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Aurora/Atlantis 1/48 M109 Self Propelled Howitzer

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  • Member since
    July 2011
  • From: Armpit of NY
Aurora/Atlantis 1/48 M109 Self Propelled Howitzer
Posted by MJames70 on Saturday, March 25, 2023 11:04 PM

Managed to complete this kit a few weeks back. Not my greatest build ever, but it was at least entertaining. The kit was first released in the mid '60s by Aurora, one of the few 'modern' pieces in their 1/48 armor lineup. It was reissued by Atlantis last year.

It's an okay, but not great kit. Main drawbacks are a poor .50 cal, which is a prominent feature right on top of the turret, so it catches your eye. And not in a good way...another major 'miss' is the lack of anything close to the recoil spade system on the rear. A prominent feature that Aurora missed somehow. The two versions of the M109 in the kit are seriously outdated compared to the current operating version. The kit goes together well though, and it's unlikely anyone else will ever produce a 1/48 M109, so this is what you have to work with. 

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Saturday, March 25, 2023 11:38 PM

Looks good. I have a pair of them from decades ago. The original version with just the short tube  and vacuformed base and a 70s white box version with the two guns and some external engraving.

These kits were okay back in the 60s and 70s, but I think the Revell 1/40th ones were superior model kits. But I loved them.

  • Member since
    July 2015
Posted by MR TOM SCHRY on Saturday, March 25, 2023 11:56 PM

This turned out great!  I remember building this kit I was a kid along with the other Aurora tank kits.

tjs

TJS

  • Member since
    July 2011
  • From: Armpit of NY
Posted by MJames70 on Sunday, March 26, 2023 12:05 AM

Rob Gronovius

Looks good. I have a pair of them from decades ago. The original version with just the short tube  and vacuformed base and a 70s white box version with the two guns and some external engraving.

These kits were okay back in the 60s and 70s, but I think the Revell 1/40th ones were superior model kits. But I loved them.

 

The Atlantis reissue has the longer barrel for the M109A1 also. The vac bases have probably disappeared into the dustbins of history. I did the best I could with the decals provided. There weren't enough stars, and I doubt the registration numbers were yellow... I chose this earliest version, as there's a nice couple minute clip of this very early version in action on YouTube - 

https://youtu.be/naLdUA7QRNE

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Sunday, March 26, 2023 12:28 AM

Those bases were the best. I remember the towed gun had a fire base for the kit. It was cool. As a kid, I didn't know the difference between an SPG and a tank.

  • Member since
    July 2011
  • From: Armpit of NY
Posted by MJames70 on Sunday, March 26, 2023 11:07 AM

Rob Gronovius

Those bases were the best. I remember the towed gun had a fire base for the kit. It was cool. As a kid, I didn't know the difference between an SPG and a tank.

 


Occasionally you see the square boxes with the bases on places like eBay, but they're pretty scarce now. Most of the times it's just earlier or later boxings without it. The only Aurora kit I still have is a last issue white box, still sealed MBT-70. 

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Sunday, March 26, 2023 11:47 AM

I have several of the MBT70s, most with the base, one in a white box sealed and another is the young model builder club version in the mailer box. It was one of my inspirations to become a tanker.

  • Member since
    July 2015
Posted by MR TOM SCHRY on Sunday, March 26, 2023 12:00 PM

I remember and loved those vacuformed  bases.  I have a few Aurora kits in the stash but unfortunately they're ships and aircraft.  When I was a kid I remember getting the Aurora King Tiger and in the commalender's hatch they had a viewers' scope so if you took the turret off of the hull of the tank and held it up to a light, you'd see an explosion scene!

tjs

TJS

  • Member since
    July 2015
Posted by MR TOM SCHRY on Sunday, March 26, 2023 12:04 PM

As a follow up to my last post I looked on Scalemates and it was called a "photo scope ". I don't know if they included it with any other armor kits other than their King Tiger.

tjs

TJS

  • Member since
    July 2011
  • From: Armpit of NY
Posted by MJames70 on Sunday, March 26, 2023 12:18 PM

MR TOM SCHRY

As a follow up to my last post I looked on Scalemates and it was called a "photo scope ". I don't know if they included it with any other armor kits other than their King Tiger.

tjs

 

There was an issue of the Aurora Skipjack submarine that had the photo scope feature as well; in place of the reactor parts was a sub interior photo. Monogram later reissued the Skipjack kit, but without this 'feature' !

  • Member since
    July 2011
  • From: Armpit of NY
Posted by MJames70 on Sunday, March 26, 2023 12:23 PM

Rob Gronovius

I have several of the MBT70s, most with the base, one in a white box sealed and another is the young model builder club version in the mailer box. It was one of my inspirations to become a tanker.

 

I must be a little bit younger. Aurora had already failed when I started building kits, but you'd still hear people talk about them, or read about it in a hobby magazine. I mostly had to settle for the reboxes Monogram did. But that was only a small part of the Aurora line. I might sit on the MBT-70 for a few more years, but if Atlantis doesn't reissue it, I may well just crack the box and build it. 

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Dripping Springs, TX, USA
Posted by RBaer on Sunday, March 26, 2023 1:53 PM

I must have greased through pretty much every Aurora tank kit, but my fondest memories are of those later 1/48 scale aircraft. And the box art! 

Apprentice rivet counter.

  • Member since
    October 2004
  • From: Orlando, Florida
Posted by ikar01 on Sunday, March 26, 2023 1:58 PM

I remember building the Stalin, mobile ammo tank thing, and a couple others, but the bestone was the M-4.

Don't worry about not being able to tell the difference between a tank and a self propelled gun, the news media, for the most part can't tell the difference between a hummer and a tank.

  • Member since
    July 2011
  • From: Armpit of NY
Posted by MJames70 on Sunday, March 26, 2023 2:13 PM

ikar01

I remember building the Stalin, mobile ammo tank thing, and a couple others, but the bestone was the M-4.

Don't worry about not being able to tell the difference between a tank and a self propelled gun, the news media, for the most part can't tell the difference between a hummer and a tank.

 

The Aurora 1:48 M4 Sherman was re-released by Atlantis, but only in a three kit gift set, with the Aurora 1:48 HUP-2 helicopter and Revell PT Boat. 

  • Member since
    November 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Sunday, March 26, 2023 2:57 PM

Rob Gronovius
I think the Revell 1/40th ones were superior model kits.

Ok, memory is a fickle & fuzzy thing, but weren't those Revell kits reboxes of the Peerless/Lifelike kits?  Which were in a range with a number of similar stuff, like the 120mm AA cannon, and some of the early missiles, like the Hawk, & the truck-mounted Honest John.

I have this memory of the kit figures not being quite to the level of the green vinyl "army men" too.

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Northern California
Posted by jeaton01 on Sunday, March 26, 2023 3:36 PM

I have the Aurora kit in the stash.  Since I know nothing about armor perhaps I should build it.  Yours is very nice.

John

To see build logs for my models:  http://goldeneramodel.com/mymodels/mymodels.html

 

  • Member since
    October 2004
  • From: Orlando, Florida
Posted by ikar01 on Sunday, March 26, 2023 4:21 PM

There were a few missile kits around when I was about 10.  One I liked had the dart anti tank missile along with a couple others.  They might have been put out by Hawk.  

There was also the Nike series, Bomarc, a Sky Sweeper anti aircraft gun, and others.  When I was stationed in Maine, sometimes I would drive by an old Bomarc battery and could stop and look around the site.  The missiles were stored underground on their launch racks under shielded metal doors and wqhen erady, the doors opened and the launchers were brought up for firing.  They had a couple bays opened and were flooded with crystal clear ice water.  It must have been some experience because the site was mostly underground, very close to the missiles.  The guards were only about 50 feet or so from the launchers.

  • Member since
    July 2011
  • From: Armpit of NY
Posted by MJames70 on Sunday, March 26, 2023 6:00 PM

Revell did most of its own work on the 1/40 kits. Armor modelers had it pretty rough out there until the 1970s, with the mishmash of scales and generally poor kits that were available prior to then. 

  • Member since
    December 2022
  • From: Canada
Posted by Tcoat on Sunday, March 26, 2023 7:37 PM

How about these two dusty old suvivours of the Great BB Gun War of 1971?

How no clue how they made it but they were found in my parents attic several years ago along with about 75% of a second issue Aurora Focke Wulf. They are currently on a shelf in the basement awaiting clean up and return to service in their original configuration. I did have the Tiger, Patton and Stalin as well but they all persihed in a hail of low velosity lead and cherry bomb. 

 

  • Member since
    July 2011
  • From: Armpit of NY
Posted by MJames70 on Sunday, March 26, 2023 8:27 PM

Nice that you still have the kits. I don't have anything left from my childhood. The Centurion was rather dodgy, but the S-Tank was a decent kit, and one of the few modern releases in the Aurora armor lineup. Although, it was a prototype modeled by Aurora, not the production vehicle. The kit lacks some significant things from the production S-Tank, like the flotation system. I'd like to see Atlantis reissue it, though, along with some of the other kits like the Churchill.  

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Sunday, March 26, 2023 9:13 PM

CapnMac82

 Rob Gronovius

I think the Revell 1/40th ones were superior model kits.

Ok, memory is a fickle & fuzzy thing, but weren't those Revell kits reboxes of the Peerless/Lifelike kits?  Which were in a range with a number of similar stuff, like the 120mm AA cannon, and some of the early missiles, like the Hawk, & the truck-mounted Honest John.

I have this memory of the kit figures not being quite to the level of the green vinyl "army men" too.

You have it backwards, Revell released their line of 1/40th armor that was designed by Adams. When Revell decided to stop producing ground military model kits, Adams took the kits he designed and started his own company Snap Adams.

When his company went under, Life-Like took over the molds and Revell got some back as well.

Peerless Max was a different animal. They did 1/35 scale kits that eventually became part of the Testors/Italeri armor kits.

Yeah, the hard plastic army men were very lame, but they are around 60+ years old.

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Sunday, March 26, 2023 9:24 PM

Tcoat

How about these two dusty old suvivours of the Great BB Gun War of 1971?

How no clue how they made it but they were found in my parents attic several years ago along with about 75% of a second issue Aurora Focke Wulf. They are currently on a shelf in the basement awaiting clean up and return to service in their original configuration. I did have the Tiger, Patton and Stalin as well but they all persihed in a hail of low velosity lead and cherry bomb. 

 

 

Nice, I only bought the US tank kits as a kid; the M109, MBT70 and the M46 Patton. Later, I got the Long Tom and much later found a bagged kit of the Panther. The only Monogram reissue of the old Aurora line I have is the one that includes the Monogram Fw-190 and the M4A3E8 Sherman tank. They also released the Panther with the P-51 Mustang too.

As a kid, I remember being confused that the MBT70 came with US and German markings. I remember thinking it must be a captured US tank!

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Sunday, March 26, 2023 9:42 PM

MJames70
Rob Gronovius

I have several of the MBT70s, most with the base, one in a white box sealed and another is the young model builder club version in the mailer box. It was one of my inspirations to become a tanker.

 

I must be a little bit younger. Aurora had already failed when I started building kits, but you'd still hear people talk about them, or read about it in a hobby magazine. I mostly had to settle for the reboxes Monogram did. But that was only a small part of the Aurora line. I might sit on the MBT-70 for a few more years, but if Atlantis doesn't reissue it, I may well just crack the box and build it. 

 

I turned 59 a month ago.

When I was a kid, Aurora's monster, super heroes and prehistoric scenes kits were all the rage. Most of their armor kits were clearance items and their aircraft kits were being made in psychodelic colors.

  • Member since
    November 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Monday, March 27, 2023 12:38 PM

Rob Gronovius
You have it backwards

Such is life, isn't it?

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Tuesday, March 28, 2023 4:36 PM

Wow,nice job on an old classic

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: NYC, USA
Posted by waikong on Tuesday, March 28, 2023 8:43 PM

I have been debating if I should get the ChiHa. Or wait for a modern kit in 1/48, or go for one of those 3d printed things that are costly.

My website: http://waihobbies.wkhc.net

   

  • Member since
    July 2011
  • From: Armpit of NY
Posted by MJames70 on Tuesday, March 28, 2023 9:12 PM

The Type 97 kit was one of the better kits of the Aurora lineup. Some of the shapes aren't quite right, but it gives the right impression. The figures are trash, though. It could be a long wait, if ever, before you see another option in plastic. They're cheap enough, so why not?

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Wednesday, March 29, 2023 7:22 PM

Wow, now that's a cool blast from the past! 

Thanks for posting her! Always nice to see a well-done vintage kit! 

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    July 2011
  • From: Armpit of NY
Posted by MJames70 on Wednesday, March 29, 2023 8:49 PM

Gamera

Wow, now that's a cool blast from the past! 

Thanks for posting her! Always nice to see a well-done vintage kit! 

 

Thanks. I like the occasional nostalgia build, or in this case, a kit I had heard about but didn't get to build when I was starting out modeling. When I was beginning, Aurora had been out of business for a few years already, and at the time, Monogram only reissued a small number of their molds they had acquired. And often, only once. So I had to wait around forty years to finally build one of these! 

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