Sd.Kfz.124 Wespe Self Propelled Field Howitzer

Italeri Kit 7061
ESCI Kit 8004
ACE Models Kit 72295

Preview by Stephen Brezinski - SBrez1(at)comcast(dot)net
Edited by Rob Haelterman

Wee Bit of Background & History

Commonly known as the Wespe, this German vehicle mounted the 10.5-cm leFH.18 field howitzer and provided Divisional artillery support. The vehicle was based on the 1942 Pz.II chassis with the engine moved to the center and the gun and crew compartment in the rear. The Wespe served from early 1943 to the war’s end. I found no reports that the Wespe served with any of Germany’s allies. The ESCI kit has been re-released by Italeri.

The boxart for the Italeri 1/72-scale Wespe model kit 7061 shows a photo of the actual competently built and handsomely painted model. From the top we see the open superstructure resembling that used by the Marder Panzerjäger series. On the glacis is a spare roadwheel which is a standard location for the spare wheel on the Pz II. At the rear of the port side visible here is a storage rack that is not typical for the Wespe. From the drape of the track over the wheels and lack of track guide teeth, this appears to be the dreadful stiff polyethylene plastic track common to many old ESCI model kits; note the lack of track sag. One of two crew figures is visible in the driver’s hatch.

Italeri finished the model with a nice 3-color soft edge camouflage. The only markings are some unit emblems at the portside rear. The builder appears to have drilled out the muzzle.

Boxart for ESCI kit 8004 shows an accurate representation of a Wespe in what looks like a cold day, and with a Nebelwerfer barrage launching at the far-left background. At the rear portside corner we see the storage rack made from narrower metal strapping than the model kit represents. The vehicle is finished in what appears to be dark gray with a winter whitewash. Markings are a red vehicle number and a white helmet marking indicating this Wespe is with the Panzergrenadier Division "Großdeutschland” on the Eastern Front.

The boxart for the 1/72-scale ACE Wespe kit 72295 shows the same port side as the above two boxart. The artwork looks accurate and the paint scheme and markings very well done. This is a good view of the wheels and leaf-spring suspension. I am curious if the leaf-springs were actually painted black. Note the engine vents here on the port side under the gun mount.

The rear of the Italeri box shows a color painting guide with 3-view drawings of three different Wespe vehicles. The paint scheme and markings of these three Wespe do not match the vehicle on the front of the Italeri or the ESCI boxes. Since the Wespe was in production from early 1943 we can find it in dark gray, or in panzer yellow and camouflage colors.

Kit Parts
The ESCI/Italeri Wespe kit contains 66 injection-molded styrene plastic parts on two sprue, two stiff polyethylene plastic band track, and one or two crew figures depending on the ESCI or the Italeri release. The ACE Models Wespe model has about 113 injection-molded styrene plastic parts on four sprue, no crew figures, and two soft plastic band tracks. Both model kits will need the muzzles opened up with a drill. Neither kit comes with etched brass or cast resin parts.

Photos of the sprue above and below show the sharp molding of the ESCI/Italeri model kit despite its 20+ year old molds. Note that the driver’s hatch may be modeled open. The leaf spring suspension is molded onto the lower hull sides (parts-3 and 4). Top center are the howitzer carriage parts-75 & 76. Bottom center is one of the two crew figures; the 2nd crew figure is missing from the sprue, so see the sprue photos at Henk of Holland website ( to see the complete sprue. Be aware that the gun rounds (parts 5 thru 18) in the center of the sprue below don’t look to be correct for a 10.5-cm leFH18, as these look more like the 7.5-cm fixed rounds used in the StuK 40 and KwK 40 guns used in the StuG III and Pz IV respectively. The muzzle brake for the ESCI kit howitzer (part 33) may be drilled out to improve detail (no slide molding for this 30-year old kit?).

The ACE Models Wespe model is similar to the ESCI/Italeri parts and how they go together; a main difference is the increased number of parts for the leFH18 howitzer and the suspension being separate parts and not molded onto the hull side. In the sprue photo below, we see the correct size 10.5-cm howitzer shells and cases (parts 70 & 71) at far left. The howitzer muzzle brake is in two parts so we should not have to drill out the muzzle. The ACE Models 10.5-cm leFH18 includes a gunsight (part-52) and more realistic shells and shell cases (parts 70 and 71) that are missing from the ESCI/Italeri model kit.

The ACE Wespe model includes a greater number of interior parts and superior detail shown in the sprue above. The sprue of the ACE kit wheels below is the same as in ACE Panzer II model kits. ACE gives us two choices of idler wheels (parts 18 or 19), and separate right-side and left-side leaf spring bogies (parts 15 & 16). The separate bogies allow to more easily change them to model the roadwheels over irregular ground.

The flexible black plastic band track from the ACE kit eclipses the stiff silver color polyethylene plastic track in my ESCI kit. The ACE track can be joined with super glue and I have read that the track should be painted with primer to curb a bad reaction with the styrene plastic wheels. I recommend the ESCI track be softened in hot water to bend it around the wheels, then use special super glue with a tube of activator to fasten the polyethylene plastic track ends together and to affix the track to the wheels.

To significantly improve either the ESCI or the ACE Wespe of Pz II smallscale model I recommend the aftermarket cast resin tracks and wheels from OKB Grigorov, shown at the top of this photo, or from other aftermarket suppliers. Lower right is the ESCI/Italeri track. (At lower left is the Attack Models Pz II kit styrene band track, wheels and leaf spring bogies for comparison.)


The leFH18 howitzer in the ESCI/Italeri kit appears to be missing one of the two elevation-traverse wheels and is also missing a gun sight part. The incorrect ammunition means that we will have to procure more accurate 10.5-cm ammunition elsewhere, such as the ACE leFH.18 model kits. In the historical photo at lower left this Wespe in firing position appears to be tail heavy.

The ESCI kit can still be found in collections and online stores. The kit includes water-slide decal markings for four Wespe vehicles, including the Großdeutschland Division red-407 vehicle (identified by the white helmet unit marking).

The ACE and the ESCI assembly instructions are in black and white and appear clear and complete and both kits feature parts diagrams. ACE provides decal markings and camouflage instructions for three Wespe identified on the painting and markings guide as serving in France and the Eastern Front.

The ESCI/Italeri model features sharper molding with less flash and fewer sinkholes compared to the ACE model. The ACE Wespe models, which is short-run molding, may have more ill-fitting parts and sinkholes to deal with but with work can build into excellent miniature reproductions. The ACE model has a more accurately detailed howitzer so will require less scratchbuild detailing for a display model. Not having built either of these kits yet I cannot comment on the fit of the parts.

Both models can be converted to a Munitionspanzer by leaving off the gun, adding armor plate over the front superstructure, and adding ammunition. An interesting conversion project is the Wespe-Hummel, a 10.5-cm leFH18 on the late Hummel chassis. Jentz & Doyle state that 10 were built near the war’s end and published one photo of an abandoned Wespe-Hummel on Germany’s Western Front.



  • Scans of the Italeri kit sprue at Henk of Holland website (
  • Wespe, German Self-Propelled Artillery of World War II, by Joachim Engelmann, Schiffer Military History (1992)
  • Panzer Tracts No. 10-1, Artillerie Selbstfahrlafetten from Pz.Sfl.IVb to Hummel-Wespe, by Thomas Jentz & Hilary Doyle (2012)

These models are available at Tracks & Troops

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Article Last Updated:
03 August 2021