Author Topic: Roden 1/35th scale Holt 75 Artillery Tractor  (Read 2364 times)

Online Dave W

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Roden 1/35th scale Holt 75 Artillery Tractor
« on: July 12, 2018, 06:00:29 PM »
   Holt 75 Artillery Tractor



REVIEWED BY David Wilson

Scale: 1/35th

Item #: 812

Price: $A56.99 in Australia. ($US 60.85; £45.83 via Hannants UK)

Stockist:   Available through the Roden website store http://rodenkits.com/ or through quality hobby retailers worldwide.

Contents:   Injection plastic parts; two decal options.

Comment:

Until Wingnut Wings burst upon  the WW1 modelling scene in 2009, Roden dominated the field for large scale WW1 aircraft subjects. However the rise of Wingnuts saw the Ukrainian- based Roden largely withdraw from the field.

This is sad as Rodenís WW1 catalogue was and still is significant, notably in its 1/72 and 1/48th ranges and its 1/32 scale kits of which some are still the only game in town ( Siemens Schuckert D.III for example).

Many have wondered where Roden may go now with WW1 subjects or if they would abandon the era altogether. Happily Roden seems to have carved out a significant new niche Ė WW1 vehicles and artillery and they are to be congratulated for doing so.

Proof of this is contained in their latest release, a 1/35th scale Holt 75 Artillery Tractor. Until now this impressive looking beast was only available through a nice ( but expensive) resin kit. Rodenís Holt is the first injection moulded plastic model of the WW1 tractor in large scale and itís a very welcome release.

Like many weapons of war its origins lay in a peacetime vehicle adapted for military use.


Holt tractor hauling a 9.2inch howitzer during the Battle of the Somme 1916. Imperial War Museum photo

Soon after the turn of the century, American inventor Benjamin Holt built an agricultural machine with a gasoline internal combustion engine and a chassis running on crawler tracks, which proved to be a very successful design, and was used not only in the United States, but also in England and France, as well as in some other countries.
 
The Holt vehicle was classified as a "tractor" and was named the Holt 75. Even before the start of the First World War, these machines were used extensively in agriculture.

Then came the war and large-scale hostilities involving heavy artillery that could not be easily moved by horse transport. ln early 1915, the British Army realised that horses were no longer an efficient method to move big guns, so it was decided to limit horse drawn transport to light artillery, and to procure tractors, already in pre-war agricultural use.

Tests showed the Holt 75 easily towed not only the 6-inch but also the bigger guns, so it was decided to acquire them for the Royal Artillery Corps. The tractor could only tow a gun at 2 miles per hour, but even this performance outweighed the significant losses of military animals due to their exhaustion in hauling the guns, especially in rough terrain conditions.


The Somme 1916. Imperial War Museum photo.

France also adopted tractors to haul artillery ordering about 800 in 1916. After the United States' entry into the First World War in 1918, the American Expeditionary Force in Europe also used tractors of this type. In total about 2000 Holt tractors were used by the allies.

Rodenís model:

Few would have thought we would ever get a large scale Holt tractor in plastic from a mainstream company but Roden have delivered a model in a large top-opening box with distinctive box art showing a Holt parked near an artillery battery.




The parts are attached to 12 sprues in a softish medium grey plastic plus a very small decal sheet covering two marking options Ė one American and one British.



(Images copyright Roden)

The kit has met a mixed reaction at various online forums, with some complaints re sink marks in the roof, soft details etc. I paid particular attention to these criticisms and can report the kit received for review has none of these flaws.



Itís not Wingnuts or Tamiya level but having made several Roden models and just completed their 1/32 Fokker F.1 kit, they do require a modellerís full attention but reward the careful builder. If you are careful they can make into very nice models.

The Holt kit is certainly not, as one person described it, of a quality comparable with the 1960s. Many kits of the 1960s were at toy quality level with soft or no detail and this kit is far better than that. But every modeller will have their own take on a new release. Personally Iím quite pleased with what Roden have given us.






Moulding detail and quality is quite acceptable but parts on the sprue donít automatically guarantee a trouble-free build. Roden instructions can be annoyingly vague as to where parts go, and Roden themselves invite modellers to download corrected Holt instructions from their website due to some errors in early printed instruction sheets.



That said, the instructions are clear and the exploded view style gives a pretty good idea of where parts go. Colours are keyed to Vallejo paints but thereís not much information given on detail colours which is annoying.

Markings:




The small decal sheet offers basic markings for a Holt 75 of an unknown US artillery unit in 1918 and an unidentified British unit in 1917.

Summary:

Not aĒshake Ďn bakeĒ kit but a very worthwhile addition to any WW1 collection. We canít wait for a companion artillery piece to accompany it. Enormous diorama potential.

Verdict:

Highly Recommended.

(Review sample kindly supplied by Roden. Please support the businesses that support this Forum.)

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