Deport 75mm Gun

Kit #: 8242 Review by - Al Magnus

The Cannoni da 75 mod. 1911 Déport was designed by French Colonel Joseph Albert Déport, who had also participated in the design of the famous "75". It was the first gun to employ a split trail, something that is pretty much universal on guns nowadays. It also used a split, or double recoil cradle, a feature that has not endured the test of time. Some 600 guns were manufactured in Italy between the years of 1911 and 1914. It was used all through the Great War, later in the Spanish Civil War and finally during WW2.

This kit is squarely aimed at the war gaming crowd. Inside the box you get 4 copies of the same sprue, each with a mere 7 pieces. The plastic is hard styrene and my copy was molded in a light greenish colour. In my opinion, the hard styrene is a huge step up from the soft plastic found in most other HäT kits. No decals are included and instructions are an exploded diagram printed on the rear of the box. There is no painting guide. I found the instructions adequate except when it came time to add the sights, where the part on the sprue didn't look much like the diagram, so it was guesswork on my part as to how it should be orientated. The parts are a mix of good and bad. The wooden spoked wheels, gun and shield are reasonably nice, while the sights and carriage are not quite as well done. The worst part by far is the brake assembly.

For the more serious modeller, basic construction work, as well as some extra detailing and parts replacement is a must. Seams on the parts are prevalent and need to be removed. There's also a kind of rough texture to many of the part surfaces that needs to be sanded or scraped off. I'll not get into the construction end of things. With only 7 parts that would pointless. Instead I'll concentrate on how to improve the kit, based on the pictures found at the Lanships site (see reference [1] below).

  • Wheels: These are reasonably good and can be used straight from the box. The only part of them I really didn't like is the indistinct hub bolts. Some scraping of the spokes and the inside surface of the rim is needed to remove prominent seams.

  • Carriage: Most of the surfaces have a rough texture which I removed by scraping and sanding the sides of the trails and the cradle. I squared up the cradle with some copious scraping and sanding and removed the small lump at the fore end. The axles need to be thinned. I also filled the hole in the left trail where the sights are to mount. The photos on Landships do not show the sights mounted here, but instead on the side of the cradle. I fashioned a new mount bent from some plastic rod. I also shaved off the kit's barrel lock and replaced it with a scratch built one made from plastic rod. The two blocks at the end of the trail had holes drilled in them as per my reference, and each trail received a L-shaped handle made from some bent wire. The tow ring was also drilled out.

  • Gun: The barrel was drilled out and a hole driled into the end of the breech. The squarish protuberance on top (supposedly it's part of the recoil mechanism) had the seams removed and the rough texture on the insides of the protruberance were sanded off. A small handle was added to the elevation wheel. I added some Archer rivets along the flat edges.

  • Brake assembly: This, along with the shield, required the most time during construction. I tossed out the kit assembly and rebuilt a new one from plastic rod and sheet. The small hand crank, which is just a featureless blob on the kit part, was replicated with one shaved from an Italeri PaK36, though the PaK36 wheel has 4 spokes while the actual Déport wheel has six. I can live with the small discrepency.

  • Shield: The general shape of this is not bad. First on the slate were the modifications to the front. There is a large ejector mark on its face that requires filling. The small shelf like structure on the front, which is apparently a seating position for one of the gun crew, needs to be modified. The small triangular side close to the opening was removed and replaced with a new item cut from plastic sheet. The new part needs to extend from the face of the shield and then swing around to touch the fender. Nine holes were drilled into the seat base. There should be 15 but I didn't think I'd be able to drill all 15 of them in the small space available. I'm not sure if there should be a small cushion added here as well since none of the photographs I could find showed one. If it turns out I do need a seat cushion, it will be an easy fix to make one and drop it in place. The fender needs a small lip added along the top as well. The last item was a small grab handle fashioned from thin wire and added to the fender.

    The rear side of the shield needed four thin triangular braces. These were cut from plastic sheet and glued in place. A small sliding panel was added to the gun sight aperture. Reference pictures showed rivets on the face of the shield following the lines of the braces. These were added with strips of Archer rivets.

The only guide to painting is the colour art work on the box top. There's no indication anywhere as to what that colour is, so it's just guesswork on the part of the modeller. My queries on the missing-lynx Braille forum were answered by fellow modeller John Kelley, who indicated that the camouflage should be a 'pea green'. My choice for pea green was Testors Russian Armor Green (2129) and I used Testors SAC Bomber Green (1793) for fading. Thee wheels are a wood brown with flat black used on the spokes and wheel rims to represent the metal bands and braces.

It's nice to see HäT using hard plastic for their kits, giving the modeller a medium that's light years ahead of the more usual soft plastic. The Deport gun, though somewhat rough around the edges, does provide an acceptable start towards a more detailed static model. If one is to assume that this kit is representative of HäT's other current hard plastic releases, then there's a few more interesting World War One guns from this company that will be worth investigating.

Review sample purchased by the author.

[1] Landships (walkaround)
[2] dishmodels.ru (walkaround)

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Article Last Updated: 14 September 2012

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