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In-Box Review
135
57mm M1
57mm M1 anti-tank gun with crew
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by: Peter Ganchev [ PGP000 ]


_ORGINPUB:
Armorama

Introduction

The M1 was a version of the famous British 6-pounder – a 57mm anti-tank gun, adapted for US service in 1943 after the 37mm M3 proved inadequate. By the time it became the main ATG for US forces, the M1 was faced by the Panther and other heavy German tanks. That, along with the insufficient mobility of towed guns in the era of fast-paced combat put it out of service in the US shortly after WWII ended.

Other plastic kits

Multiple companies have released plastic kits of the QF 6-pounder in 1/35, but few offer the M1 variety. We’ve had the Testors mold since the early 1980s. More recently AFV Club has issued several M1 kits, including a rendering of the British narrow-track carriage as used by US airborne divisions. There are also 2 multimedia kits by Resicast and Orange hobby.

Contents

Riich Model themselves offer several different kits, with the review subject being the only one with a US crew included in the box. It depicts a gun with the early M1A3 carriage U.S. Army adopted in 1943.
A sturdy top-opening box holds 7 sprues:
- 2 for the gun itself,
- 1 smaller for the 2-part shield,
- 2 for the wheels,
- 1 for the ammo and crates,
- 1 for the 3 crew and 2 infantry figures.
Also inside are a PE fret, a decal sheet and a length of string.
The larger the part – the better the detail on it. The Plastic color varies from one sprue to another with the crew one being the lightest. Same goes for quality. There is no flash, but some sprues do feature mold parting lines; the one with the crew figures actually has a prominent mold shift on all parts but not on the runners themselves.

Build Review

Instructions show 9 building steps and while the steps are logical – they rarely show the completed assemblies. Throughout the entire build sequence of the gun is shown from the left, using only outline drawings, which makes verification of part position particularly hard.

In step 1 I had trouble keeping parts B43 and B49 in position, and ended up gluing them fixed to the gun barrel assembly. Instead of movable I elected to display the breech block open, so the lever B47 was pivoted down towards the rear and glued in horizontal position instead of vertical in step 2.

The first problem with part placement came in step 3 with part B11, and a long search for reference images ensued. The 6-pounder walkaround I discovered also helped glue parts P11 and P12 in the correct locations. Another issue in step 4 are the posts for the tow cable on the front of the shield – they can easily be broken off, so after I knock 2 of them I made new ones of computer network cable, and superglued those in place.

My gun has its aiming port open (step 5). In step 6 again make use of your references for proper placement of part A44. Part B6 (B5 on the left trail) fits a bit loosely, which may result in a tilted gun, so use a slow setting glue and dry-fit the two trails before proceeding to step 8. Part B21 needs to have its longer protrusion pointing to the inside on both trails.

This is the first kit where I had no issues with the PE parts included. I bent all PE parts (including the cleaning rod clamps) with the etched grooves pointing outwards, obtaining acceptable results – and none broke.

If you want to have your gun in firing position you can leave part B17 off and use it as a spacer between the gun trails. I left the cleaning rods in steps 6 and 7 off for ease of painting.

In step 8 reference pictures are key to proper alignment and getting your gun to sit level.

Step 9: the PE rings on wheel hubs (parts P8) lack any support on the flat part, so you might want to cut out a notch in parts E12 before supergluing them in.

The figures in the kit appear to be designed by a different team – they are much softer in terms of detail, feature prominent mold parting lines and mold shift throughout, and do require filler when assembled. I used a drill and a bronze polishing brush to remove the mold parting lines, then fine sandpaper and Q-tips dipped in acetone to smooth parts.

With the proper care taken of them they will look OK, especially when added on and around the gun. The M1 Garands will require additional work around the muzzle, and the modeler needs to create carry slings for them.

I opted to use brass ammo from RB Model instead of the kit supplied one, as painting wouldn’t have provided the brass finish I am looking for.

The decals provided did not conform to shells or the wooden box I built despite my liberal application of decal solution, so were left out.

Conclusions

Riich Model provides a relatively rare subject to build, and the gun kit itself does leave an overall positive impression. It represents the gun and its details well. Provided you have the reference material to check part position the gun should take you couple of hours to put together without much work outside of separating parts and cleaning sprue gates. The PE set is well-engineered, is flexible enough, and most plastic parts feature small molded-on rectangles that serve as a base for the PE details.

The crew, while a nice thing to have in a kit, requires significant preparation and assembly effort. Decals and ammo are disappointing, which will put people off, especially considering the kit price.
Recommended with reservations.

SUMMARY
Highs: Detailed, optional tires, positionable trails, gun crew included, useful PE.
Lows: Price, quality of crew, ammo and decals.
Verdict: Ideally you have references at the ready, and don’t mind giving the kit some TLC after spending $50+ on it and the replacement brass ammo.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: RV35019
  Suggested Retail: over $45
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Feb 19, 2016
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 84.77%
  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 Peter Ganchev (pgp000)
FROM: GRAD SOFIYA, BULGARIA

I bought and built my first kit in 1989. Since then it's been on and off until about 4 years ago, when modelling became the main stress-relief technique. Starting with 1/72 aviation I've diversified into armor, trucks, artillery and figures, as well as a number of other scales.

Copyright ©2019 text by Peter Ganchev [ PGP000 ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Model Shipwrights. All rights reserved.



Comments

Thanks for the great review and build. I had been eyeing this kit, but after seeing the figures, I will definitely be taking a pass. Over the past I have not been fully happy with Riich quality. After Bronco released their 6 pounder, Riich used the same molds and added figures, and the quality of the moldings was no where as good as the Bronco release of the same kit, and just like this one, the quality of the figures was very questionable. Based on the current price I have seen on Riich new releases, and Bronco new releases, they may be pricing themselves out of the market.
FEB 18, 2016 - 07:19 PM
THANKS for the insightful review! I was thinking about buying this particular kit, but after reading your very comprehensive review, I think I'll pass, instead. Guess I'll build my RESICAST US M1 57mm AT Gun, instead...
FEB 18, 2016 - 07:25 PM
I tend to agree with you, Kevin. However, BRONCO DOES give you a higher-than-average parts count in their kits. They can be a bit more complicated than other 1/35 kits, but you do get first-rate quality inside the box... PS- BRONCO also corrects their rare mistakes... PPS- High prices got you a little "down"? Try the various vendors on ebay- you may be surprised...
FEB 18, 2016 - 07:29 PM
I agree with the quality, but I have seen some of the 4 airborne figure sets list for over $36USD, while you seen the newest 4-5 figure sets coming from MasterBox listed at less then $20USD. Also compare these: List Price:$57USD List Price: $72USD I would think the first kit would have more parts and definately more plastic. My local hobby store has stopped stocking Bronco, and will only bring them in on special orders due to price. Now in North America, I believe the price issue is being caused by Dragon USA, as they have the exclusive distribution. I have notice the prices in Asia, while seem to be rising for Bronco, don't seem to be as drastic as the price increases in N.America.
FEB 18, 2016 - 07:50 PM
Admittedly these are my first 35th scale figures and DSLR photoshoot, so I am not authoritative on the quality and detail (and guess my US uniform colors are way off). The poses are great, but the mold quality on the figures is from an earlier era. It's a pity because this appears to be the sole readily available US gun crew that fits the M1.
FEB 18, 2016 - 11:55 PM
I am still living in the past but $45+/- is too much for me for a small ATG, regardless of the detail.
FEB 19, 2016 - 02:05 AM
agree with you JPTRR
FEB 19, 2016 - 04:41 AM
I picked up my RESICAST US M1 57mm ATG for $34.95USD + about $8.00 shipping on ebay a few (3 or 4) years ago... Sure, it's a primarily resin "mult-media" kit, and a lot of modellers prefer plastic, but I thought that I got a good deal... The $45.00 + price for a small AT Gun IS expensive, but really, it's quite in proportion to the $80.00+ (retail) prices some of us are plunking down for the latest 100cm Schwehre Strurm Kanone auf Pz.XLIII Ausf.Z/47 Sd.Kfz 8000 und eine viertl Selbstfahrlafette (Eingeschossener, Trop.) "Schweinehund"...
FEB 19, 2016 - 12:58 PM
Sorry Kevin but you must be quite mistaken, the Riich and Bronco 6 Pdrs are different tooling and different guns (Bronco AB Mk IV and Riich Mk IV). They are definately not the same major parts with diferent parts for the differing versions and some different parts breakups for major assemblies of parts which should be identical in both versions of the Gun. The quality of molding in my three examples is the equal of Broncos. The Figures in the Riich 6 pdr set RV35042 are easily the equal of the figures in Bronco's CB 35168 although I will concede two figures had a little flash but the detail, fit and quality were equal as are the Guns with a few less fiddly parts on the Riich gun. THe Ammunition sets with decals are again equally as good as each other and contained in both kits. I personally prefer the AFV club 6 pdr for ease of assembly but having played with all of the available 6 pdr kits from Riich, AFV and Bronco the Bronco gun is the fiddliest requiring a black belt in micro origami for the excessive PE. All three manufacturers are excellent kits and each Bronco and Riich gun comes with Ammo sets and Crews which are easily the equal of each other. In fact they could quite concievably been tooled and moulded by the same manufacturer. In summary the Riich 6 pdr and M1 57mm kits are the equals of the Bronco AB guns and much better value for money than the AFV club gun as they include crew and extensive Ammo sets. I decided to check the M1 57mm kit and would concur that the Small arms for the crew suck and some of the Figure detail slightly soft but pretty much on par with most of DML's allied releases (Figures not gear). Al
FEB 20, 2016 - 01:11 PM
   

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