U.S. Machine Gun Set
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII


This is a really nice accessory set for Allied modellers. As can be seen from the box art, it contains several .30 and .50 cal machine guns and assorted bits such as ammunition belts, boxes and mounts.

You can actually get six machine guns from the set but the options presented are far greater. Let's start with the .30 cal guns. There are two bodies provided, which have the barrel included in the molding. The molding is good, with sharply defined detail. For the .30 cal, there are three mounting options: a tripod, a tank mounting with an early ammo box, and the familiar rocker mounting. Again, nice detail and assembly shouldn't pose too much trouble.

There are actually two types of .50 cal MG guns, the standard Browning M2HB heavy barrel variant, and the Browning M2 aircraft version, which has a shorter 36 inch barrel and extended perforated cooling jacket. There is photographic evidence of these being used as coaxial machine guns in M4A3E8 Shermans in the 4th Armored Division. You get a pair of each of these guns, which are made up of six parts: gun body, pivot mount, cocking handle, receiver cover, rear grip, and trigger.

The HB gun has a choice of three barrels, with or without handle and the post-WWII barrel with flash suppressor. Pick a barrel, and add it to the gun body. Then add the cocking handle, receiver cover, rear grip, trigger and sight and the basic gun is finished. For mounting, you have choice of two types of cradles and the turret mount is provided.

The guns come with ammo boxes and decals for early, late, and post-WWII. These have very nice detail and they're better than the ones provided by Academy in its old Allied and German Supplies Set, or even the recent M10 series of kits. The .50 cal boxes also come with the spring assembly used to hold the belt in place on the ammunition cradle. These parts might be very slightly over scale, but are easier to use than photo-etched parts and they certainly add some detail definition.

For both guns, there are tripods provided in folded and deployed fashion, so these will come in handy for dressing up armor kits as well. Finally, there are four lengths of ammo belts provided, two for each caliber.

I compared the guns to the ones provided in DML's U.S. Army Support Weapons Team and the Academy parts are better. Molding is sharper and this really shows at the tripod provided. The DML bits have considerable flash and the gun details are rather soft compared to Academy. Comparison with the folded tripods provided in Tamiya kits of the M20 and the recent M4A3 kits didn't present a clear winner.

Overall, this is a great set and useful to modelers of U.S. Army vehicles. Older kits often have quite basic guns supplied and this can be addressed easily now. Also, Warriors has come out with several machine gun teams which require you to supply the weapons, and this is the most economical way to go. Highly recommended.

-Martin Dogger-


Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © 2002—2007 Timothy S. Streeter