M1 57mm Antitank Gun
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII

Zvezda, 3518
Testor, ??
Italeri, 323

When I got a copy of Resicast's resin 57mm antitank gun to review, I thought it would be interesting to warm up with Italeri's version of this gun. The latter kit was promoted as a 57mm when boxed under the Testor brand, though the design is clearly the British version, from which the U.S. gun was derived in 1940. With the right references and a few fairly significant alterations, you can get this to better resemble the gun deployed by American troops. (Italeri's kit far surpasses Tamiya's ancient and simplistic depiction of the British version for the 6-pounder, so don't even bother going there.)

Like many of the early Italeri US AFV kits, this product was originally produced by Peerless Max before Italeri bought the molds. It was later reboxed by Testors in the 1980s, and the Russian company Zvezda in the 1990s. I have this latter kit, and construction went fairly well. One can build the model either as deployed in the field or as towed. It bears a good resemblance to the British 6-pounder. The shield is a bit on the thick side and can use some tapering around the edges to give a thinner dimension.

There were some bits of flash here and there and ejector pin marks on some parts such as the main gun shield and trails. There are no accessories such as ammo or figures, nor are there any decals.

There are some alterations a modeler with reasonable skills can do to make this kit better resemble the American version:

  • Lengthen the barrel by 16 inches; the actual barrel had a slight flare at the end
  • Shorten the tall lower shield "wing" (though some U.S. crewed guns did have the elongated wing)
  • Replace the British-specific tires (Italeri's Dodge kits are suitable stand-ins)
  • Rebuild the towing features on the gun's trails
  • Replace the v-shaped shoulder guard with the more common paddle type
  • Add the spoked firing supports to the axles near the wheels
  • Change the parking brake to the long hand lever type
  • Change the cover on the shield's sight box

If you want to go this route, pick up Light Artillery and Anti-Tank Guns, a CD-ROM of technical manuals for guns including the 57mm, from Easy 1 Productions; it has a technical manual for the British version that has some photos applicable to the American M1, as well as Field Manual FM 23-75 of June, 1944, which details usage and crew responsiblities. Other literary references include Standard Guide to U.S. World War II Tanks & Artillery, by Konrad F. Schreier, Jr., and The American Arsenal: The World War II Official Standard Ordnance Catalog of Small Arms, Tanks, Armored Cars, Artillery....

On the other hand, you could do what I plan to do: build it in its towed arrangement and throw some tarps over the gun from the barrel to the breech to hide the major differences, swap the tires with some spares, and change the towing hardware.



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