Home > Reviews > USA > Atlantis (Aurora) Kit No. A326 - Self-Propelled M-109 Howitzer

Self-Propelled M-109 Howitzer

Atlantis (Aurora), 1/48 scale

Reviewed by Cookie Sewell


Stock Number and Description Atlantis (Aurora) Kit No. A326 - Self-Propelled M-109 Howitzer
Scale: 1/48 scale
Media and Contents: 110 parts (108 in olive drab styrene, 2 black vinyl).
Price: US$21.99
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: Only kit of this vehicle in this scale available; nicely done with only sins of omission to be seen.
Disadvantages: 60 year old kit with some obvious compromises and errors.
Recommendation: Recommended for Quarter Inch fans as well as nostalgia builders and kids.


For many years Aurora was the best company for offering armor kits to modelers and had the largest selection. Each kit came with 3-6 figures and a lot of options for display – which considering kids were the primary target audience also meant “play value” for most of them. But in 1964 they released their last group of kits with the Swedish S tank, the MBT-70 prototype, and the M109 howitzer.

The 109 was a then new US SP 155mm howitzer replacing the older M41 and M44 series weapons in US Army service. It only carried a few rounds on board for its six-man crew so needed a cargo carrier of some type to follow close behind with the bulk of its ammo supply. In the early 1970s a new variant, the M109A1, was introduced. This used a 39 caliber barrel weapon vice the original 18 caliber one for longer range. (In this case “caliber” refers to a multiplication factor for determining barrel length: 18 calibers x 155mm is 2790 mm or 9 feet 1 inch; 39 calibers x 155mm is 6045 mm or 19 feet 10 inches.)  Aurora added the new barrel in later releases of this kit.

Atlantis now owns the molds and has released a faithful copy of the updated kit. Overall this is a nicely done model for 1964 and until Italeri made its 1/35 scale kit in the later 1970s was the only larger scale one around. For its age it is in good shape and actually has a reasonably good set of vinyl tracks for the kit.

 Aurora fudged the wheels a bit so they would turn on their axles, and the hull is of the later sides/belly/rear plate style rather than the old one piece tub. A driver is provided for the vehicle with a working hatch cover (moot point if he is inserted into the hull!) and some details are attached such as lift rings.

The main gun assembly gives the modeler the option of the 109 18 caliber or 109A 39 caliber barrels. Both come with open muzzles so only need trimming and sanding to complete. The turret is quite basic with a shell, rear plate and base to complete it; the commander’s cupola may be made to rotate and the pop-up hatch is also operable. But this latter feature erroneously shows itself to be a crew hatch; in reality it was a pop-up as the main sight for the weapon had to protrude through the roof to see aiming stakes for indirect fire. The later M109A2 came with an elbow shaped armored cover and ballistic glass plate to leave the sight in place when moving.

The turret rear plate does come with the twin stowage racks and four stowage bins, but the hull rear  is missing the twin flip-down spades needed for firing. In general at least the kit is guilty of omissions and not commissions, so it is easier to correct the errors and add the right bits then when having to cut things away and totally rebuild large sections of the model.

Simple handover markings are provided for a US M109 as well as an attempt at some Bundeswehr markings but they are quite incomplete.



Overall this kit can be made into a nice model and for its age is in good shape. Note that it can be found at some Ollie’s stores for only $12.99.