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Browning M2 .50 cal

wing mounted machine guns
(electric release)

 

1/48 scale

 

Aires

 

S u m m a r y
Catalogue Number and Description Aires Hobby Models 4249 - Browning M2 .50 cal wing mounted machine guns (electric release)
Price: USD$21.46 online from Squadron
Scale: 1/32
Contents and Media: See text below
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Superb detail and casting; photo-etched parts supplied; clearly illustrated instructions
Disadvantages: "Rubber band" feeds?
Recommendation: Recommended

 

Reviewed by Rodger Kelly


Aires 1/48 scale Browning M2 .50 cal machine guns is available online from Squadron.com

 

FirstLook


4249 is yet another recent release from Aires Hobby Models (in their Masters Series) that deals with 50 calibre wing mounted machine guns.

This time, the kit is of the electrical release version. 4249 varies little from their previously released 4241 kit, in fact the only differences are a slightly different photo-etch fret and the inclusion of tiny electrically driven motors that fed the ammunition to the guns.

The kit consists of resin, vinyl and photo-etch metal parts. The ammunition feeds themselves are listed as "resin parts" but they look suspiciously like vinyl to me and reminiscent the "rubber band" type tank tracks found in early Airfix kits.

The kit is engineered so that you can build the guns with either the breech covers open or closed.

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


The kit itself comprises 28 resin parts and 12 photo-etched metal ones. The resin parts comprise:

  • 12 50 cal gun barrels. There are two sprues of six different guns with different flash suppressors on their muzzles, a pair of each type.

  • Electric drive motors.

  • The bodies of the 50 cal guns with the breeches cast in the open position.

  • The breech covers.

  • The ammunition feeds. (See my comments above regarding these).

The photo-etch parts comprise:

  • Catch mechanisms for the feed covers.

  • Heater mechanisms. The heaters were attached to the guns to prevent them freezing at high altitude

The resin parts are a mixture of the light cream coloured resin that we a used to seeing from Aires as well as light grey coloured resin which looks the same as the resin used by Cutting Edge. The casting of the resin parts is well up to the very high standards that we are used to seeing from Aires. Whilst the details are crisp and sharp on all of the resin parts, the casting on the barrels is worthy of extra mention. The cooling holes are all there and of even depth. The guns are cast with hollow ends to simulate the barrel; again, all are of even depth and thickness.

The metal of the photo-etch fret is soft, making the pieces easy to work and to remove from the fret. This is important as you can cut the parts straight from the fret with a sharp pair of scissors and not leave a burr that is almost impossible to remove without damaging the part itself.

A small instruction sheet is included. It is simple, and shows clear black and white exploded-view illustrations to assist you in assembly of the parts. The sheet also has a 'parts map' to assist you in identifying each part. What it lacks though are painting instructions - none are included at all.

The kit comes packed in the standard small kit packaging used by Aires and it very well packed indeed! The resin parts sit in a vac formed tray which in turn sits on top of a thick cardboard header onto which the photo etch fret and instructions are also placed. A further vac formed clear plastic cover is then slid over both the tray and the header and it both traps and displays the resin and photo-etch parts. Staples are then punched through the header card and the plastic cover to fasten them together. Great packaging indeed and it will ensure that the kit arrives in your hand with all the parts intact.

One thing that does puzzle me though is why Aires has produced the kit with four guns to a set as opposed to six. Most of the models that these will be placed into carried six guns, three to a wing which means that you will have to buy two of these kits if you plan on opening both gun bays. However, if you only plan on opening one gun bay, and providing the length of the barrel in the aircraft you are modelling requires a short barrel (remember that the barrels are all different) you will have a spare breech to add to the parts bin.

A downside? Yes, the price. Squadron lists the Aires 4241 kit (which is essentially the same as this kit) at USD$21.46. Not cheap!

Recommended.

Thanks to Aires for the review sample


Text and Images Copyright 2005 by Rodger Kelly
Page Created 03 May, 2005
Last updated 13 July, 2005

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