by: Matthew Lenton [ ]
When the designers of the first tank needed a main weapon, the British Admiralty provided a modified version of the Hotchkiss 57mm, known as the Six Pounder, Single Tube, from stock. The guns were fitted to the side sponsons of Marks I, II and III Male tanks.
This review is of turned brass barrels representing this type of gun, produced by Czech company J.K. Resin, intended to enhance either of the 1/72 Mk.I Male tanks produced by Master Box.
Two barrels are provided in a zip lock back that is in turn presented in a larger zip lock back with a card insert (photo 1). No instructions are provided.
The barrels have a very clean and precise appearance, which is exactly what is required. The breech end terminates in to a smaller diameter peg which is to be used to mount the barrel on to the kit parts (photo 2). The muzzle end is drilled open, the aperture edges displaying a slightly chamfered appearance (photo 3) which I donít think is strictly accurate, in reality the edges appear perfectly flat as if the tube had been cut at 90 degrees. Bear in mind however when looking at this muzzle that it is only 1mm across, so in normal viewing this chamfering is barely visible. The barrel part is 20mm long, exactly matching the original Master Box item, with the end peg 2mm long.
When reviewing the Master Box Mk I Male Tank Gaza kit, I noted that the guns provided had a fairly heavy mould line, with the two mould halves not quite making an exactly round barrel, so a fair amount of sanding and reshaping was needed; also that the guns are tapered a bit too thin at the ends, and that the necessary sanding tended to accentuate that appearance (photo 4). It looks as if these JK Resin brass barrels would resolve all of those issues. Letís see how easy it is to fit them and what they look like.
In photo 5 we see the Master Box gun and the brass replacement. The plastic gun was snipped from the mount with sprue cutters, then a 2mm deep hole was drilled using a 1.2mm drill bit (photo 6). This hole allowed the gun to be mounted without the need for glue (photo 7), though obviously a touch of CA glue would secure it in place.
With the gun back in the rotating shield and back in the sponson (photo 8) we can see that this replacement barrel does indeed look much better than the original kit part, and in photo 9 we can compare the two side by side, mounted on the model tank.
The Master Box kit does have a few other shortcomings in the gun area, in that the gun shield is missing the vertical gun sight slits, and that there is a slight gap visible through the mounting opening above and below the gun. Itís of course not the job of these replacement barrels to fix those errors in the Master Box kit, although they might be considered by the modeller who is going to the trouble of buying this barrel set.
I believe that these barrels could equally be used with the Airfix Mk. I kit; although it is 1/76 scale, the barrels would only need to be mounted at the right depth for the length to be correct, while the difference in diameter at this scale would be fairly insignificant.
A very nice enhancement then for the Master Box kit, and very easy to fit. Available from Tracks & Troops at 4.10 Euros.