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Built Review
135
US M1 57 mm anti tank gun
U.S. M1 57mm Anti-Tank Gun on M2 carriage (late version)
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by: Rick Cooper [ CLOVIS899 ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

The British need for manufacturing capacity lead to the US building nearly 5,000 medium guns for them by the end of the World War 2. Clearly seeing the utility of continuing production for the US Army another 10,000 were supplied to American forces. Although often maligned due to weight, ammunition availability and stopping power, production continued until 1945.

Riich Models has now produced their fourth kit based on the 57mm/6 pdr gun. This kit, RV35020, is the US late version built on the M2 carriage. This particular kit does not come with any crew figures unlike the earlier releases.

Contents

Here is what you will find inside the box;
5 sprues in light gray for the gun and carriage
1 sprue in an off white plastic for the ammo and ammo cases
Two sheets of photo-etch material
1 decal sheet for the ammo boxes and ammo
One length 50cm length of thread
One set of fold out instructions with 8 panels printed on glossy paper.

The Build

Gun
Overall the build went fairly quickly, taking only 6 days including the painting. The first thing I noticed as I removed the barrel and started with cleanup was how soft the plastic was. It reminded me a bit of some of the other kits I have built recently from small manufacturers. The other thing that was a bit of a disappointment was the amount of flash. It may just have been the sample I was working with but it almost appears as if the molds were getting old and outdated which is odd considering how long Riich Models has been around. Considering the barrel, I had something of a struggle removing the seam and retaining a generally round shape, eventually I went with the Ďgood enoughí test. (It passed)

The instructions are a letdown, very hard to follow for the exact placement of parts, I canít emphasize enough how carefully you will need to study the instructions. Just giving a quick look and assuming you understand can be a recipe for disaster; I know because I am that guy. Many views are from one side only, no problem normally except that they often have you attaching pieces to the back side with just an arrow for the general area. Despite that the gun, gun slide, and sight are well detailed, very well detailed in fact. There are lots of very small parts that require sometimes tricky clean-up. Be aware that the instructions have you sandwich the slide around the recuperator for the barrel, donít do it. Just assemble them separately and Ďslideí the barrel into place. The gun cradle is a two piece affair that later will need to mate with the carriage, it is a left right affair that butt joins together, not a problem except for the later connection, so make certain it is nice and square. The breech is made of 14 pieces, beware the carpet monster. The gun sight consists of 13 parts, make sure you have good magnification available! Also, be aware, as with many artillery and anti-tank pieces, you are faced with many delicate joins that will be critical when mating the gun and sight to the carriage or properly lining up them up with the shield. I think when it was all done that I got most everything in its proper place, or something close to it.

Shield
The gun shield was a comparatively simple affair. One piece, very well molded and detailed with plenty of rivets. The only thing to add is the storage box for optics on the back side and the flip open aperture for the sight. I installed the aperture closed as I intended to model the gun in travel mode; that didnít work out but I left the flap closed anyway not wanting to risk damage. I had to do some additional research to understand how the shield attached to the gun, I found some photos on the website 1919A4.com of a gun being restored that proved invaluable. (link below) for showing what the attachment points were; the top of either side of the upper pintle gun mount and one on the lower left of the mount. The instructions show these but it wasnít until later that I actually caught on with what the instructions were pointing out. One thing that the shields are missing are the four rather prominent hooks on the front of the shield. They appear to be were the drag ropes would be stored but I am not completely sure about that.

Trail arms
These are very well detailed with near perfect fit. There are numerous fittings that attach to the trail arms, I would make the following recommendations; save parts B21, A15, A40/P17, A41/A14/P13 if you are displaying in travel mode. If firing mode you should be okay, but as each of these needs to fit into something else and the attachment points are not exact I would save them until after the arms are in their final position so that you can attach them accordingly. Parts B5 and B6, through which the pivot pin slides, will need some serious thinning. I would recommend jumping to step 8 and assembling the axle cross-member A21 and A36 and dry fitting B5 and B6 into this assembly to insure that it fits. My example wasnít close, I had to thin away nearly 1/3 of the surface of both B5 and B6 in order to get everything to fit as intended. Allow B5 and B6 to dry thoroughly before you attach them in step 8, they will need to resist a lot of torque unless you have got them very loose. I didnít heed my own advice and ended up pulling B6 off the front of the trail arm and created a small mess for myself. One nice thing is that the photo etch for the trail arms is very nice and generally easy to work with, and it really dresses up the look of the arms.

Carriage
The carriage is as equally well detailed as the rest of the kit. Once again however, you will often find that attachment points are questionable, be careful with where you attach items as it could come back to bite you if not careful. The attachment for the assembled wheels is keyed but my example would not fit. I opened it up but that left it a bit loose, no problem except that left and right must match because they are the attachment surface for the lower shield piece; bottom line be careful. I just went ahead and cleaned both sides out and left them free of glue until after I attached the shield in step 10.

The wheel segments, the quadrant shaped piece used for stabilization, need some attention as well. Be aware that the pin on A38 and A39 will need to fit into one of the holes on the horns of the segment; the front one in travel mode and the rearward one in firing mode. I donít think the instructions ever point this out. I had to trim away most of the front horn to get the lower shield to mount properly, hopefully with some extra care you wonít run into the same issue. I filed away a good bit of plastic from the concave surface of the wheel segment for better fit into the axle but it still wasnít enough for the top bracket, E14, to wrap around and match up like it should have. You might want to add a shim to get a better fit, in the end I decided that no one would see it and the front shield would, you guessed it, shield it from view.

I really like the way that the wheels look when finished. They are made of 10 different parts in total. You do get a choice of civil or military style tires. Every photo I found showed military non directional tires fitted so that is what I went with. The tires and rims by themselves are well detailed, Firestone logo and raised tire size is a nice detail. Again, be aware that fit will be problematic, the axle pin E13 wonít quite fit so be sure to ream out each piece that runs through it. Donít forget the very delicate, but very prominent, drag washers, part P9. They are in PE and very prone to breaking off, in the end I used a Grandt Line piece for the part as the PE just looked flat when in reality the piece is formed from round steel rod. One thing the wheels are missing is the tabs on the rims that assisted in manoeuvring the gun into place. Not all guns seem to have them, but enough that this would have been a nice addition. For a nice discussion of the wheels for the gun check out this forum thread here on Armorama
>M1 57 mm anti tank gun Live links

Finishing
With all that the only thing left was to put it all together. Getting everything plumb was a bit of an argument between the model and myself, I didnít win them all but enough that I could at least finish the kit. I had already tried to paint as much as I could as assemblies were finished up knowing that some of the nooks and crannies would be hard to get to once assembled. I painted the gun overall with Model Air olive green (71.015), maybe a bit dark but I like the deep tone to the green. The wood was painted in Vallejo Cork Brown (843) and stained with burnt umber oil paint. The wheels were given a coat of Ammo Mig Rubber and Tire (033) while the metal parts of the shovel and pick head were Model Air Metallic Black (71073) and burnished with AK Dark Steel pigment (086) which I thought came out a bit too bright, in retrospect I should have stuck with flat black and the pigment. The gunnerís shoulder brace was finished with a 50/50 mix of Vallejo Khaki and Cork Brown (988 843).

I jumped over to the ammo sprue and found that for the US version you only get one ammo box. No matter it is well done; it even includes the rope handles for the box end. Nice selection of different types of ammunition, but as the US gun only rarely had anything other than AP just stick with the Wa15 ammo. It was a bit of a chore getting the decals to snuggle down into the molded in wood grain, it might have been better to sand it down and then decal. To finish I ditched the PE metal strapping and went with a much easier solution; thin strips of Tamiya tape and a couple of spare PE buckle fasteners.

conclusion

This is not an easy kit to build; I would only recommend this one to an experienced builder. The plastic was very soft and takes some getting used to, attachment points are often vague. Parts donít quite fit like they should without a little persuasion but your method of persuading may leave you another problem down the road. Parts that need precise locations are only given general locations and there are many tiny pieces that just seem like bait for the carpet. I lost three that never made it back to the kit that I had to machine or borrow from other sources. Now, if none of that scares you away, have at it, you will find it a very well detailed kit that with a bit of extra care can look very nice. My guess is that many of these will end up being towed with a tarp thrown over the breech end of the gun.


SUMMARY
Highs: Great detail with very well done photo-etch that adds to the overall feel. Great looking wheels.
Lows: Instructions are very hard to follow at times. Poor mating surfaces, either to tight or poorly rendered, cause issues. Difficult keeping everything aligned.
Verdict: A decent kit, but difficulties would make this a challenge for inexperienced builders.
Percentage Rating
80%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: RV 35020
  Suggested Retail: $32.35
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jan 14, 2015
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.70%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 87.37%

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Rick Cooper (clovis899)
FROM: CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES

I have been modeling for about 30 years now. Once upon a time in another century I owned my own hobby shop; way more work than it was worth. I tip my opti-visor to those who make a real living at it. Mainly build armor these days but I keep working at figures, planes and the occasional ship.

Copyright ©2017 text by Rick Cooper [ CLOVIS899 ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Nice review. I find these AT guns on the market are a bit pricey... $34 for an AT gun with no crew & very few accessories? The Tamiya PAK 40 still holds the #1 spot ..cheap...good quality gun, crew & accessories.
JAN 14, 2015 - 10:33 PM
Thanks for the review. The M1 57mm gun was positively ubiquitous with the U.S. Army in Europe, so it's long past time for somebody to give us a kit. Too bad the kit has its flaws, but that's the way it goes. :-) Maybe now one of the big companies -- Dragon, Tamiya, etc. -- will put out an M1 57mm of their own, including a crew.
JAN 23, 2015 - 09:02 AM
I've just finished construction on Riich's 6pdr AT Gun and am getting ready to start painting it. Looking at this review, the US 57 mm kit is very, very similar to the 6 pdr. Sprues B and Wa even appear to be the same. The 6 pdr is not an especially easy kit to build. It is somewhat challenging, but with patience and care it will build into a very nice replica. I think the same could probably be said for the 57 mm. If you want simple and easy, it might not be the kit for you. But if you want a very detailed replica, I don't think you'll be disappointed. Light years ahead of the old Tamiya 6 pdr or the Pearless Max cum Italeri cum Zvezda 57 mm kits.
JAN 23, 2015 - 09:54 AM
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