57mm gun M1 was the U.S. military's adaptation of the British 6-pounder Mark II
gun. As the American government had agreed to build the weapon for Great Britain
as part of the Lend-Lease program, it was accepted into the ordnance catalogue
with one performance variation of any significant: the barrel was lengthened 16
inches to produce a greater muzzle velocity (100 feet per second).
both the U.S. and British versions, the gun was mounted on a carriage designed
by the Hotchkiss Company of France before the turn of the century. The U.S. made
changes to the towing mechanisms and shortened the long wing-shaped shield.
gun first saw action in North Africa in 1942, and was used almost exclusively
in the Mediterranean and European fighting. Production was halted in early 1944
after some 16,000 guns were built. It was served by a crew of ten and, according
to the Field Manual 23-75 of June, 1944,towed by the 1.5 ton 6x6 truck but there
is photographic evidence that it was occasionally moved by halftrack as well.
It fired both armored-piercing and high-explosive shells, and had a nasty recoil
that crews did not like.
are probably familiar with the two 1970s iterations of the 6-pounder have been
produced: the inferior Tamiya gun, and a mold that has bounced from Peerless Max
to Italeri and then reboxed by Testor and Zvezda. Between the two, the Italeri
kit is the better choice for conversion to the U.S. standard, and it's not overly
difficult for a modeler with some skill.
in 2006, Resicast produced a highly accurate resin kit of the American gun that
far eclipses its plastic cousin. Unfortunately, the muddled instructions do not
match the fine quality of the model.
saluted Resicast for it's fine instructions included with their field
kitchen set. But this model is much more complicated and a number of the grainy
black and white photos of the building process that are supposed to guide the
way are excessively washed out and indistinct, making placement of parts challenging.
Though there are a few technical manual photos at the back of the instruction
pamphlet and I was armed with Easy 1 Productions' CD-ROM, Light Artillery and
Anti-Tank Guns, I decided to have a trial run and built up the Italeri/Zvezda
kit I'd had on the shelf for years. While the differences between the kits are
quite distinct, there is enough commonality between the British and American guns
that I felt a bit more confident taking on the Resicast set.
the built-up Italeri/Zvezda was quite helpful walking me through some significant
holes in Resicast's instructions, which are nearly the downfall of an otherwise
excellent kit. This definitely is a project for modelers with some experience
in resin and a very light touch, since there are many small, fragile parts. Tweezers
and a new blade in the hobby knife are essential.
thing I do like about Resicast's instructions is that the parts and their corresponding
ID numbers are listed, which is not only helpful in building the kit, it also
helps me understand the item better. Resicast notes when spare pieces are included.
These spares are handy since many are delicate and vulnerable to breakage or molding
errors. The fret of brass photoetched parts is also identified: you get a few
brackets for the gun's trails, a range finder for the sight, and a set of stamped
bases for the resin 57mm rounds (as well as some unused bases and parts for Resicast's
first image of the construction photos shows the forward connecting ends of the
trails, which are interwoven with a mounting bracket to the axle and secured in
place by the frame (#1)and a saddle pivot nut (#0) that serves as a spacer
but wasn't necessary in my build. Anyway, that is the sole introduction to these
parts, with the note that you should use a pointed file to open the holes in these
pieces to their proper diameter, which is the vertical axle under the frame. This
happens to be the same size as a round toothpick.
next photo introduces the frame and I began to build up the cradle, adding the
elevating gear and sight support arm. For some reason, part #21, "pilow"
is asterisked in both the parts list and in the photo instruction, but with no
explanation as to the significant of the asterisk. The breech is built next, and
this is where I had a more serious problem with the instructions.
is supposed to be the breech lever is misidentified as part 40, the trip lever,
which of course looks something like a lever. What I didn't realize until later
was that there was another casting in the bag that had the actual breech lever
on it, but it is stamped part 35. So review your parts carefully. A nice touch
here is that you have the option of building the breech closed or open.
a little farther, I came to a photo that shows adding part 40 to the left side
of the breechopposite of the part 40 I installed a few steps before. Part
of my puzzlement was due to Resicast's inclusion of the ID numbers for previously
placed parts in succeeding instructions. This is good for seeing what the parts
look like at different angles (sometimes necessary for accurately placing the
parts). But it can also lead you to believe you are adding those parts now if
you've taken a break and didn't commit the building sequence to memory.
then you get to a photo the again misidentifies these same parts 40 and 41 as
one another, again the trip lever and the actuating lever.
item to watch is part 29, called the recoil part. It looks like a hexagonal nut
on a disc. Its shown being attached to either the bottom of the breech block or
the sleigh. Several images later it is more clearly shown attached to the end
of the sleigh.
the sight mechanism went together easily enough, but the parts are very small
and thin, including three wing nuts and the range finder. The instructions show
the range finder installed with the longer side of the rectangle down, but the
technical manual shows it placed vertically, which is what I did. I set this aside
and added it to the gun only after everything else was built.
instructing you to add the sight to the frame, the instructions jump to fitting
out the details on the trails. In the photos the trails are already attached to
the axle, which has the gun frame in place, but there are no instructions on how
this was all assembled. This is where the Zvezda kit came in handy.
left it off while I cleaned out the connecting points of the trail and adjacent
parts and worked on their attachment to the axle. Again, to minimize damage to
the gun assembly I left it off until after all the trail parts were installed.
know that I want to use this kit in a deployed setting, so I built the gun with
the trails splayed and the firing supports down for action. (Position the firing
supports at 3:00 for travel, or at 6:00 for when the gun is in action; ideally,
the crew will have dug the ground out below the tires so the weapon rests on the
firing supports.) However, it appears there should be a second half to the retaining
collars that hold the firing supports to the axle. I found a stray part "G"
in one of the baggies that resembled a collar, but there was only one and not
two, and there was no reference for it in the instructions list or in the photos.
odd omission from the kit are two handjacks that would be used to help emplace
the gun. I made a pair from plastic rod the approximate diameter of the hole in
the stowage bracket and the length of the distance between the bracket and the
plate (which I had to add) where the handjack rested. I suspect there may have
been a strap to secure the jacks but haven't seen them in photos.
M1 was equipped with a castor wheel that could be attached to the trails to aid
in positioning the gun. This is not in the kit, and is often missing from archival
photos, so its absence is negible. The CD-ROM from Easy 1 has a good illustration
of the castor if you're inclined to scratchbuild one; you'll probably also need
to add some fittings to the trail, since any attachments points were not apparent
the instructions show that you can swivel the drawbar assembly (with the lunette
that attaches to the towing vehicle), it would be helpful to tell the modeler
that the "up" position was for manhandling the gun into place, and the
down position was for towing.
left the tires off the model so the gun and carriage can be painted and weathered
separately. The gun was fielded with both commercial and combat styles of tires.
lower shield is connected to the axle with a couple paper thin fin brackets. Be
careful so you glue them properly to the shield. There is no direction for attaching
the shield (43) to the cradle, but it should be pretty evident. The gun barrel
is shown attached here as well; it's a snug fit. I added it after the shield so
as not to have any problem slipping the shield over the flared end of the barrel.
apron is shown attached in the raised position, secured with a pair of photoetched
hooks passed through rings. This is a little tricky but can be done. Or you can
leave the apron down if the gun is in firing position.
kit comes with some tools, but they aren't shown in the instructions. In an impressive
bit of casting, the apron has several tie-downs that are hollow or nearly hollow
and you could work some paper straps through them if you wanted to secure the
tools for travel. But I bet the crews just tossed them into the back of their
the bottom of the box was a thin piece of brass wire. There are no indications
in the instructions as to what it's for. But I surmised it was to cut up and bend
for the four small cleats on the center front of the shield. They appear faintly
in one of the photos, but there are no directions for installation and no template
or length given.
of the confusion and frustration caused by the directions is offset to a good
extent by Resicast's inclusion of a good assortment of ordnance, including armor-piercing
and high-explosive shells and empty casings (three each). Four closed tubes are
complemented by four open tubes with detached tops. Four closed and two open wooden
boxes are joined by two steel boxes and one M6 chest. This is the right way to
treat the modeler. Coming close to such completeness, a set of decal markings
for the ammo containers would be the crowning touch, but we'll have to research
and create the markings on our own.
of sculpting and molding is excellent. The detail is crisp and complete save for
a few absent bolts on the carriage and the aforementioned missing parts. Beyond
the challenging instructions, the kit goes together well. There is an understandable
presence of thin flash around a number of the delicate pieces that needs care
when cleaning. There was just one air bubble embedded in the shield but it caused
kit far surpasses the Italeri offering and certainly presents the M1 as fielded
by the U.S. It is not inexpensive, however, and Resicast needs to improve the
proofreading and overall quality of its instructions to help ensure the modeler
will have a more enjoyable experience with this complicated kit.
product sample was provided by Resicast.
Corbett displayed this excellent vignette featuring the Resicast 57mm at the 2008