In-Box Review
M109A6 Paladin
M109A6 Paladin SPG
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by: Steven Eldridge [ DRCHOPP ]


The M109A6 is an updated version of the initial M109, first introduced in the 1960s. Its variants have been fielded by the United States in every major conflict since Vietnam giving it a tried and tested combat history as an extremely effective self-propelled gun. It is capable of both indirect and direct fire, acting as non-line-of-sight artillery as well as having direct fire, anti armour capabilities.

The A6 variant (named 'Paladin') saw this veteran vehicle receive upgraded armour, drive train, suspension and main gun mount. Internal systems have also been modernised with the integration of electronic systems for navigation, automation of some aspects of weapon handling. Also installed is a suite of communication systems allowing the vehicle to be connected into the modern battle net.

This is the second re-box of the 1999 Italeri kit with some additional parts added by Tamiya.


Upon opening the box you are greeted with 5 sprues of sand coloured plastic parts, 2 vinyl tracks, a small PE fret, a decal sheet and a sheet of printed MRE boxes. Having not seen the original kits, its hard to say which parts are new and which are Italeri, but sprue F (with the figures and stowage) is labelled ‘Tamiya’ so one could assume this is their contribution.

Sprue A – This contains the wheels, suspension, some hull components and detail parts like tools and jerry cans
Sprue B – Main hull parts, including the tub and top of the hull
Sprue C – Main turret components including gun mount and travel lock
Sprue E – Gun barrel, top hatches, .50 cal machine gun and detailing parts like jerry cans
Sprue F – Crew figures, stowage, details parts such as identification boards, spare tracks, jerry cans and spare road wheels
Sprue W – Small sprue with spare ammo cans, identification boards and more jerry cans

PE Fret – this includes the basket grills and some other detailing parts.
Also included is a sheet of printed MRE boxes.
Decal options are provided for 3 vehicles.


Although Tamiya haven’t tried to cover up this being an Italeri kit (the box has the Italeri logo also) if you were looking purely at the casting quality you could be forgiven in thinking this was a pure Tamiya kit. Details are sharp, while parts count and construction steps are fairly low making this an ideal weekend build.

As expected, there are soft mould lines thorough out this kit, but I must say I was very pleasantly surprised that there is almost no flash, no sink marks and very few injector pin marks.

Two crew figures are provided, and look pretty good for plastic figures. They aren’t as sharp as a resin figure, but they are always a welcome addition. Also provided is a set of stowage contain packs, bedrolls and a large tarp, spare wheels, spare tracks and 9 jerry cans - giving plenty of additional detailing options right out of the box.

The weapons provided include the main 155mm gun and a .50 machine gun for the hatch mount. The main gun barrel comes in 2 parts, while the machine gun is a single piece with a mould line running along the weapon’s length. There are no main gun rounds included, though there are a number of spare ammo cans for the machine gun.

All of the hatches can be displayed open, as can be seen when the vehicle is firing, though with no interior whatsoever, this may not be an option for some.


With very few alternatives for this subject, there aren’t too many options for the modeller looking to do an M109A6. The major competitor to this kit is the AFV club, which is superior in almost every way but which comes at a higher price and more complex build. This kit is perfect for the hobbyist who wants a quick build and is interested in modern SPGs and Artillery.
Highs: Good detail. Very little flash or artefacts. Additional details are a plus.
Lows: Vinyl tracks are not very good.
Verdict: This kit can be highly recommended with compared with other Tamiya/Italeri/Academy reboxes of the same kit as it has additional detailing parts and can be found at the same price as previous releases.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 37026
  PUBLISHED: Jan 30, 2019
  NATIONALITY: United States

About Steven Eldridge (DrChopp)

I'm a 34 year old modeler from Melbourne, Australia. I am focused on armor models, particularly German, WW2 era. I have been modeling for about 20 years and like to always have something on my bench.

Copyright ©2021 text by Steven Eldridge [ DRCHOPP ]. All rights reserved.


There is quite a few significant inaccuracies in the kit caused by the fact that Italeri (and Tamiya) used hull from old early M109 kit... And tracks are wrong type for Paladin. Extra Tamiya sprue comes from their M2A2 ODS Bradley kit.
JAN 30, 2019 - 01:47 AM
Yup, lots of issues w/the old Italeri come Tamiya kit. We discussed them in depth at this recent thread about this kit. Bottom line; get the AFV Club Paladin instead. It is light-years ahead of this one. The extra gear and figures are not worth the hassle.
JAN 30, 2019 - 02:40 AM
Yep, certainly not the most accurate kit, but with this kit going for almost half the price of AFVs and with a much easier build this kit looks great for the casual modeler.
JAN 30, 2019 - 05:08 AM
It depends on what you are looking for. If you want something that looks like an M109A6 Paladin, but is full of inaccuracies (flotation collar and bolts, wrong track, missing panels, soft details, etc., etc...), and has fit issues; get the Italeri/Tamiya kit. If you want a very accurate and extremely detailed M109A6 Paladin model out of the box; get the AFV Club kit. As the old adadge goes, "You get what you pay for."
JAN 30, 2019 - 05:23 AM
Agreed, you certainly do get what you pay for!
JAN 30, 2019 - 05:59 AM
Speaking for myself, I generally stay away from kits that have been re-boxed by other companies, mostly because of prior experience with the original kits. Speaking from experience, I'm not going to shell out good money for a bad kit that I've had the dubious pleasure to build before, just because it's been re-packaged in a pretty, new box... Of course, there ARE exceptions; these being kits which I KNOW FOR CERTAIN, were "winners" in their original form. If any aircraft modelers are reading this post of mine, you'll know what I'm talking about- Great examples are the re-boxings of quite a few of the now defunct ACCURATE MINIATURES kits that have been re-boxed by ACADEMY, ITALERI and TAMIYA. Great examples are the ACCURATE MINIATURES (ALL in 1/48 scale), B-25B, C, D, and G-series kits, the TBF/TBM-1 thru -3 Avenger-series, SBD-1 thru -5 Dauntless-series, the Il.2 Sturmovik-series, Grumman F3F-1 and -2 Biplanes, and their early Allison-Engined P-51/P-51A/A-36A Dive Bomber/F-6A Photo-Recon and RAF Mustang Mk.IA kits. Going back quite a few years ago, we had the ACCURATE SB2C-1 thru -4 Helldiver kits, which MONOGRAM also sold in their "PRO-MODELER" aircraft kit line-up. ACADEMY will be re-marketing a couple of the ACCURATE MINIATURES SBD Dauntless kits for 2019/2020, (I believe an SBD-3 and an SBD-5), along with a first-time-in-a-re-box ACCURATE MINIATURES SB2U-3 "Battle of Midway" Vindicator. This is welcome news for those aircraft modelers who missed out on buying the ACCURATE Vindicators the first time around. A while back, ACCURATE MINIATURES marketed the DML/DRAGON 1/48 Focke-Wulf Fw.190A-8, and a couple of EDUARD P-39/P-400s, PLUS the SPECIAL HOBBY 1/48 F2G Corsair. I have at least 2-3 of EACH of ALL of the aforementioned models in my aircraft collection, EXCEPT for the re-boxed DML/DRAGON Fw.190A-8! THAT ONE was a REAL BATTLE in getting the juncture of the Engine/Gun Cowling/Fuselage portion of this kit to mate-up properly with the Wing Root when I built the original kit, so with that lousy experience behind me, I naturally stayed FAR AWAY from the ACCURATE MINIATURES re-boxing. HASEGAWA's, TAMIYA's and EDUARD's 1/48 Fw.190s are much better, with the LATEST EDUARD Fw.190s being the best of the lot. The earlier boxings of the EDUARD 190s had fit-issues in the Engine/Gun Cowling area, but nowhere near as bad as the old DML/DRAGON kits were. EDUARD has since fixed these vexing issues.. TAMIYA has re-boxed some of the other BETTER ITALERI and HASEGAWA kits in the past with some success, notably ITALERI's 1/48 Arado Ar.196A Float Plane, and their Reggiane Re-2000. TAMIYA also did well with their re-boxing of HASEGAWA's 1/48 Hurricane Mk.I. Likewise, ITALERI has done a couple of the ACCURATE 1/48 SBD Dauntlesses and a couple of HASEGAWA's 1/48 Spitfires, I believe the Mk.VIII and Mk.IX. As for myself, being a fuss-budget, I waited for the 1/48 EDUARD Spitfire Mk.V thru Mk.IX kits, because they were a VAST improvement over the HASEGAWA Spitfires. Shape and dimension issues with the HASEGAWA Spitfires.. Now as to TAMIYA re-boxing ITALERI 1/35 ARMOR, I'm not too crazy about that idea: the ITALERI 1/35 M24 Chaffee was marginal at best- I did an EXTENSIVE conversion of the ITALERI M24, using the now-defunct FORMATIONS M24 Conversion kit, which included a completely new Upper Hull, a new Turret, new Wheels and a myriad of other brand new parts. I used Friul WWII-style Chaffee "Steel" Tracks, a boatload of PE and a bunch of other resin bits and pieces to turn an old mutt-dog of a kit into a contest-worthy specimen. However, I don't go to contests and shows any more, so this particular M24 of mine resides happily in one of my display cases, parked right next to my BRONCO M24, which for me, was a much happier building experience... I think that TAMIYA could have done better for themselves with an M24 that came "home-made" right from their own factory instead of marketing a re-boxing of the old ITALERI kit. Ditto, the ITALERI T17 A/C kits- I remember that the ITALERI T17s came out at just about the same time as BRONCO came out with theirs. I read the reviews, and I weighed the pros and cons of each kit. I bought the BRONCO T17s. TAMIYA's re-boxing of the ITALERI Crusader Mk.III probably met with better success than the M24, but not with me, because I already had the original ITALERI Mk.I and Mk.III Crusader kits in my collection. So that's about it with THIS particular rant of mine. Thanks for reading...
FEB 02, 2019 - 10:45 AM
I would much rather wait and save up the extra few bucks in order to buy a better kit which happens to cost nearly twice as much as a "dog" of the same subject... But that's just me... What Gino and Steven said certainly applies to the different KINDS of modelers out there; there are the people who are satisfied with something that more or less RESEMBLES the particular subject that they are interested in, and then there are the "crazies" such as myself, who will settle for nothing less than a MINIATURE of the REAL THING... And then, you have the people that are in-between the two aforementioned categories... (shrug)
FEB 02, 2019 - 11:14 AM

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