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  1. Rumours say SBS Model is to release a 1/72nd Miles M.11 Whitney Straight resin kit. Source: https://master194.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=123146 V.P.
  2. Skoda 305mm Siege Howitzer CMK 1:35 History The Škoda 30.5 cm Mörser M.11 was a siege howitzer produced by Škoda Works and used by the Austro-Hungarian Army during World War I and by Nazi Germany in World War II. Development began in 1906, when a development contract was placed by the Austro-Hungarian high command with Skoda-Werke in Pilsen to develop a weapon capable of penetrating the concrete fortresses being built in Belgium and Italy. Development work continued until 1909, when the first prototype was finished and, in 1910, fired secretly in Hungary. The weapon was able to penetrate 2 m (6 ft 7 in) of reinforced concrete with its special armour-piercing shell, which weighed 384 kg (847 lb). There were a few technical problems with the first piece, but, after few reconstructions in 1911, the upgraded piece made another round of testing in Felixdorf and in the mountains of Tyrol. After that, Moritz von Auffenberg, the Minister of War, placed an order for 24 of the new weapons The weapon was transported in three sections by a 100-horsepower 15 ton Austro-Daimler road tractor M. 12. It broke down into barrel, carriage and firing platform loads, each of which had its own trailer. It could be assembled and readied to fire in around 50 minutes. The mortar could fire two types of shell, a heavy armour-piercing shell with a delayed action fuse weighing 384 kg, and a lighter 287 kg shell fitted with an impact fuze. The light shell was capable of creating a crater 8 meters wide and 8 meters deep, as well as killing exposed infantry up to 400 m (440 yd) away. The weapon required a crew of 15–17, and could fire 10 to 12 rounds an hour. After firing, it automatically returned to the horizontal loading position. In 1916, the M. 11 design was upgraded and the new M.11/16 was produced - the difference was mainly that the firing platform had been modified to allow for a traverse of 360 degrees. Also in 1916, a new model was released, the M.16, which had longer barrel (L/12) and longer range 12,300 metres (13,500 yd) The Model The kit comes in quite a small, yet deep box with a rendering of the mortar on the front. Inside it is packed with resin parts in a number of poly bags. According to the instruction leaflet there are one hundred and six parts moulded in a greeny grey resin, with the exception of one part which is moulded in dark grey resin. The way they have been moulded onto the blocks you will need to take great care in cutting them off and there will be quite a bit of cleaning up required. The parts are well produced with some great detail including the big bolt heads found on weapons of this era. Read the instructions carefully as there are alternative parts depending on whether you build an early or late version. Construction begins with the very sturdy base unit, onto which the towing beams, forward mounted box top which is fitted with a pair of large brackets onto which four eyebolts are attached. The large turntable is slotted into the base recess and the shell chute base attached to the rear of the base. The build then moves onto the mortar itself with the assembly of the two small recuperators glued to the underside of the trunnion cradle, onto which the two trunnion gears are affixed. The elevation gears are glued to their shaft and the tow assemblies put to one side. The two large recuperators, made up form eight parts are built up, followed by the trunnion section of the barrel. This is fitted with a variety of longitudinal and cross beams top and bottom, an eye plate and four large bolt heads. The middle section, either bolted or smooth is then attached to the trunnion section, followed by the muzzle section, and the optional muzzle cap. The breech section is built up from four parts and can be positioned either open or closed, and finished off with the rear mounted breech plate and recuperator end fittings. The large and small recuperators are then attached to the rear of the barrel section, followed by the breech section. The two impressively moulded trunnion mounts are detailed with a selection of small parts before being fitted to each side of the barrel. Between the mounts the elevation cog assembly is also fitted and closed off with a curved front plate. The barrel/mounting is then fitted to the turntable on the base. The mortar is fitted with a small splinter shield which comes in two parts whilst the main elevation wheel is made up from nine parts. The seven piece training unit is also assembled at this point, whilst the mounting points of it and the “range computer”, and sights are fitted to the left side trunnion mount followed by the units themselves. The complex shell handling system is assembled from seventeen parts, and if done so carefully, should be able to move, allowing the shell, included, to be positioned at any point in the loading process. This assembly is then glued to the rear of the mounting, followed by two rails onto which the shell trolley can run to move the shell onto the loading cradle. The trolley is provided and is made up from eight parts and once assembled can be fitted to the rails finishing the build. Conclusion There have been a few big mortars released in the last year or so, but injection moulded, so it interesting to see CMK release this one. Not that it’s not welcome and is in fact more detailed than the similar marque of weapon released by Takom. Certainly not one for the novice, it will make a superb addition to any collection of big guns. Very highly recommended. Review samples courtesy of
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