The SA80 (Small Arms for the 1980s) is a British family of 5.56mm small arms. The SA80 family is built in a bullpup layout, with a forward-mounted pistol grip. The main advantage of this type of arrangement is the overall compactness of the weapon, which can be achieved without compromising the barrel length, hence the overall length of the L85 rifle is shorter than a carbine, but the barrel length is that of an assault rifle. The SA80 weapon family originally consisted of the L85A1 IW (Individual Weapon) and the L86A1 LSW (Light Support Weapon), which were accepted into service with the British Army in 1985.
Original SA80 weapons (both L85A1 and L86A1) were plagued with many problems, some being very serious. In general, L85A1 was quite unreliable and troublesome to handle and maintain, so, finally, in the 1997, after years of constant complaints from the troops, it had been decided to upgrade most L85A1 rifles in service.
Live Resin recently released number of different L85 variants in 1/35 scale. This review covers the set depicting the weapon in its initial form: L85A1 SA80 Assault Rifle with iron sight and SUSAT scope (LRE-35208). For reviews of other L85 variants from Live Resin on Armorama, please click this link
The L85A1 weapon set comes packed in a zip-lock bag safely secured between a firm cardboard backing (9X10cm). The box art on the front shows the contents of the set, while the one on the back displays the weapon in more detail. The kit consists of six L85A1s and twelve ammo magazines supplied separately. The grey resin looks really good and is cast perfectly with all the delicate weapon details impressively delivered in scale.
The set depicts L85A1 assault rifle with two slightly different weapon versions included: three L85A1s feature fixed iron sights, consisting of a flip rear aperture housed inside the detachable carrying handle and a forward post vertical blade foresight installed on a bracket above the gas block, while the other three L85A1s are equipped with a SUSAT (Sight Unit Small Arms, Trilux) optical sight. SUSAT is attached to the rifle via QD Weaver Mount and features a set of back-up iron sights that consist of a front blade and small rear aperture. The weapon’s receiver is made from stamped sheet steel, reinforced with welded and riveted machined steel inserts. Synthetics were used for the handguard, pistol grip, buttpad and check rest. The ejection port and cocking handle are on the right side of the receiver (the L85A1 is not an ambidextrous weapon), while the fire mode selector is located at the left side of the receiver, well behind the magazine. A separate safety button is located above the trigger. The L85A1 sports a barrel with a slotted flash suppressor, which also serves as a mounting base for attaching rifle grenades or a bayonet. I carefully inspected the L85A1s in this kit and found all of the aforementioned weapon features clearly identifiable and perfectly rendered with the level of details absolutely amazing for a 1/35 scale kit. As most of you already know, Live Resin develops their sets using CAD software and high-resolution 3D rapid prototyping, making these weapons perfectly authentic reproductions of the real L85A1.
The L85A1 is chambered for the standard NATO 5.56x45mm round, with the weapon fed from a STANAG magazine, usually with a 30-round capacity. This set includes L85A1s cast without their ammo magazines and a selection of 12 magazines supplied as separate pieces. The selection includes 30-round STANAG magazine (6x), 30-round STANAG magazine with Magpul (6x). The magazines are easy to remove from their carrier block and can be easily fitted into a tiny opening in the L85A1 lower receiver assembly.
L85A1 SA80 Assault Rifle with iron sight and SUSAT scope set (LRE-35208) includes 6 L85A1s in two slightly different sighting configurations, with 12 ammo magazines supplied separately. The rifles are perfectly cast in resin with accurate and extremely well defined details, and provide the best 1/35 scale L85A1 option on the market today.