Mauser 3cm MK-103

Attack # RE72347
Schatton # 72053
Preview by Rob Haelterman

Historical background

The Rheinmetall-Borsig MK 103 was a German 30 mm autocannon that was mounted in combat aircraft (like the Hs129, Fw190, Me410 and Do335) during World War II, using a belt feed mechanism.
Developed alongside the MK 103 was the lighter MK 108 cannon, which had a shorter barrel. It fired the same projectile, using a smaller cartridge case with less propellant. The shorter barrel made it more adaptable, so it saw much greater use [1].

In ground use, the MK103 was the basis of the 3cm Flak 103/38 and the 3cm Flakvierling MK103. At the same time it was meant to be the primary weapon of the Flakpanzer IV "Kugelblitz".
The 3cm Flak 103/38 also appeared (probably as a field modification) on an SdKfz 138/1 Geschutzwagen 38m. There was also a Behelfslafette, that might not be too difficult to scratchbuild using this set.

While not in widespread use by the end of the war, it was without any doubt a very destructive weapon.
A drawing of the weapon can be found here.

Sources differ about the overall length, going from 2350mm [1] to 2318mm [2] and 2285mm [3].

What is inside the Attack box

In the box (or rather, blister) you get two gun bodies and four barrels. The barrels have two different types of muzzle brake (one with flat sides and one with individual vent tubes). Both types can be seen in wartime pictures. The instructions do not mention this option, though, but show a gun cradle and an ammo box, that are not provided. I think this is not because Attack forgot to add the parts, but rather that the instructions are wrong for this set. My reasoning is based on the fact that the MK103 was belt-fed and this set is meant for aircraft installation, so there would be no need for the cradle and box. These parts might however be appropriate for Attack kit 72852, which is a conversion set for the SdKfz138/1.

While the barrels aren't too bad, they are slightly warped and the vent holes not perfectly aligned. They are thus no match for Schatton's metal barrel set (vide infra).
The body on the other hand captures the look of the real gun very nicely.
Based on the available information the total gun scales out around 1/70. Given the lack of accurate data, this conclusion needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, even though I have the feeling that the relative proportion between barrel and body is skewed, with the barrel being too long and the body too short, based on the scale drawings by Arthur Bentley.

What is inside the Schatton set

The Schatton set contains two identical barrels with a muzzle brake consisting of individual vents. Both the muzzle and the vents are hollowed out and are an incredible feat of engineering and will be a great improvement of the Attack set, even though they don't come cheap. The whole of the barrel is substantially longer than those in the Attack set, but measured from the taper at the base of the barrel they are identical.
When fitted to the Flakpanzer IV "Kugelblitz", only the constant, narrow section of the barrel and the muzzle brake is seen. The Schatton set measures 13.6mm in this area, while [4] (rescaled to 1/72) gives 13.9mm; an error of only about 2%.
The modeler will thus only need to take care to carefully drill out the Attack gun body.



[1] Wikipedia (English)

[2] Wikipedia (German)

[3] Wehrmacht History

[4] Panzer Tracts 12-1, Flakpanzer IV, T.L. Jentz & H.L. Doyle, Panzer Tracts

Review sample purchased by the author.

This model can be purchased from Tracks & Troops

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Article Last Updated:
26 January 2017
20 November 2017

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