ARM: Review - AFV Club 1/35 scale Bofors 40mm British AA Gun Mk. III

Kit Review: AFV Club 1/35 scale Kit No. AF35187; Bofors British QF 40mm Mk. III Anti-Aircraft Gun Late Type; 356 parts (307 in olive drab styrene, 36
etched brass, 11 black vinyl, 1 steel spring, 1 turned aluminum barrel); re tail price US$48.99
Advantages: builds into the unique Commonwealth version of the late product ion Bofors gun
Disadvantages: a wealth of parts
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all Commonwealth AA fans
    After WWI it became obvious that the next war (which everyone hoped would not come but prepared for nevertheless) would see a dominating role by airc raft, and therefore protection against them was going to be a priority. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Bofors of Sweden and Krupps of Germany part nered to research a new design of light AA weapon. In 1934 this culminated in Bofors producing the Model 1934 40mm ground version of the weapon. It us ed a simple cruciform carriage with folding side arms and removal axle bogi es for transport, was light, handy, and possessed a rate of fire of 120-140 rounds per minute. It soon begat a plethora of other versions, most import antly twin naval mounts. The US, the UK, France and a number of other count ries either bought weapons from Bofors or manufacturing licenses.
    During WWII it was the most important light AA gun used by the US and the Commonwealth, and while their guns were essentially the Swedish design with few modifications both groups had variations to their guns. Visually the C ommonwealth guns had different wheels and tires and modified seats for thei r gunners; they both used different sights as well.
    The history of the British guns begins in 1937 when they decided this was a more desirable weapon for the army than the competing 2?pdr Vickers nav al weapon. 279 had been obtained by the end of 1939. By the end of the war thousands had been built in some 17 different versions and sub-variants. Th e primary version was the Mark III, the subject of this kit, which had been redesigned to require only 1,500 man-hours to produce vice 2,420 for the M ark I. This basically focused on simplifying the carriage and other less es sential items of the system.
    AFV Club?s kit provides most of the differentiated Commonwealth features on two news sprues, with the rest of the kit coming from two previous AFV Club kits of the Bofors (35163 and 35186) and one sprue from the 40mm acces sory and ammunition set (35189).
    The kit claims to provide ?three different kinds of gun sights? but fr om references only appears to use the later ?Stiffkey? sighting system. The model does offer parts to make either a manually operated gun or one w ith electric assist, and suitable parts are provided for each option. It al so comes with a choice between turned aluminum or styrene barrels and steel or styrene recoil springs.
    The suspension elements are designed to clip on to the ?cross? with vi nyl keepers and working options permit the model to be posed in either trav el or firing positions. Etched brass is kept to a minimum but covers things such as the traversing tracks on the carriage base and the ?speed ring ? parts of the gun sighting system.
    While the model offers a steel spring, in this case the barrel is used to trap it under compression to the breech and it does not ?work? as with some past kits.
    The model as noted has a large number of (scale) working features, such as the carriage traverse, elevation, travel lock, towing tongue, suspension a rms, wheels, and sights.
    It comes with six four-round clips, three empty clips, a spare barrel case , two US style ammo cans, two UK style crates, two US style ammo crates, an d a British 24-round ammo case. Decals are provided for those items.
    Finishing is simple - paint the entire gun khaki green, but I think there are a number of other options modelers will find.
    Overall, when compared to the earlier Italeri Bofors 40mm kit, this kit ha s over twice as many parts, no crew, but far better value for nearly the sa me price and accuracy to a specific prototype rather than a combination of features.
    Thanks to Tony Chin from Merit for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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