ARM: Review - Riich Models 1/35 scale M1 75mm AT gun with M1A3 carriage and 5 man crew

Kit Review: Riich Models 1/35 scale Kit No. RV35019; U.S. M1 57mm Anti-Tan k Gun (Early Version) on M1A3 Carriage (5 Figures); 268 parts (135 in mediu
m gray styrene, 86 in light grey styrene, 46 etched brass, 1 length of nylo n string); retail price US$59.95
Advantages: incredibly detailed version of this workhorse US antitank gun; choice of "street" or "combat tires"; full crew of five; variety of ammunit ion provided
Disadvantages: incredibly tiny parts (!); looks like they copied the DML di rection format
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all WWII US modelers, especially those doing "Battle of the Bulge" dioramas
    The US built a number of weapons for the UK after the start of WWII, and a mong other things they did the 6-pdr antitank gun. As the US 37mm M3 had be en shown to be nearly useless against all but the lightest tanks, in 1943 t hey adopted a modified version of the 6-pdr as the 57mm M1 Antitank Gun. It s main difference was a barrel 15" longer to get better performance out of the powerful 6-pdr round. It used varying carriages but most of them show u p in photos with regular or "street" tires and not the heavier unidirection al or "combat" tires. Normally these guns were towed by M2/M2A1 halftracks or WC-62/63 trucks and formed the antitank companies in infantry regiments.
    During the Battle of the Bulge the 2nd Armored Division used theirs to gre at effect in covering the engineers when detonating bridges to slow down th e German advance, and even the infamous SS General Peiper had to credit the m with ruining his thrust towards the Allied rear area.
    More than 45 years ago Tamiay released one of their first "Military Miniat ures" kits of a British 6-pdr and crew, but it was very simplistic and had a lot of problems as did its crew. About 40 years ago Peerless Max produced a 6-pdr on a Gun Portee and also released the gun as a separate kit. It wa s state-of-the-art for its day and far better than the Tamiya one. It was r e-released over the years by Italeri, Bilek and even Zvezda among others. B ut time passed them by and the "American" versions of the gun were nothing even close to the actual weapon.
    In recent years both Riich Models and AFV Club have released new mold kits of this gun, but while AFV Club has focused on the Commonwealth versions R iich has done the American ones. This is probably their top-of-the-line kit as it includes a complete 2AD crew in their camouflaged combat uniforms.          The kit is state-of-the-art for today with a fret of etched brass included as well as the crew of five. The directions and layout of the kit are remi niscent of DML practices and the figures follow their format as well.
    The gun can be assembled so that the barrel slides in its recoil mechanism (no springs involved at least!) and the breechblock may be left moveable i f desired. The controls are very petite and include some very tiny parts an d etched brass which some modelers will find annoying.
    The gun shields are single sections of styrene but are suitably thin and a s such are more durable and easier to attach. The sight access port comes w ith a separate door and open and closed position operating levers.
    The trails are nicely detailed with etched brass mounts for the cleaning r ods and maneuvering poles. If care is taken the trails will operate when as sembled. However, the rocker brakes do not and must be cemented in place; t he directions only show them in the down position so anyone wishing the gun to be in towing position will need to get references and make adjustments accordingly.
    The modeler has a choice of two different styles of tires as noted and wit h care they may be made to rotate. The hubs are complete with the loops for towing with ropes.
    As mentioned note that in Step 11 the rocker brakes are down and this is n ot their correct position for towing.
    The kit comes with both US ammo crates and British ammo canisters as well as a variety of ammunition and packing tubes. US rounds are AP and HE and a re indicated, and decals are provided to mark the crates, rounds and packin g tubes.
    The crew consists of a standing gun commander, standing loader, sitting lo ader, sitting gunner and kneeling rifleman. All of them come with the baggi er camouflage uniforms and helmets with netting and scrim attached. Paintin g directions are of the "monkey see monkey do" variety in the direction boo k. Facial detail are good but uniform details are a bit softer than what ma ny modelers are used to today.
    Only one finishing option is given - olive drab overall.
    Overall this is a very nice weapon and a perfect match for the DML M2/M2A1 halftrack kit. With different figures it would compliment the Skybow/AFV C lub WC-62/63 truck kit as well.    
Cookie Sewell
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