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First Look Review
M-7 Priest
Self-propelled Gun M7B1
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

Distributor: Herpa Models
Collection: Minitanks
Label: U.S. Army
Series: Chain (tracked [sic]) Crafts

Herpa / Roco MiniTanks US & Allies WWII - Armored Vehicles
Minitanks' extensive selection of HO (1/87) military vehicles includes the U.S. Army M-7 Priest self-propelled 105mm howitzer. Roco made dozens of WWII tanks, halftracks, guns, howitzers, softskins, troops, and accessories.

105 mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M7...
...was an American self-propelled artillery vehicle produced during World War II. It was given the official service name 105mm Self Propelled Gun, Priest by the British Army, due to the pulpit-like machine gun ring, and following on from the Bishop and the contemporary Deacon self-propelled guns. It carried the 105mm M1/M2 Howitzer.

A total of 3,490 M7s were built and they proved to be reliable weapons, continuing to see service in the U.S. and allied armies well past World War II.

The first M7s produced were modified M3 Lee medium tanks. The M7 also went through a fairly rapid shift from being based on the M3, to having more commonality with the M4 Sherman. The first major example was an adoption of the M4's three piece housing, single piece casting and suspension. In British service, some M7s carried a radio set, which took the place of 24 rounds of ammunition.

The M7B1 was fully based on the M4A3 Sherman chassis. It was standardized in September 1943, and declared substitute standard in January 1945.

M7B2 During the Korean War, the limited elevation of the howitzer became noticeably problematic and it was increased to 65 to increase the effective range of the howitzer. The machine gun mount also had to be raised to give a 360 firing arc.

Self-propelled Gun M7B1
The model is securely packaged in a form-fitted plastic tray retained in Herpa's ocher carton; when released by Roco it was packed in Roco's traditional orange and blue bubble pack with text in English and German, and a brief history is on the back.

The Priest is assembled and has an optional .50 caliber AA gun and side skirts. The molding is sharp and without sinkholes, with minor flash amongst the running gear. The models are snap-tight, and the front of the lower hull has the tab and slots holding the two pieces together. These will be easy to fill and sand.

Roco usually did not put much emphasis on track detail but these are pretty good.

Interior detail consists of seats, floor decking, and ammo boxes. Exterior detail is molded on.

The 105mm M1/M2 howitzer is nicely detailed and appears to be the same model as towed model (Roco item no. 183, Roco / Herpa item no. 741835). It does suffer from seam lines.

Color and Markings
Minitanks are usually molded in a dark olive, as is this one. This model is marked as a Bundeswehr Panzerhaubitzen.

Minitanks are good HO scale models and this M-7 is one of the later models. It looks like a Priest. Recommended.

Minitanks may not universally be considered models, but are widely used amongst model railroaders, war gamers, and even the military for sand table planning. The track detail was the greatest drawback of these models though these later offerings improved the running gear. For decades Minitanks have become more sophisticated with many add-on parts, and a series of super-detail sets. The fidelity of parts on some of the vehicles is incredible.

Minitanks--Roco or Herpa?
Austrian model railroad giant Roco debuted Minitanks in the early 1960s. Minitanks is known for detailing, scale and precision in the model building world ever since. Roco was forced into reorganization recently and Minitanks is now distributed by Herpa. For name recognition I refer to the series simply as Minitanks. Herpa's website states, On October 1, 2007, Herpa has taken on the worldwide distribution of the military series Minitanks. In cooperation with the Modelleisenbahn GmbH (Roco), the line will be continuously advanced and extended.


Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: Good detail.
Lows: Molded detail, seam lines.
Verdict: Detailed model of the primary U.S. self-propelled artillery system of World War II.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:87
  Mfg. ID: 740838 (Roco 742)
  Suggested Retail: $20.50, 11
  Related Link: Minitanks The Herpa Military Series
  PUBLISHED: Jun 05, 2011
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Herpa!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright 2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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