by: Jon Arnold [ ]
Originally published on:
The M752 LANCE Missile Launcher was principally used by the U.S. Army, Britain, (50th Missile Regiment Royal Artillery), Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, and West Germany between 1972 and 1992 & was replaced by the M270 Multiple Launch Missile System thereafter in US, UK & German service.
Jochen Vollert of Tankograd Publishing https://www.tankograd.com/cms/website.php?id=/en/index/publikationen.htm
Assures me that the following two books are of interest, with 14 and 17 pages of LANCE content respectively.
Nr. 5029 Modern German Army Rocket Artillery, HONEST JOHN - SERGEANT - LANCE - LARS 1 https://www.tankograd.com/cms/website.php?id=/en/Raketenartillerie-der-Bundeswehr.htm
Nr. 9018 British Nuclear Artillery, Corporal, Blue Water, Honest John, Tube Artillery, Lance 1957-93 https://www.tankograd.com/cms/website.php?id=/en/British-Nuclear-Artillery.htm
The box has a sturdy base, with the flimsier top carrying some evocative box art by Volstad, set in a snowy German style pine forest clearing. On the box side, there is a 3 view colour rendition covering one of the US camouflage schemes in the instructions, as well as several CAD views of the kit. Also on the box are QR codes, to scan with your phone and be transported to the wilds of the Internet for a built example, reviews & more info. A nice marketing idea, had it worked on the date of writing.
The painting & decal part of the instructions could do with being enlarged, but younger eyes may cope better than mine with the blue tints for the camo, 3 winter/summer/plain examples given. The colour views on the box & sides will be necessary for the winter scheme.
The Cartograf waterslide decals are excellent, but cover US launch vehicles only, with a generic set of letters/numbers to make your own registration. References will be needed to mark up a specific vehicle. The missile itself is covered with a comprehensive set of markings, pun intended.
Colour refs are for GSI Aqueous Hobby Colour and Mr Colour, as well as Model Master Colour ranges, translation will be required for other brands. I donít use these brands so wonít comment of their accuracy for the schemes listed, but note that the vehicle base colour would need mixing 70/30 with Dark Green & GreenÖ
Not being a builder of post-war kits, I presume the colours are MERDC, and several paint mfrs. supply matched colour sets. Vallejo has MERDC Camouflage Colours Ref. 71.202, which will help me with the paint name translations at least.
71.137 US Light Green
71.138 US Sand
71.139 US Field Drab
71.279 Insignia White
71.289 US Dark Green
71.294 US Forest Green
70.522 Satin Varnish
Tamiya have XF-67 NATO Green, XF-68 NATO Brown, and XF-69 Nato Black & as ever other brands are available.
The box contains a large double-sided instruction sheet, some 350 parts on 9 grey sprues, 2 soft black rubber-like sprues for the track shoes, 1 clear sprue for the cab windows, 1 small photo-etch, vinyl tube, cable/wire (missing from mine), separately zip-bagged as appropriate. According to Dragon, this is a 100% new moulding. As a bonus you get a generic Sprue J, included just for the spade, pick-axe head & handle. Useful for spares are the tools, a radio, & two slide-moulded .30 and one .50 calibre machine guns.
The sprues are clean and very crisply moulded. Unidentified unused parts are B-3, (a pedestal/riser?) on the M752 specific sprue B. Also not mentioned in the instructions are B-2 & B-4, wing mirrors, refs will be needed for their placement. In British Royal Artillery, these werenít always fitted in firing mode. Parts I-86, representing the stabilization rocket outlets in step 16 are in the instructions, they look like nuts & bolts & are on sprue I, behind the label. Parts missing are the Exhaust, which should under the nice PE part MA-9, step 11, with no locating point on part B-13 either.
The engine intake & exhaust screens could have been enhanced with PE screens on part B-13, but this isnít a deal breaker. The kit as boxed appears to have been based on an incomplete museum example, with an M240 Trainer warhead, which used the smaller M30 fins. I would have hoped that any museum example would have only the non-big-bang warhead fitted by the way. This may be the reason parts D-35/D-36 Control Surface Containers are too small for the supplied part I-3 Control Surface Fins. Whichever of the Control Surface M29 or M30 fins are intended, the parts as in the box wouldnít fit in the Control Surface Containers. The I-3 Control Surface fins, in scale, should measure 4.49cm long and 1.4cm tall at the tallest point, (info: Chris Fish). In the kit, they are 4.41cm long & 1.20cm tall. I donít yet know how this measures up to M30 fins.
Parts D-35/D-36 Control Surface Containers are too small. The real ones were 6 x 28 x 56 or 68 inches. (Info: Chris Fish) In 1/35th, I calculate this at:
4.35mm x 20.32mm x 40.64mm or 49.34mm.
The kit parts are: (depth not measured) x 14.97mm x 32.26mm. Thatís out by 5.38mm & 8.38mm respectively.
Continuing with the missile, as out of the box, I think the training missile is more closely represented. Scribing an access door on the missile warhead, may help represent a missile with an M234 warhead. The larger M29 control surfaces would need modifying or scratch building. Others note that the kit is missing Cradle Frame, GSU and MP units, I have no idea what the GSU & MP Units are, but will do some research, something I will continue in the blog to follow.
It looks like an M752 & LANCE missile & I look forward to building it. Any thoughts as to that I reserve for part 2, the blog. Not being familiar with this system, I will also be hitting the bookstands at the next few shows, there are some Tankograd books listed that cover missile launchers, but I donít yet know which will be the most appropriate. I will include some online refs in a blog. Iíve yet to build a Dragon kit, this Century anyway, a blog will follow, which I am looking forward to.
Darren Baker has supplied some images of a Royal Artillery example; unfortunately it is not in good condition.