This is a pretty rare and unique subject for modeling and for smallscale modeling; a light anti-aircraft artillery piece
and one that is not German.
History For the Modeler:This model by Solfig (Retrokit) represents the mitrailleuse de 25 mm contre-aéroplanes modèle 1939 with a heavier more stable
carriage and a trailer very similar to the German 2-cm Flak 30 and Flak 38 AA guns. The Germans captured many of these guns and used them as the 2.5cm Flak Hotchkiss 38 or
2.5cm Flak Hotchkiss 39, depending on the mount.
The weapon was developed to a French post-WW1 specification for an autocannon for use against aircraft. Initially not accepted, I understand the French adopted
it when war loomed, but only a few hundred were produced up to 1940. The weapon was produced under license by Japan as the Type 96 25mm AT/AA gun.
Romania had contracted to purchase tripod-mounted version titled mitrailleuse de 25 mm contre-aéroplanes modèle 1938 and were sold or given some by Germany
as war booty. The mitrailleuse de 25 mm contre-aéroplanes modèle 1940 was a fixed mount variant for naval and static use. I understand that Spain purchased
five of these naval AA guns for mounting on their destroyers in 1935 just prior to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. A twin barrel ground mount variant
was the mitrailleuse de 25 mm contre-aéroplanes modèle 1940 jumelée.
The weapon could be used in the AA and AT role, like the Flak 30 and Flak 38, and was fed by a 15-round box magazine loaded into the top
of the gun.
This comes in a sturdy corrugated cardboard box in a ziplock bag and surrounded by bubble wrap. The box art photograph shows a period
photo of the gun in action with two crewmen showing the size of the weapon compared to the crew. Like the Flak 30 and 38, the gunner sat at a seat behind the gunsight
and gun and used traverse and elevation handwheels to aim the automatic cannon. The loader is kneeling on the ground feeding a 15-round magazine into the top of the gun
(one book I have states this is a 10-round magazine).
|This scan shows the 23 pale green, cast resin parts for the gun and trailer. At far right is the pour plug with
the base and the gun carriage. At bottom left is the pour plug with the trailer, handwheels, gunner's seat, a single box magazine and the 25mm gun. The gun barrel
is a little warped but can be straightened in some hot, not boiling, water. At the top left are the very well done wheels for the trailer.
This scan shows the opposite side of the kit parts. I like the way the parts are attached with the
long rods from the pore plug making separation and clean-up simple. The casting and detail looks good and convincing. I regret that there are no crew figures
included, but considering it served with at least four nations, the lack of crew may be just as well.
Here is a photo from Retrokit of the unpainted completed model showing what it should look like when assembled.
Unlike many resin kits I have purchased, this one comes with an exploded view assembly instruction sheet
which is very welcome. The parts are not numbered on the sheet, and there are no numbers on the parts themselves, but the drawing is pretty clear where things should go.
The instructions note that this is for kit R72031 which I am guessing is the old Retrokit number for this model.
We can model this AA gun in service with France, Japan, Romania, and Germany; from the Northwest European front 1939 to 1944, to the
Eastern Front 1941 to maybe 1945. I have even seen one photo of the Hotchkiss 25mm AA Mle.38 or 39 mounted on a Sd.Kfz.251 halftrack.
I have not found much information on it in my reference books but the websites below, and a Google search give plenty of reference photos to work from.
Review sample provided by Marc Urwicz of Solfig.
 The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, General Editor Chris Bishop, Orbis Publishing Ltd., 1998. Page 165. ISBN: 1-58663-762-2
 Munavia-21.org (part of histavia.net)
 WorldWar2.ro (Romanian Armed Forces in the Second World War)
 Solfig kit list