kit provides the four-hole storage shelf for .50 ammo boxes, with the boxes molded
into place. The early Priest had a bin for two ammo boxes, with a drawer below.
For my Sicily howitzer, I built the early bin, including a workable drawer that
I positioned open with a can of oil, a wrench, and a rag visible.
kit does not include the ammo box for the left front wall of the pulpit;
I added one from plastic stock. The TM calls for a canvas bucket "in bracket
on machine gun turret," so I attached a Verlinden bucket in what seemed to
be a likely spot above the .50 ammo bin.
instructions call for adding the barrel lock part C30, that should be on
the front of the pulpitto the machine gun mount. Don't do that! Glue it
to the pulpit as positioned in the box art or your reference photos. I detailed
several mounts (two from Academy, two from Tamiya), as seen here. The bottom rollers
need to be trimmed down so the mount sits properly along the right half of the
ring. If you have the
mount positioned on the left, open side of the ring, you might need to glue the
two mount pieces in place on the ring and detail the mount in position, lest the
protruding mount rollers prevent the mount from slipping over the ring.
gun ring also needs to be flattened in the proximity of 9:00 to 11:00 on a watch
dial. The knife and sanding stick took care of this easily.
Priest had attachment points for stowing two weapons in the pulpit and three on
the left wall behind the driver. Academy follows Italeri's lead and mistakenly
provides two M1 Garands in scabbards to locate on the wall of the pulpit; the
early Priests carried M1 carbines. I used the Eduard scabbards and spare Tamiya
carbines. Eduard also provided the "wings" that hold the scabbards in
place, but need small nuts in the center of each (except for the ones where you
use the scabbards). Academy provides these as well (part C8) which capture the
look of these fittings better than in Italeri's kit.
seats on the two interior side walls were hinged to fold down when not needed.You
can adapt the kit parts or use the photo etch to get the stowed position. The
kit's seat covers are overly textured and could be toned down with some sandpaper
or putty. I pulled a spare seat for left wall since it was in the down positio.
The kit part was used in the pulpit where it would be hidden by the crew member.
of the bogus seat (B44) that Academy has provided for the sponson behind the driver.
This shows up in an Internet photo and appears to be the driver's seat that has
been detached and just placed there. This seat does not appear in any other photos
or TM illustrations that I've seen. Put the part in your spares box.
kit's rear bulkhead is simplified and cast in one piece. The Eduard photo etch
provides this cover, but I used my trusty Dremel to remove the oil cooler molded
into the back wall and pulled out a leftover oil cooler section from my AFV Club
M10 to sit back farther along the wall line and create the proper depth. If you
go this route you have to add the breather and tube, easily made from scratch.
couple photos show either the bore cleaner staff or aiming stakes stowed to the
bulkhead wall above the oil cooler cover. There are latches on the cover itself,
and I've seen a couple photos of long canvas sacks secured here. This is the proper
storage point for the aiming stakes, which consisted of two two-section poles,
each section measuring about 4'. If
your Priest is in firing mode, as this one is, the stakes likely will be deployed
in the distance, so you don't need to deal with them if you don't want to. Academy
provides two bore cleaner staff sections, but they are rather skinny. I used some
plastic rod with Eduard parts that secure the staff to the wall.
ammo bins are a disappointment, with their shallow bottoms and lack of dividers,
but they're a fairly easy fix with some very thin card stock and patience. It
didn't take too long to section the bins, and add attachment strips (1mm thick
Plastruct square rod) and bolt heads (Tichy Train Group #8016 1 3/4" nut)
to the bottom faces and weld beads in the crotch where the two-part sections were
I had stated here that I had not yet seen any historical photos where the bins
were loaded with ready rounds without their tubes (as intended in the Italeri
kit). However, I have subsequently seen two photos where the rounds were in the
bins. So this option appears to be accurate, if not necessarily the norm. Naked
rounds are seen on the rear deck over the air intake grill during live firing.
Being that such rounds are not included in the Academy kit, this is all a moot
point unless you opt for the Verlinden or Resicast ammo sets.
kit provides a nice pair of fire extinguishers. Unfortunately, they lack decals
so I relied on some from Fingerprint Designs.
row of rivets runs horizontally just below joint of the sponson shelf and the
vertical hull wall in the fighting compartment. There also are bolts securing
the abbreviated trails to the vertical walls. I used .040" rivets from Tichy
I drilled out the hand holes that enabled access to ammo and tool bins below the
flooring. I also added the cover over the drive shaft as it rises up through the
floor and enters the engine compartment behind the bulkhead. This required slicing
diagonally through a 5/32" tube and sanding it down until it was about a
½" long and 1/8" high at the bulkhead end. I glued this piece
onto a very thin piece of plastic that was a hair larger than the outline of the
cover, and then glued this to floor.
swiveling gunner's seat (parts D27 and D28) was an addition to some, but not all,
late M7s. It's possible it could have been added to refurbished earlier Priests.
You may wish to omit it as I did.
painted and did basic weathering of the interior before gluing the upper walls
onto the hull. In the first photo below, you can see the strip of white plastic
that was glued to the edge of the sponson and how it meets the wall. I had previously
carved off he ridge at the bottom of the walls where the bins would be located,
so the bins could butt up right against the wall. There is a gap evident at the
bottom of the bulkhead on either side of the oil cooler cover that, fortunately,
is covered by the ammo bins.
and Lower Hull
Upper Hull Exterior
Assembly, Painting, and Weathering