Ukrainian Models Military Technics
Air Defense Station Model 1931
|Kit #: 635||
- Al Magnus
Above photograph used with permission from Henk of Holland.
Opening the box revealed two dark green, styrene like plastic sprues, a small fret of photo-etched copper, a short section of wire plus the instruction sheet. Alas, I was to be disappointed, for a closer inspection revealed flaws, and this was going to be a much more difficult build than anticipated. The plastic parts exhibited some flash and mold misalignment, which I could accept, but to my consternation I found some serious sink marks - one small mark marring one of the two Maxim MGs on each sprue frame, and a much more severe one on both gun bases. Most disheartening! Fixing the MG sink marks would erase most of the fine ribbing on the water jacket and at the time I wasn't relishing a search for replacement MGs. Fixing the sink marks on the bases would require extensive repairs (see below).
As a result, the kit was shelved, until sometime later I happened upon a picture (found in reference ) of this gun, adapted for use a pair of German 20mm MGFF guns, for airfield defence. Well, now I had some hope that this kit would actually get built, assuming I could find some MGFF guns. A web search turned up a set from Aires (kit number 7134), a company that specializes in resin aircraft detail sets. I purchased a copy for a decent price from a web store and when they arrived, I was off to the races.
First I had to fix the UMmt base and add some detail.
The centre shaft was cut out and replaced with some half round plastic rod and a semi-circular brace was fashioned from some wire and added across the shaft. The kit's underside of the base was inaccurate. It was removed and replaced with a disc punched from some plastic sheet. The three etched legs were added and braces cut from plastic rod replaced the intended wire. A scratchbuilt gearbox & shaft, plus a shaft clamp were added to the left side of the base. A handle was added to the kit's etched crank. Since the MGFFs are air cooled, while the Maxims are water cooled, the Germans would have plugged the hose connectors located on the top front of the base. I replicated the plugs using small plastic discs.
The mount was modified to accept the Aires guns. Wanting a more solid unit, I rebuilt most of it using plastic rod and a few of the kit's parts. A pair of shoulder braces were scratchbuilt. I could not discerne in the reference photo where any sights were located nor their type, so I didn't manufacture any. I hope to rectify this some day in the future should I be fortunate enough to find another photo of this gun.
Aires provides four guns and four snail-shell ammo drums. According to , ammo options were a 15 round, curved magazine, or drums of 30, 45, 60 or 100 rounds. Which drum versions is represented by Aires I can not tell. My guess is they're either the 45 or 60 round versions, solely based on their size. What I can not also tell is whether the guns are Ausf.A or Ausf.B versions. My guess is they are the former. But when you get down to it, at this scale it is pretty much a moot point. The guns are mirror-imaged, that is, one pair is for left handed mounts and the other pair is for right handed mounts. You can get a better idea of what I'm talking about in the second picture below of the Eduard 1/48 scale set.
All the parts are well cast showing just a little flash. Detail is excellent, even representing the return spring and the ammo drum ribs with finesse. Some of the barrels were slightly warped, which was easily fixed. The flash suppressors need to be drilled out. According to , the real weapon is 1370mm long, or 19mm in 1/72 scale. I measure them out to 18mm, so they are a bit under scale, but not noticeably so.
The only modification the guns needed was the addition of handles. Their exact location is guesswork, so I just added them to the bottom side at the rear end of the guns. My reference picture in  doesn't show any ammunition mounted so I just went with the supplied drums.
Now that the base, mount and guns were finished, painting and final assembly was in order. The guns were sprayed flat black enamel and dry brushed with silver and panzer grey enamels. The mount and base were painted Russian green. Everything was assembled and then flat coated.
Review samples purchased by the author.
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