After the initial Vietnam War experience with several 40mm grenade launchers which all lacked effective range, US Navy decided to develop a new, automatic, self-powered weapon around the high-velocity M384 40mm grenade. Development of Mk19 automatic grenade launcher began in 1966, and the first Mk19 Mod0 systems entered service in Vietnam in 1968, on board of riverine crafts and UH-1 Huey gunships of US Navy. However, the Mk19 Mod0 was quickly found to be neither reliable enough nor safe enough for military use. Several programs to upgrade the weapon resulted in Mk19 Mod1 and Mk19 Mod2 variants which both improved system reliability, safety and maintainability. In 1976, a complete redesign of the weapon resulted in Mk19 Mod3, which the US Army adopted in 1983, in order to replace or augment selected M2 .50 caliber machine guns throughout the Army.
TheMk19 Mod3 40mm Grenade Machine Gun is a self-powered, air-cooled, belt-fed, blowback operated weapon, designed to deliver intense suppressive fire against enemy personnel and lightly armored vehicles or bunkers. The Mk19 Mod3 is automatically fed with the ammunition usually supplied in 32 or 48 round boxes. The primary ammunition type for Mk19 Mod3 is the 40mm M430 High Explosive, Dual Purpose(HEDP) round, which can penetrate up to 50mm of rolled homogenous armor and provide effective anti-personnel fragmentation effect with damage radius of about 15 meters (lethal damage / kill zone radius 5 meters). The system can be installed on standard M3 tripod, or on various vehicle pedestal and ring mounts.
The Mk19 Mod3 was first deployed in Operation Desert Storm with devastating effect on enemy infantry, and the system is currently seeing use in Middle Eastern theaters of operations.
This review covers one of Mk19 Mod3 sets in 1/35 scale available from Live Resin: MK19-3 40mm Grenade Machine Gun on MK93 Machine Gun Mount with Bearing Sleeve pedestal and S.A.G. (Save-A-Gunner) armor shield (LRE35077).
The set is packed in a hard cardboard box. The box features CAD box art images; the one on the front shows the diagram of all the kit parts and lists accessory sets that can be used with the Mk19 (LRE-35028, LRE-35080, LRE-35081, LRE-35082, LRE-35083, LRE-35084 and LRE-35091), while the one on the back shows different views of the Mk19 Mod3 setup which can be built using the parts provided in this particular set. The box also states the model is compatible with 1/35 scale HMMWVs and MRAPs from all manufacturers. Since the weapon is installed on the vehicle using the single attachment point on the mount base, I’m pretty sure this statement is a fact.
The box contains a zip-lock bag with resin parts, and an instruction sheet. The kit consists of 26 resin parts; the smaller pieces are organized on 3 long casting blocks, while the larger pieces are supplied each on its own block. One of the smaller parts was damaged during transport, but I found the broken bit in a zip-lock bag and glued it back on. The cast is absolutely perfect and the parts display impressively sharp details superbly executed in 1/35 scale.
The Mk19 Mod3 weapon system is made of five major sub-assemblies: the receiver, feed tray, top cover, sear, and bolt and back plate assembly. The receiver provides support for other major assemblies of the weapon with the charger handles located on both sides of the receiver. By default, Mk19 Mod3 grenade launchers are equipped with machine gun type flip-up rear iron sights, but other types of sighting equipment (including night sights and range-finding electronic sights) are available as well. Ammo feed system features feed throat assembly; it attaches to the forward left side of the receiver and allows smooth feeding of 40mm ammunition. Without a feed throat weapon stoppages may occur due to the twisted or misaligned rounds. Mk19 top cover, with a blade-type front sight, can be opened for loading ammo or to clean and inspect feeder area. The back plate assembly features dual spade grips and weapon trigger. All the Mk19 features are clearly identifiable and magnificently rendered in this 1/35 scale kit. The level of details is absolutely amazing… digitally sculpted and developed using high-resolution 3D printing technology, this weapon system is in fact a perfectly authentic miniature copy of the real Mk19 Mod3.
The Mk19 in this kit features a 40mm ammo can holder on the left side of the weapon. The 40mm ammo can holder is designed to function with the MK93 Machine Gun Mount and can be attached to the MK93 in two directions, one to position the 32 round can and the other to position the 48 round can for proper feeding. The holder in this particular kit is carrying M548 ammo can, one of the most common 40mm ammo containers in the US Army inventory. M548 holds 48 rounds of 40mm cartridges linked into belts. 40mm rounds in the kit are supplied as 11-round belt (slightly bent to fit both the ammo can opening and weapon feed throat assembly), 7-round belt (which fits ammo can opening), a single 40mm round and a part of the 40mm round. For the ultimate representation of the Mk19 ammo feed, I would suggest deepening the M548 ammo can cavity, adjusting the 7-round belt inside the opening and then fitting the larger belt on top. The single 40mm round and the part of the round can be fixed into the receiver feed throat assembly.
The Mk19 is in this set is depicted on MK93 Machine Gun Mount and with a Save-A-Gunner (SAG) armor shield. The MK93 is a dual purpose, soft mount for the Mk19 Grenade Machine Gun and M2 Heavy Machine Gun. The soft mount optimizes operational capabilities of weapon systems, providing platform stabilization, improving accuracy, and increasing hit probability. This kit also features ring mount with the Bearing Sleeve and Universal Pintle Adapter (UPA). The UPA accepts MK93 mount and with its Y-shape arms provides a platform for connecting Traverse and Elevation Mechanism (T&E) to the MK93 mount for precise control of the weapon. All the pieces of the mount are wonderfully executed in scale, featuring incredible level of details. I compared the resin parts to the references and found an excellent match. SAG armor shield is constructed by USGN Inc. using an experimental G-LAM lightweight nanofiber material which is over 100 times stronger than steel and offers protection from up to 12.7mm AP ammunition. The SAG shield is represented really well in this set and features very sharp bolt details.
With 26 pieces to assemble, this kit might seem pretty complex for novice modelers. However, I don't think anyone should feel intimidated with assembling this model. First of all, the instructions are very clear and easy to follow. Also, Live Resin did a superb job designing this kit; the pieces feature protrusions or indentations which help to align the parts correctly. Finally, the parts fit really well and there is almost no need for putty work throughout the build.
Here’s how I did it: I identified all the pieces in the set and took some time to study the instructions. I also gathered some reference pictures of the weapon system, which came in handy during the build process. You can see a short photo summary of my build: I annotated the parts on the resin carrier blocks and I'm also displaying photos of the assembly progress noting the position of each part as well. The main weapon assembly is shown on photos 1-2. Note I decided to add night sight mounting bracket to the weapon (parts 4 and 6); these parts are optional and if one does not wish to use night sights with Mk19, the mounting plate should be attached instead (part 11). The weapon mount and the SAG shield are shown on photo 3. This photo presents the shield and its support arm temporarily attached to the mount using blue-tack. Also, the two protrusions of the shield support arm should be cut off (as indicated by the instructions); otherwise the shield will not fit well to the mount. The ammo feed system is fixed and shown in photos 4-6. Note the 40mm grenade piece which should be inserted into the weapon feed throat (part 9); an amazing detail so often overlooked by other manufacturers. A complete 40mm round (part 10) was attached underneath and the full ammo belt, trimmed to contain only six round links, fixed to both the weapon feed throat and the ammo can. The rest of the photos show the completed Mk19 Mod3 set (LRE-35077).
Mk19 Mod3 set described in this review consists of 26 resin parts, and is one of the more complex kits from Live Resin so far. The parts are perfectly cast, very intelligently engineered with absolutely great fit. The instruction sheet is easy to follow and makes the assembly of the model very straightforward.
If you want to mount Mk19 to your vehicles, look no further. This is definitely the best 1/35 scale replica of the Mk19 system on the market.
Military Systems Group