1/35 Hobby Boss M4 HST & AFV M1 155MM Gun

Gallery Article by Douglas Conrady on Oct 18 2012


My latest armor model is one of a High Speed Tractor and a 155 artillery piece. The M4 tractor was the prime mover for most heavy artillery for most of WW2 for the US. The as boxed M4 is an early version with the louvers on the side of the shell box. Allis Chalmers manufactured the M4 during the war. This company also made farm machinery (tractors/plows) up until 1985. 

The M1 155mm is also know as the "Long Tom". This artillery piece is not a howitzer nor a mortar, but a gun. Howitzers and mortars are used for "indirect fire" or lobbing shells in a high arc to the target. A gun can be used for direct fire or indirect fire. Direct fire is firing directly at the target. The German 88mm, when used in its anti-tank role, would also be considered a gun. The Long Tom was used in every theater of WW2, but saw more action in Europe.


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The Hobby Boss M4 has got to be one of the most over engineered kits I've built. There were 3 parts for the main idler wheel... 3 parts!! There seemed to be alot of fiddley bits, that didn't seem necessary. But, since I'm primarily an aircraft modeler, maybe this is the mark of a great armor kit. The kit did go together great, not one fit issue. I had to check the box many-a-time to make sure it didn't say Tamiya on the side. One nice thing was the kit was assembled in sub-assemblies. I could work on the engine compartment for a while, then switch to the ammo box if I wanted. I have a friend that has retired out of the military and he was in artillery. I leaned on him from time to time to get the look and feel just right. One change I made to the M4 was to make it a late version without the louvers on the ammo box. I took my trusty knife and shaved the louvers off and puttied up the gouges.

The AFV M1 was also a great build. First time I've had a go at one of their kits. When I do more armor, I'll be looking to see if they make a kit of the subject. One of the reasons I went with the AFV was they included a turned alluminum barrel. Instead of glueing on the plastic version, the metal one went in its place. No cutting, modifying, no muss, no fuss. There were alot of parts to the travel wheel section. But the fit and finish were outstanding. Since the AFV kit is so close to the real deal, there are many display options available to the modeler. Any position you could put the real gun into, you could make the kit look the same. I have read that the tires are not correct for WW2. I chose not the fix that, because at the time I didn't think there were aftermarket tires. If there were, I couldn't find them, and guess what, there is a set out there now. Of course, after I finish the model.

I plan on making a battlefield type of base to place these two models on, I just haven't found the right "ingredients" yet. There is a pic that I would like to quasi reproduce.... we will see. 

Any comments or questions are always welcomed. If wanted, more photos are available upon request.

Thanks for looking and don't throw rotten tomatoes!

Douglas Conrady

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Photos and text by Douglas Conrady