the effort. And if you decide to build this kit, you'll have a head start with all the information presented here.

Artillery pieces don't get much attention from either manufacturers or modelers, and that's a shame because this disinterest shortchanges the importance of these guns and their crews in winning World War II.

Background on the 155mm Howitzer 155mm firing
Overview of the Model and References
Building the Howitzer Assembly
Building the Carriage Assembly
Painting and Accessories
Pictures from the Technical Manual
155mm Ammunition
Pictures of Museum 155mm Howitzer
Diorama: "Mail Call for the Sons of Thor"

The Last Round
Britt Taylor Collins

One of the joys of the Internet is getting to "meet" kindred spirits. One of the visitors to this page is artist Britt Taylor Collins, who found it while researching 155mm ammunition for a new painting and contacted me. He kindly allowed me to post the fantastic painting above, and you can enjoy more of his work at his website.



Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © 2002—2007 Timothy S. Streeter