by: Alan McNeilly [ ]
The 4 inch/50 caliber 102mm Naval gun was the standard low angle Quick Firing (QF) defence weapon of the USN during WW1 and in to the 1920s. The guns were mounted on the Caldwell, Wickes, Clemson and Town class Destroyers and also on the US S Class and some of the Balao class Submarines.
During the conflict in WW2 a number of these obsolete guns were mounted on merchant ships (armed merchantmen) and deployed on coastal defence under the Lend Lease scheme. By 1945 the gun mount seems to have been through about 44 modifications. The very early guns had no side seating s best I can tell and these appear somewhere between mod 4 and 6 but these are not dated.
I am not a Naval Historian so my knowledge of the weapon is limited and neither do I have accurate scale drawing to compare the kit to, therefore this review is very much an ‘in box’ one giving you an overview the parts and instructions.
The kit comes packed in a sturdy box with a bright coloured paper top showing the product and manufacturers details. The parts are cast in a cream coloured resin and come packed in 3 air sealed plastic bags. The parts looked free from any damage or cause for concern.
The instructions are on a 4 page A5 side sheet showing the part numbers and what looks like a fairly logical build sequence. There are 14 build steps to completing the kit. The instructions show just 28 parts to construct the gun therefore this should be a fairly quick build.
The detail on the parts looks very good. You will need a sharp razor saw to remove some of the pour plugs that are quite big and there are a number of small parts such as the handles on the hand wheel and breech assembly you will need to be careful not to loose to the carpet monster. There is some flash to be clean up around the recoil mechanism and the parts in general. The barrel is pre-drilled and the gun shield is nicely detailed.
You will need to drill a small hole on the underside of the seating to fix then to the seat stands and I would recommend inserting a swivel pin between the gun mount and base if you wish the gun to rotate. Also you'll need to choose the angle of the gun barrel when you fit the side bolts to the barrel. There shouldn't be a issue about resetting the angel as the pins were a snug fit and didn't need glued so removal of one will allow you to alter the angle if you are not satisfied with you're first attempt.
Be careful removing part 28 from the pour plug, it has a small locating pin on the end which you could damage on removal and part 22 should have a small locating pin which you may want to add.
The breech isn't designed to open so if you wish to go that route then you'll need to do a fair bit scratch work.
This would appear to be a very acceptable kit. I cannot comment on it’s accuracy but is should make for an interesting build and I was very please to see a manufacturer producing 1/35 scale items in this field.
As a stand alone kit it will make a nice unusual display, or it could be incorporated onto a part deck or as is my intention shown in the Coastal Defence role during WW2.
A small parts count doesn’t diminish the kit, these look to have been fairly straightforward weapons and it will be nice to build something that shouldn’t be too complicated and take forever and a day.
As with any resin kit, it may take a little more patience but the end result should be worth the effort. Annoyingly somewhere between photographing the kit, washing it and bring it to the work bench I misplaced part 13, one of the gun shield supports, so I'll have to make a replacement if it doesn't surface soon or ask CMK if they can supply one.
The kit doesn’t come with any ammunition so you may need to improvise there.
Overall this was a very enjoyable and reasonable straight forward build (apart from mislaying part 13 and breaking off the locating point on part 28). You could easily build this over a couple of evenings or in a day. So if you're looking for something different and fun this one could be a good project. The parts are nicely detailed and clean up well. A few pictures of the built kit so far are attached at the end of the review.
There were 4 guns deployed in Western Australia during WW2. Two at Beacon Battery, Garden Island and two at Geraldton Battery, Geraldton. From a picture I found on the internet the Australian guns would appear to have been mounted without the shield. Garden Island was I believe the home of Australia's Z Force. The gun deck of HMS Campbeltown of Castleton might also offer other build display option.
Normal safety precautions apply when working with resin.