by: Peter Ganchev [ ]
The M1 was a version of the famous British 6-pounder – a 57mm anti-tank gun, adapted for US service in 1943 after the 37mm M3 proved inadequate. By the time it became the main ATG for US forces, the M1 was faced by the Panther and other heavy German tanks. That, along with the insufficient mobility of towed guns in the era of fast-paced combat put it out of service in the US shortly after WWII ended.
Other plastic kits
Multiple companies have released plastic kits of the QF 6-pounder in 1/35, but few offer the M1 variety. We’ve had the Testors mold since the early 1980s. More recently AFV Club has issued several M1 kits, including a rendering of the British narrow-track carriage as used by US airborne divisions. There are also 2 multimedia kits by Resicast and Orange hobby.
Riich Model themselves offer several different kits, with the review subject being the only one with a US crew included in the box. It depicts a gun with the early M1A3 carriage U.S. Army adopted in 1943.
A sturdy top-opening box holds 7 sprues:
- 2 for the gun itself,
- 1 smaller for the 2-part shield,
- 2 for the wheels,
- 1 for the ammo and crates,
- 1 for the 3 crew and 2 infantry figures.
Also inside are a PE fret, a decal sheet and a length of string.
The larger the part – the better the detail on it. The Plastic color varies from one sprue to another with the crew one being the lightest. Same goes for quality. There is no flash, but some sprues do feature mold parting lines; the one with the crew figures actually has a prominent mold shift on all parts but not on the runners themselves.
Instructions show 9 building steps and while the steps are logical – they rarely show the completed assemblies. Throughout the entire build sequence of the gun is shown from the left, using only outline drawings, which makes verification of part position particularly hard.
In step 1 I had trouble keeping parts B43 and B49 in position, and ended up gluing them fixed to the gun barrel assembly. Instead of movable I elected to display the breech block open, so the lever B47 was pivoted down towards the rear and glued in horizontal position instead of vertical in step 2.
The first problem with part placement came in step 3 with part B11, and a long search for reference images ensued. The 6-pounder walkaround I discovered also helped glue parts P11 and P12 in the correct locations. Another issue in step 4 are the posts for the tow cable on the front of the shield – they can easily be broken off, so after I knock 2 of them I made new ones of computer network cable, and superglued those in place.
My gun has its aiming port open (step 5). In step 6 again make use of your references for proper placement of part A44. Part B6 (B5 on the left trail) fits a bit loosely, which may result in a tilted gun, so use a slow setting glue and dry-fit the two trails before proceeding to step 8. Part B21 needs to have its longer protrusion pointing to the inside on both trails.
This is the first kit where I had no issues with the PE parts included. I bent all PE parts (including the cleaning rod clamps) with the etched grooves pointing outwards, obtaining acceptable results – and none broke.
If you want to have your gun in firing position you can leave part B17 off and use it as a spacer between the gun trails. I left the cleaning rods in steps 6 and 7 off for ease of painting.
In step 8 reference pictures are key to proper alignment and getting your gun to sit level.
Step 9: the PE rings on wheel hubs (parts P8) lack any support on the flat part, so you might want to cut out a notch in parts E12 before supergluing them in.
The figures in the kit appear to be designed by a different team – they are much softer in terms of detail, feature prominent mold parting lines and mold shift throughout, and do require filler when assembled. I used a drill and a bronze polishing brush to remove the mold parting lines, then fine sandpaper and Q-tips dipped in acetone to smooth parts.
With the proper care taken of them they will look OK, especially when added on and around the gun. The M1 Garands will require additional work around the muzzle, and the modeler needs to create carry slings for them.
I opted to use brass ammo from RB Model instead of the kit supplied one, as painting wouldn’t have provided the brass finish I am looking for.
The decals provided did not conform to shells or the wooden box I built despite my liberal application of decal solution, so were left out.
Riich Model provides a relatively rare subject to build, and the gun kit itself does leave an overall positive impression. It represents the gun and its details well. Provided you have the reference material to check part position the gun should take you couple of hours to put together without much work outside of separating parts and cleaning sprue gates. The PE set is well-engineered, is flexible enough, and most plastic parts feature small molded-on rectangles that serve as a base for the PE details.
The crew, while a nice thing to have in a kit, requires significant preparation and assembly effort. Decals and ammo are disappointing, which will put people off, especially considering the kit price.
Recommended with reservations.