A friend at work gave me this kit when I introduced him to this site. He is into 1/6 scale and coincidentally the 1/6 scale forum had been launched the day before. He opened the box and showed me the kit and included details-three sprues and a small collection of metal accessories for the ammunition box and carry handle. I was very interested and gratefully accepted his gift.
The kit consists of 63 plastic parts on three sprues and 6 metal parts, each individually packaged. Overall detail was very nice but with prominent mold seams present. The instructions were basic, consisting of three detail photos of the completed model of the gun with indications of what parts go where, one photo of the completed ammo box, and a close-up of the ammo belt showing painting directions. I am not an expert on the M2 but it seems everything needed is there and the finished product looks like the real thing to me.
I began assembly with the tripod. Each leg was made up of the two upper halves and one lower extension piece that fits inside, and a separate foot assembly. On this sample it took some clamping to ensure enough pressure to get the two upper leg halves to fit snugly, though on one leg there was still a small seam visible. The brace for the two rear legs then goes on, followed by the tension clamp for the right rear leg.
I don't know why this was done, but each leg has a different assembly for the tension clamp. On the right rear leg there is an error on the instructions as it does not indicate which parts to use. The instructions show that parts A29 and A30 are not used but these are the clamp pieces for the right rear leg. The instructions also indicate to use parts B17 for the locking pin for the right rear and front clamps, and this should be parts A17.
Once the legs are completed, the rear legs go into the mounting base which consists of upper and lower halves. This piece did not go together snugly and ended up like the photo in the instructions, which shows a gap between the top and bottom of the two rear center bolts. The top of the plate also had prominent mold seams to clean up. The front leg assembly has locking teeth molded on with a bolt and nut to hold the leg in place.
While I was waiting for the glue to set on the base I assembled the ammo box. The two main halves of the box went together with some fit issues. Both ends of the box were angled slightly out, creating a slight peaked appearance. Once the box is assembled it is easier to finish the assembly by inserting the ammunition block, as this provides needed support for the box structure. The latch end seam did not meet very nicely, which is also visible in the photo in the kit instructions. To assemble the latch to the lid I had to straighten part MA3 and then carefully bend it back into place. When completed the box opens and closes and will latch shut.
I now started the assembly of the actual gun. The bolt/carrier assembly (B17, B18) and the rear sight, (B12) must be placed before the two main halves are glued together. There are ejector pin marks that need careful cleaning. I didn't sand down the bolt parts as on dry fit they slid back and forth easily, but should have. I painted the inside and the bolt assembly and after gluing the receiver halves found that extra pressure was needed as it wouldn't snug down on the seams. The bold still slides inside but is sticky now. B13 (the charging handle base) will have to be fixed to B17 without getting any glue on the receiver to ensure that the parts still move. I then had to sand down the large screw in front of the charging handle assembly in order to get the rest of the handle assembly snugly in place.
The only other issue with the gun assembly was in the barrel, with parts B24 and B7 not fitting snugly. There was a slight offset at the seams. It appeared one piece was slightly larger than the other. The cooling jacket halves, B4 and B5, needed careful cleanup and the fit of the two pieces was not snug against the receiver. The barrel was very nice with only a small seam mold.
The ammo belt is somewhat flexible and under hot water will bend and mold to the desired shape. As my kit will be displayed at work, I left it off of my kit to discourage "touchy fingers" from examining things too closely.
I chose to paint the receiver and cooling jacket before installing the barrel and mounting pin. I then finished construction and painted the entire model. When I went to get the paint there was by chance an armorer from the National Guard at the hobby shop. He had just left an entire room of M2s and based on his evaluation of the available paint selection he recommended Tamiya gunship gray as the closest color to the finish on the guns in his inventory. He also told me the handles were black plastic, not wood as the instructions show, so that is how I finished the kit. I finished it off with a slight brushing of graphite powder and added a few scrape and scuff marks.
The kit is big and was hard to get into a photo, but it does fold up for carry and storage. Overall it is a very nice build with good details. It was nice to see larger details of what I am used to doing in the much smaller scales. I recommend the kit, and the scale, for a nice change of pace.
A Build Log
has also been started on the Forums.