Friday, September 9, 2016

Mlle. Soixante-Quinze

The Matériel de 75mm modèle 1897, aka the French 75 was a field gun used in conflicts starting from around the time of it's introduction, and all the way into WWII.

The first 1/72 models of the gun were in resin [and metal?], but it wasn't until the HäT versions were released that models finally appeared in plastic (albeit the rubbery stuff that HäT seems to prefer nowadays).

The two HäT sets include French and American guns with caissons, and differ only in the color of the plastic and the nationality of the crew.

When assembled, the abattage (wheel anchors) are fixed in the travel position, but few will probably notice this detail. The gun shield also seems to be at more of an angle than it should be.

The first injection plastic kit of this gun was from MAC, but it is pretty rough for an injection kit.

The model includes pneumatic wheels and a German crew, neither of which I have any use for.

Clean-up of the pieces and carving out the barrel rollers from the solid piece of plastic at the end of the barrel was made easy by the soft consistency of the plastic.

I found the assembly instructions to be somewhat vague because it relied mainly on one angle to show all the steps.

Pictures of the assembled model on the MAC website, were not very helpful, as it seems to be a different (prototype?) kit (different tow ring, different wheels, fewer/missing parts), and it had the gun shield attached the wrong way.

I was trying to figure out how part 7 was positioned, since the instructions only show it viewed from the rear of the model.

In fact, the only gun I was able to find with this feature (some sort of canvas bag) was from a display in the National Museum of the Marine Corps, so I'd suggest not attaching the part at all in most cases.

The body of the gun carriage is made of a nice firm resin. Holes need to be drilled into it for the metal axle rod and hand wheels. Some plastic pieces are also included for this part, but are not used in the build.

There should be a v-shaped notch here...

The front of the carriage forces the barrel to be in an elevated position. Some of the resin needs to be removed if the model is to be displayed with the barrel in a horizontal or depressed position.

No real location is indicated for the seats either (I may have attached them too far back?).

The metal axle needs to be clipped so that it protrudes by 7mm on each side, and a bit of putty is needed to fill in all the imperfections in the trail.

A really nice feature of this kit is that the abattage looks like it can be assembled in either raised or lowered configurations (I'm going for the later). A shield for the sight will also need to be scratchbuilt.

The most recent injection kit of this gun comes from First to Fight, and is identified as a "75mm wz. 1897 Schneider". From all appearances though, it is the Canon de 75mm Mle 1897.

The majority of sources I've looked at attribute manufacture of these guns to Atelier de Puteaux rather than Schneider. In addition, many sources attributing the guns to Schneider simultaneously claim that manufacture occurred at Atelier de Bourges, which was another state run arsenal.

It has a lot of very delicate parts, and care needs to be taken when cleaning them up. The abattage looks as if it is supposed to be built in the travel position, but I think it would be easy enough to convert it to the anchored position.

The model itself, is a lot smaller than either the HäT or MAC guns. If the two other kits are accurate in size, the First to Fight model has dimensions that range anywhere from 1/76 all the way down to 1/87.

I was so disappointed in the disparity in size, that I did not bother completing my build.

For the following comparison shots, the HäT parts are blue, MAC are tan, and FTF are green.

According to the stats given at Wikipedia,
the length should be 37.3mm in 1/72 scale.

The carriage and trail of the FTF kit is also a lot shorter (by about 8mm) and narrower than that of the other kits.

The trail is assembled from two halves, and will need a lot of putty to hide the seam, or it will give the appearance of having a split trail.


Rob Young said...

Remember my first model of this gun many years ago - as I recall it was basically an Airfix ACW gun carriage, modified Airfix armoured car gun with a v shaped piece of card at the end and card gun shield. May not have been accurate but looked OK. The armoured car was also converted so I didn't waste the kit!

EY said...

Artillery that is not 18th or 19th century is sadly neglected in all scales. I'm glad we have the HaT models available nowadays to make life easier. The kit was panned by some of the people at the Landships website, but where else can you get a full battery with caissons and crew for about $10? I paid more than that for the MAC kit!