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Rick Taylor (MasterGunner)

Obice 305/17 de Stefano

Before World War 1, the Allies had anticipated that the next conflict would be a war of movement and therefore relied upon light field pieces like the French 75 and the British 18 pounder. Once the Great War turned into trench warfare, their lack of heavy artillery forced them to improvise. The Italians dismounted their fixed 305mm (12 inch) coast artillery howitzers and mounted them on a unique De Stefano carriage. This massive howitzer and even more massive carriage were towed up into the Julian Alps to pummel Austrian positions.

Vargas Scale Models 3D prints this 70+ part kit in resin. I washed to parts three times to ensure that uncured resin and residue were completely removed. A couple of the very thin plates, and the delicate ladders showed some warpage. I taped these down to a metal ruler with blue painters' tape and dipped them in very hot water for about a minute. I left them taped to the ruler until cool. This resolved the warpage. Some of the parts exhibit 3D print striations. These can be scraped or sanded. Once the parts are cleaned up, the assembly is trivial using CA glue. The parts fit is good. The instructions are minimal but adequate. Assembling the carriage is a bit tricky. I dry fit the entire carriage and clamped/taped everything firmly in place. Then I used my Glue Looper to apply extra thin CA to the joints and let capillary action do its magic.

The model has a very high center of gravity and will tip over sideways during the painting and weathering process. After tipping it over the third time (and breaking off parts), I wired the model down to my painting tray until complete. I primed the entire model with Mr. Color 1500 Black Primer. This rattle can primer dries rapidly, is very thin, sticks well and is sandable. After using my airbrush and Tamiya flat black to reach the areas the rattle can missed, I used Tamiya XF2 White to pre-sun the upper areas and those getting a lot of sunlight while preserving the black in all of recesses and panel lines. After some research, I decided to use LifeColor UA 213 Grigio Verde Chiaro for the base color. I painted the wheel rims with Tamiya XF84 dark iron followed by AK Interactive AK083 track wash and a light dry brush with Model Master steel. The carriage and gun were weathered with a dot filter of Winsor and Newton oils and streaked with AK Interactive AK 074 rain marks for NATO tanks, AK 012 Streaking Grime, and AK 013 Rust Streaks enamels. I also used Streaking Grime for a pin wash and highlighted the rivets and other details with a light dry brush of Winsor and Newton Yellow Ochre oil paint. After weathering and detail painting the carriage and gun were given a coat of Testor's Dullcote. The brass details were painted with Vallejo brass and then rubbed lightly with a little AK Interactive AK460 true metal brass on a small cotton swab as a final touch.

I know, I know its not a US weapon, but, it is so unique that I couldn't resist.


Ben M
Beautiful model of a unique subject
17 April 2021, 03:43
I agree with Ben. Another gem!
17 April 2021, 09:37
Rick Taylor
Thanks guys. Vargas keeps bring out these interesting models using CAD and 3D print technology. They are solving a problem for me. I am such a slow builder that I didn't get enough practice on the painting and weathering. These go together so quickly, that I get practice on the finishing and have more opportunities to improve.

17 April 2021, 16:53
Robert Podkoński
Cool subject and beatifully finished model. Congrats!
17 April 2021, 17:35
Chuck Willis
Well done, Rick. Thanks for posting. Cheers!
17 April 2021, 17:38
René "Lord Bilbo" Bartholemy
I really like the Vargas products too.
And this howitzer is a real beauty. Subtle weathering, crisp colours... All I miss is something that would put it into scale.
17 April 2021, 20:38
Rick Taylor
Thanks guys!

I did pick a very nicely sculpted WW1 Italian artillery officer to pose next to it for scale. In period photos, the top of the wheels are about head high to a soldier. This figure was way too tall - the top of wheels were at shoulder height. Using my 1:35 scale ruler, the figure measured out to 6'3" while the average British soldier in WW1 was 5'5" and the Italians probably the same or shorter. With all of the excellent Great War subjects, it is surprising how few figures are available. Most are in infantry action poses which just don't work with my artillery. If anyone knows of some US artillery figures, please let me know.

17 April 2021, 21:11
Rui S
Very nice and unique work 👍
18 April 2021, 21:28
Dmitry Melnikov
Impressive work and a beautiful model!
19 April 2021, 11:11
Rick Taylor
Thanks guys!
20 April 2021, 01:01


7 images
1:35 Obice da 305/17 De Stefano (Vargas Scale Models R3D-016)

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