Building the Academy M7 Priest
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII

105mm Howitzer

Overall, the Academy howitzer is a notch below the Italeri kit. The slide-molded barrel and recuperator eliminate the long seams common to Italeri's two-part assemblies. But both have numerous pin marks on the sleigh and arc assemblies. Some of these can be filled in easily, some not. There's a bit of a flare along the edges of the outer faces of the shield sections that can use some attention from the sanding stick. The shields need a pair of bolts added to their tops for the connection of the support arms. The seam on the rear trough of the cradle and on the breech plate need to be covered; Eduard supplies a part for this, but thin plastic can work as well.

Intermediate and later Priests had metal clips near each corner of the top and bottom of the cradle end cap. This feature is missing on the Academy and Italeri cradles. I made the clips with with bits of lead foil.

The equilibrator beneath the cradle is a poor representation, with a couple of nasty pin marks in the sides of the spring that are virtually impossible to repair. The two rods on the top side are presented as a solid flat plate. I used the trusty Dremel and X-acto to open the area and shape the rods. The photos shows the Italeri part on the left and the Academy version on the right. They share the identical problem and were cleaned up in the same manner.

The three handwheels that operate the movement of the howitzer have stunted knobs and I replaced them with plastic stock.

The top surface of the breech ring required some putty and the addition of the breechblock operating lever pivot. The trigger shaft can be added to the outer face of the breechblock.

The gun sight shows an unusual configuration, perhaps very early, British, or Israeli? There is some type of scope laid horizontally across the top of the sight for which I could not find a reference. For the "Baboon" Priest, I modified the parts to show the M12A2 panoramic telescope has been removed and stowed by hollowing out the empty socket on the Mount M21. This would be typical for a Priest on the road.

The Academy kit accepts the Italeri howitzer, if you wish. If you don't want to buy an entire Italeri Priest, you might try to track down the 105mm M1 kit. For my Sicily Priest, I used a spare Italeri howitzer and built it in action with the breech opened, as seen below. The Tankograd book provided the detailing guidance for the breechblock and lever. It's posible to do the same detailing with Academy kit. The breech ring below has the Eduard plate on top.

Suspension and Lower Hull

Driver's Compartment
Fighting Compartment
105mm Howitzer
Upper Hull Exterior
Final Assembly, Painting, and Weathering
Building "Baboon"


Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © Timothy S. Streeter