IDF M109A2 Rochev, early model turret

AFV Club, No. 35272, 1/35

Short History:

The M109 self-propelled Howitzer gun, known by IDF as “Rochev” (Rider), entered the Artillery forces’ service before the Yom Kippur War (1973). In that war, only one battalion was equipped with these guns, the “Tiger” battalion. This battalion lost almost its entire B battery during the first days of the war.

The M109A2 is a new production weapon which incorporated 27 mid-life improvements to the M109A1. The improvements provide for increased Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability (RAM) and safety characteristics as well as enhanced operational capabilities.
Major changes from the M109A1 include a redesigned rammer and improved recoil mechanism, engine operation warning devices, a redesigned hatch and door latches, an improved hydraulic system and a bustle designed to carry an additional 22 rounds of ammunition. The M109A2 has the long tube M185 cannon installed in the M178 gun mount. The cab has a rear bustle rack which provides an increased ammunition stowage capacity. It has an all weather ballistic shield mounted over the panoramic telescope; counterbalanced travel lock and provisions for mounting the M140 alignment device. The M109A2 entered production at BMY Combat Systems in 1978, with first deliveries made early in 1979. The first production quantity of 103 vehicles was with FY77 funding. M109A2 pro 36 M109A2s were produced for the National Guard using FY82 funds.

(history details are from Israeli weapons website)

What`s In The Box:

There is  spectacular box art (picture of M109A2 on blue background). AFV Club is assumed that many will be delighted with this box art, so they provide another copy of the picture but with no markings of the company and scale. When I open the box, frames were carefully packed. Each sprue is packed in its own plastic bag. Kit contains 20 sprues in olive drab plastic, 1 PE,  clear sprue, one  black vinyl sprue, one turned aluminum barrel,  one steel spring and one black nylon string. Quality of the parts is very good with excellent details. There is no flash on parts . There are many small parts attached to the sprues that will need careful removal and clean up. Ejector pin marks are easy to clean up. Assembly instructions contain 41 steps on 18 pages and are easy to understand. On the third page of assembly instructions there is a grafic icon, or better say evolution of M109 self-propelled howitzer.

Construction of model begins with the basic hull. It requires twelve parts in order to make, lower and upper sides, front, rear, bottom and three parts for roof sections. Suspension is nicely replicated with individual torsion bars and two-piece wheels to replicate the reinforcement ring. On some parts, drilling will be needed. Model has all of its hatches as separate parts and they can be made open. Unfortunately there is no interior parts for this kit (which is little bit disappointing).  Gun travel lock can be made open or close.

The tracks are vinyl and assembly instructions indicates that can be cemented with plastic cement. They are flexible and will not make you a trouble like some “hard to bend” vinyl tracks.

Main gun is a quite detailed. Construction consists of at least 57 parts (plastic, vinyl, aluminum, brass and steel). Assembling of the main gun provides “working function”. Construction of turret looks much simpler when it comes with basic parts. Of Course it comes with all of the necessary parts and changes needed to replicate M109A2 version. This version is made with early type muzzle brake. Main gun is made with interior details. Stowage racks are included as it is characteristic for IDF version. Extra equpment for this kit contains IDF jerry cans, car-15 rifle, charge containers, ammo boxes and other accessories that are characteristic. The mesh for the stowage racks is represented by PE, but for extra gear for the turret and hull, you will have to look for after market.

Painting & Markings:

Decal markings are provided for three different vehicles. None of vehicles give timescale, units or whereabouts in instructions., while painting is standard IDF colour for all versions. That means that you need Sinai Gray or IDF Sand Gray. Colour guide is provided for: Revell, Life Color, Humbrol, Gunze Sangyo: Mr. Color Spray, Mr. Color and Hobby Color.

Conclusion:

This is an excellent kit. With some after-market extra equipment and interior set, it can look very representative. Highly recommended to all modern afv modellers.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Review kit of this model was provided by    Hobby Easy

www.hobbyeasy.com