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Built Review
135
MCTAGS Propaganda Version
MCTAGS - Marine Corps Transparent Armored Gun Shield USMC Turret Propaganda version with back loudspeaker mount, mission payload module metal storm Non-Lethal Weapon System and PLATT SWING MOUNT with M240G (LRE-35231)
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by: Eric Buchanan [ WXEROCK ]

Introduction:

Non-lethal weapons (NLW) definition - ďWeapons, devices and munitions that are explicitly designed and primarily employed to incapacitate targeted personnel or materiel immediately, while minimizing fatalities, permanent injury to personnel, and undesired damage to property in the targeted area or environment. Non-lethal weapons are intended to have reversible effects on personnel or materiel.Ē

The Marine Corps issued an urgent request for a powerful non-lethal weapon that fires volleys of 40mm grenades in 2009. Metal Storm Inc. replied by developing Mission Payload Module Ė Non-Lethal Weapon System (MPM-NLWS), multi-shot, electrically actuated, non lethal munitions grenade launcher. The system consists of ten launch tubes designed for firing multiple flash bang grenades out to a range of approximately 150 meters. Mounted on a mobile platform, like the MCTAGS Turret, the weapon provides force protection at checkpoints, during mobile patrols/convoys, and control crowds.

Review:

Marine Corps Transparent Armored Gun Shield USMC Turret Propaganda version (LRE-35231) set depicts a BAE Systems MCTAGS turret with a Platt swing arm mount, a M240 machine gun, a bank of six loud speakers and Mission Payload Module Non-Lethal Weapon System (MPM-NLWS) made by Metal Storm Incorporated. This turret as depicted is meant to be mounted on a M1114 or M1151 HMMWV used by the USMC in crowd control situations.

The set comes packaged, like all similar sets that Live Resin makes, in zipper bags in a small, white card stock box.The box has color photos with renderings of the assembled set. There are 55 pieces of finely cast gray resin on 19 pour plugs. There are 6 finely cast clear pieces on 1 pour plug. These clear pieces are just a little foggy. According to photos, these armored windows are covered by thin plastic sheets that appear scratched and dirty. The clear resin replicates this look very well. The attachment points on the parts are very well engineered and are relatively easy to remove. The resin is almost as strong as styrene and is easy to work. As with styrene, the smallest pieces must be handled with care as they may break during removal from their pour plugs and during assembly. The detail on the castings is very sharp, even incredible. Many of the parts are very complex and would require many additional pieces if done in any other medium. That said, if done in any other medium, there would be much less detail present. Much of the detail that Live Resin has captured would have been greatly simplified. Live Resinís resin casting technology is some of the best, if not the best available. There were, however, a couple of small parts that were broken at some point. There are two joystick like assemblies that are part of the turret that were both missing the joystick ball. The renderings show an empty .30 cal ammo can in the ammo tray attached to the weapon mount. That can is not on any of the pour plugs. There are a few parts on the pour plugs that are not shown in the renderings or on the instructions. All of these parts are related to the M240. These parts are the carrying handle, a bipod, both folded and open, and a sight. Their inclusion is nice and is not accidental. Unlike other companies who include an entire sprue just to give you one part, there are parts on the plug along with these that are only used in this set. The parts for the non-lethal launcher and the speaker assembly are beautiful. The loud speaker assembly is simple. The real item is made of sheet metal, speakers and some wire. The resin versions of the metal assemblies are very thin and realistic looking. There are locating lugs on many of the parts that are large at first look, but once assembled, they are nearly invisible. On the whole, it is well engineered. The non-lethal launcher consists of only two parts but has some great surface detail.
Assembly:

Like many complex Live Resin sets, there are instructions available for download from the Live Resin website. The instructions are on 6 separate downloadable jpeg images. Assembly is broken down into 17 steps spread over the 6 images. The MCTAGS itself was covered in detail by Mario Matijasic in an earlier review (link). In brief, it is a fantastic model of the complex MCTAGS. Live Resin has engineered the parts of the turret with all of the detail of the original. An observation about the instructions; it is nice that Live Resin has produced these instructions, they are however not very well done nor are they very helpful. They have no part callouts and are not at all useful when it comes to placing many of the parts. Very careful study of the renderings will be necessary to ensure you donít forget any parts. Criticism aside, the parts are so well engineered that the poor instructions are not much of a problem. Anyone with some skill, good references and a few models under their belt will be able to assemble this kit.

In the photos I have numbered parts for the following 3 steps as 1-18. I have numbered them in my suggested assembly sequence.

Page 1, Step 1 In this step you assemble the major parts of the turret sides to the base. These parts have positive mounting locations and go together easily. These is very slight warpage to the parts. The side walls will need careful alignment with the rear wall. The storage box on the turret rear is shown in this step, but do not use it if you intend to use the speaker assembly.

Page 1, Step 2 This step shows the hatch in the open and closed positions. The renderings should have been produced with one side of the turret missing. It would have made more sense to show the hatch in both positions from the same view. I ran into one small problem while assembling the hatch. The hatch is made up of three parts. If I had assembled the hatch in the closed position, it would have aligned perfectly.When I tried to assemble the three parts in their folded configuration, they didnít align very well due to very slight warpage.This step also shows a small, supplemental armor shield to the gunnerís left.

Page 1, Step 3 This step shows the assembly for the main weapons mount and is straight forward.

Page 2, Steps 1-3 These steps are easy to follow and show the assembly of the main weapons shield.

Page 3, steps 1-3 These steps show the placement of the windows and are easy to follow. The glass fits into the frames very well.

In the photos I have numbered parts for the following 3 steps as 19-37. I have also numbered them in my suggested assembly sequence.

Page 4, steps 1-3 This is the first real problem with the instructions. I would assemble the entire box first. If you add the speaker horns in the first step, the box will be difficult to assemble around them. The box uses wedge shaped tabs that are a tight fit and will need careful pressure to get them to seat together without breaking. You can add the center cones, but do not add the horns until after the box is complete. The horns will need careful trimming before they fit cleanly. You can see in photos of the assembled box where is had issues making the parts fit cleanly because I followed the instructions.

Page 5, Steps 1-2 These two steps show the shelf for the speaker assembly being added to the back of the turret. This assembly is pretty easy. The three coils are actually wound coils of cable that are meant to dampen the vibration from the speakers. They are the one item in the kit that are too simplified for my taste, but I donít see how Live Resin could have done them any differently. If you want to add some detail here, the ends of the coils should be drilled out a bit deeper. There is a slot in the bottom of each coil that is easy to miss, but they set down over the raised blocks on the base. There is also a very hard to see groove along the top of each coil that corresponds to a bar on the bottom of the base. These grooves must line up if the bar is to drop down into them cleanly.

Page 5, Step 3 This step shows the attachment of the non-lethal launcher and its base on the main weapons shield. The placement of the base is a little vague. A clear reference photo is helpful here.

Page 6, Steps 1-2 These steps show the assembly of the Platt swing arm, weapons cradle and the M240 machine gun. These steps are clear and straightforward. There is one part here which requires critical placement, and that is the base for the swing arm. It mounts to the turret wall between two of the windows. Make sure you get the mount vertical between the windows or the arm will not sit level with the ground. The steps also show the placement of a belt of ammo from the M240 into an ammo box, but as Iíve said earlier, this ammo box doesnít appear to be included.

Conclusion:

This set is another solid offering from Live Resin. It is an unusual subject that can be used in a variety of settings. I can see it being used in a crowd control setting in a Middle East country or a post-apocalyptic setting with equal impact. I highly recommend it.

My thanks go out to Live Resin for providing me with the review sample.
SUMMARY
Highs: Great subject, fantastic detail, overall good fit.
Lows: The loud speaker assembly is complex and while the fit is good, the order of assembly should be altered to ensure better fit. No ammo box for M240?
Verdict: Highly recommended.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: LRE-35231
  Related Link: Live Resin website
  PUBLISHED: Apr 15, 2017
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 95.00%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 93.95%

Our Thanks to Live Resin!
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 Eric Buchanan (WXerock)
FROM: CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES

Copyright ©2017 text by Eric Buchanan [ WXEROCK ]. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Hello everyone, I have to apologize for the bad quality of the photos that I have added text to. I used Microsoft PowerPoint to add the text and didn't realize how far it lowered the resolution of the photos when I saved them. I will be looking for a better alternative today. Regards, Eric
APR 15, 2017 - 05:07 AM
Thanks for the review, I purchased 2 MCTAGS units from Live Resin. Their stuff is just superb.
APR 15, 2017 - 05:45 AM
Now this is a cool variant that I've never seen before. So many options...
APR 15, 2017 - 02:48 PM
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