The SA80 (Small Arms for the 1980s) is a British family of 5.56mm small arms in a bullpup layout. 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.
However, both L85A1 and L86A1 were plagued with many problems, some being very serious. In general, both systems were quite unreliable and troublesome to handle and maintain, so after years of constant complaints from the troops, it had been decided to upgrade most L85A1 rifles in service. The upgrade program started in 2000, with Heckler & Koch (then owned by British Royal Ordnance company) upgrading about 200.000 rifles to L85A2 variants, dramatically improving their reliability and stability. From 2007 an additional upgrade is being introduced to selected units, featuring the provision of Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG), a new handguard incorporating Picatinny rail system with optional hand grip/bipod, and a new vortex style flash eliminator. The rifle is also often fitted with LLM01 Laser Light Module.
In their last batch of releases, Live Resin issued a number of different L85 variants in 1/35 scale. The reviews of L85A1 and L86A1 were already published on Armorama (link
) and this review covers the set depicting the weapon in its upgraded form: L85A2 SA80 Assault Rifle with iron sight and ACOG scope (LRE-35209).
The L85A2 set comes packed in a zip-lock bag safely secured in a hard cardboard clamshell. 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 zip-lock bag contains six L85A2s, each weapon on its individual carrier block, and twelve ammo magazines supplied on a long resin block. The grey resin looks really good and I found no imperfections in the cast whatsoever.
The L85A2 in this set depicts the most modern version of the weapon currently used in Iraq and Afghanistan. It features a forward Picatinny accessory rail, redesigned comma shaped cocking handle and a new vortex style flash suppressor. Digitally sculpted and produced using high-resolution 3D printer, the details on these weapons are absolutely amazing… each rail segment is superbly defined, all the switches and buttons on the receiver impressively executed. This set includes two slightly different L85A2 versions: three L85A2s 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 L85A2s are equipped with an Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG), which is used exclusively in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. To be honest, I did not see photos of L85A2 with Picatinny rail using old style iron sights (not even employed by the second-line troops) and I wish Live Resin supplied all of the L85A2s in this set equipped with ACOGs instead, as this version would be more appropriate for British soldiers in current conflicts.
The L85A2 makes use of the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge and is fed from a STANAG 30-round magazine. From 2011 Magpul Industries introduced polymer EMAG magazine to replace the steel STANAGs. This set includes a selection of 12 magazines supplied as separate pieces, ready to be fitted into a tiny opening in the L85A2 lower receiver opening. The selection includes 30-round STANAG magazine (4x), 30-round STANAG magazine with Magpul (4x), Magpul EMAG (2x) and Magpul EMAG with Ranger Plate (2x). The magazines are easy to remove from their carrier block and fit well to the L85A2s.
Finally, all the L85A2 features are clearly identifiable and well defined, with the level of details absolutely amazing for a 1/35 scale kit. However, note that the L85A2s in this set are delivered in their basic configuration and should be upgraded with various accessories available separately from Live Resin. Vertical grips and laser designator modules will make these L85A2s come to life.
L85A2 SA80 Assault Rifle with iron sight and ACOG scope (LRE-35209) features L85A2 currently in use with British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The kit includes 6 L85A2s in two slightly different versions, with 12 ammo magazines supplied separately. The resin cast is absolutely perfect with extremely well defined details. As with many other Live Resin weapon offerings, these L85A2s should be enhanced with accessories (laser designators, forward grips, etc.) available separately from Live Resin.