The SA80 (Small Arms for the 1980s) is a British family of 5.56mm small arms. 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.
The L86A1 LSW was designed to provide fire support at a fireteam level. Compared to L85A1, the LSW has a longer barrel, a bipod and rear pistol grip, together with a shorter handguard. The extended barrel provides an increased muzzle velocity and further stabilizes the bullet, giving a greater effective range. From its inception however, the L86A1 was a target of criticism on much the same basis as the L85A1, plus the additional issue of LSW inability to deliver sustained automatic fire as it does not have a quick-change barrel, and is not belt fed. For a time, the primary use of the LSW has shifted to that of a marksman's weapon, capable of providing precision fire at ranges of over 600m, however it was replaced in this role by the L129A1. The role of a light support weapon is instead filled by the L110A2 Light Machine Gun FN Minimi, which is a belt fed weapon with a quick-change barrel.
Live Resin recently released number of different L85/L86 variants in 1/35 scale. This review covers the L86A1 Light Support Weapon set (LRE-35213), while all the other reviews of Live Resin weapon and accessory sets on Armorama can be found here: link
The L86A1 LSW is packed in hard cardboard clamshell, with the parts secured in a zip-lock bag. 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 L86A1s, with three optical sights, six bipods (three open and three closed) and twelve ammo magazines supplied separately. The parts are molded in grey resin and I found no casting imperfections whatsoever, with the resin featuring all the intricate weapon features impressively delivered in 1/35 scale. The only issue I had with the pieces was that several bipods were damaged in transport… I found broken bits in the zip-lock bag and with a touch of CA glue the parts were repaired. The bipods are extremely delicate pieces and I would strongly suggest being extremely careful and patient when cleaning those from their carrier blocks.
The L86A1 LSW is based on the L85A1 design and is a very similar weapon with about 80% commonality of parts. The main differences between the two are the L86A1 has a longer barrel with the steel stock extension under it carrying a folding bipod, the butt fitted with folding shoulder support, a rear vertical grip attached below the receiver behind the magazine housing, and a shorter handguard. The L86A1s in this set feature all the said details perfectly rendered in scale, together with all the various receiver details like ejection port, cocking handle, fire mode selector, safety and mag release buttons. One additional thing to note is that this set depicts L86A1 in two slightly different weapon versions: three L86A1s 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 L86A1s are equipped with an Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG), which is used exclusively in combat operations in Afghanistan. Due to the very peculiar way ACOG is attached to the weapon, Live Resin did not cast the sight together with the L86A1, but instead supplied the piece separately. Since LSW is not normally deployed nowadays (I found only couple of photos depicting the weapon in Afghanistan equipped with ACOG), I wish Live Resin included L86A1s with SUSAT instead, as this was and the standard optical sight for the weapon.
The L86A1 makes use of the same 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge as L85A1. The weapon is fed from a STANAG magazine, usually with a 30-round capacity. This set includes L86A1s cast without their ammo magazines and a selection of 12 magazines supplied as separate pieces. The selection includes 30-round STANAG magazine (2x), 30-round STANAG magazine with Magpul (2x),Magpul EMAG (4x) and Magpul EMAG with Ranger Plate (4x). 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.
This set is another example of Live Resin’s advanced 3D modeling and high-quality printing technique producing magnificent results in 1/35 scale. The L86A1 in this set looks great with all the details well defined and executed to perfection.
It is always a pleasure to review weapon sets from Live Resin. Meticulously researched with amazing attention to details, developed using state-of-the-art technology and perfectly cast in resin, these sets actually deliver extremely accurate representations of the real weapons in scale.
L86A1 Light Support Weapon (LRE-35213) is not an exception to this rule. The set includes 6 L86A1s in two slightly different sighting configurations, with 3 additional sights, 6 bipods and 12 ammo magazines supplied separately. These rifles provide the best L86A1 LSWs on the 1/35 scale market today.