The 84mm Carl Gustaf reloadable Recoilless Rifle comes in two versions, the older M3 variant and the newer M4 version mainly used by U.S. special operations forces. The M3 version, acquired for regular infantry units, weighs in at 22lbs compared to the 15lbs for a single-shot 84mm AT-4 rocket launcher, respectively.
The M4 version (officially named M3E1 by the U.S. Military) is much lighter and weighs 15lbs, the same as one AT-4 rocket launcher because it uses lighter materials (titanium and carbon fiber), has a Pictinny Rail System, a Red-Dot sight, a shot counter to record the number of rounds fired, and is shorter than the M3.
Both M3 and M4 Recoilless Rifles fire ammunition with a range of 350-400 meters against moving targets, 500m against stationary targets, and up to 700-1,000m using smoke and high explosive rounds as area weapons. A new laser-guided round for use against structures and vehicles would reach out to 2,000 meters, respectively, and is due to enter demonstrations in 2020.1 Each round weighs around 6 to 9.5lbs and is carried separately in individual twin-stack container tubes. The LF3D065 kit includes eight rounds of HEAT (Anti-armor), Smoke (obscurant and masking), High Explosive (Anti-personnel), and High Explosive Dual Purpose (Anti-Structure). With a firing rate of six rounds-a-minute and a lifespan of 500 rounds for the M3 version and 1,000 rounds for the M4 version, the Carl Gustafs give the U.S. and NATO soldiers a reloadable rocket launcher that can reach out to ranges that the 700m-1,000m 7.62mm AK-47 enjoyed because the 5.56mm M-16A2 (600m maximum effective range), M4 carbine (550m maximum effective range), and SAW machine gun (800m maximum effective range) were outranged in firefights. The 84mm Carl Gustaf acts as a reloadable RPG launcher, able to load and fire a variety of ammunition types dictated by the situation, and gives Western soldiers immense tactical firepower at the small unit level.
The term Recoilless Rifle means that the backblast from firing the round is so great that it negates the recoil of the launch, leaving the gunner standing still instead of tilting forward or backwards when the round leaves the launcher. Such a fiery backblast is dangerous, so sufficient space (up to 75 meters) should be cleared behind the Recoilless Rifle. The overpressure from the blast is such that Carl Gustaf gunners are limited to firing six rounds a day or else the shockwaves might injure them. Assistant gunners or other team members are also limited to firing six rounds a day.
What Can These Kits be Used For?
These two Legend Productions kits appear very nice with fine casting, details, and small parts on small and thin pour blocks. The huge amount of firepower, range, capability, and options the M4 Carl Gustafs add to the soldier, unit, and vehicle is incredible. This Recoilless Rifle launcher is a total “Game Changer” and “Force Multiplier” to your 1/35 modern model vehicle(s) and/or figure(s) and takes away the “Small Arms bullet fight” by adding eight destructive rockets with the Ammunition Set. Before for the U.S. soldier, mainly sniper rifles and the heavy M240 machine gun could reach out to 1,000m to return effective fire against the Russian 7.62mm AK-47 and PKM and RPD machine guns, and often these heavy weapons were not carried by small U.S. soldier squads.
As of August 2019, no 1/35 figure exists firing a Carl Gustav rocket launcher. Therefore, unless one kitbashes a figure together with spare parts, these kits (unfortunately) cannot be shown being fired. Nonetheless, these Legend kits add tremendous value to any 1/35 soldier or vehicle that carries them because they increase the overall firepower of the models represented.
The common modeler’s practice would be to glue the M4 Carl-Gutaf on the back of a 1/35 soldier figure and add a strap across a shoulder, or carry it in the figure’s hands either by the trigger or cradled in the arms since the M4 Recoilless Rifle lacks a carrying handle.
For the U.S. Army
If modelers want regular 1/35 infantry soldiers and vehicles to have the Carl Gustaf, use the Legend Productions M3 version (Kit number LF3D066). As of 2019, the M4 Carl Gustaf version is only used by U.S. special forces. The U.S. Army wants to assign one M3 Recoilless Rifle to each 20-50 soldier Platoon.2 For the Special Forces, they can carry as many M4 Carl Gustafs as deemed necessary for the mission. U.S. Army units assigned the M4 Carl Gustaf would be the Special Forces (better known as the Green Berets), the 75th Ranger Regiment, and the Top Secret Delta Force.
M4 Recoilless Rifles and the Legend Ammunition Set can be placed on the cargo beds or interiors of Special Forces’ JLTVs, M-ATVs, RZRs, MRAPs, ATVs, 4X4 FMTV “Warpig,” Technical pickup trucks, riding animals, or just about any vehicle driven by U.S. special operations force Operators, be it land, sea (special forces boats), or rotorcraft (MH/AH-6s, MH-47s, and MH-60s). The M4 Carl Gustaf would look great on special forces’ Forward Operating Base vignette and dioramas.
For the U.S. Marine Corps
The U.S.M.C. plans to assign one M3 to each 13-man Marine squad.3 For the M4 version, the U.S. Special Operations Command’s (USSOCOM), Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC) would be the users, and similar to the U.S. Army’s special operations community, the M4 Recoilless Rifle version would be found on any vehicle or riding animal driven and used by MARSOC.
Other Special Force Communities
Practically any special forces Operator in USSOCOM could use the M4 Carl Gustaf, such as the U.S. Navy SEALs and Special Boat Crews and the U.S. Air Force Pararescue and Combat Controllers. The British SAS and SBS have no record of using the M3 and M4 although they did use the M2 version up until the early 1990s. Referring to Wikipedia, NATO and European nations still seem to use the M3 Carl Gustaf instead of the newer, shorter, and lighter M4 Carl Gustaf.
With the “Anything goes for accuracy rules” regarding non-historical fantasy and Sci-Fi, these two kits could also arm any 1/35 Post-Apocalyptic or Rebel vehicle, Black Market seller’s tables, insurgents with captured U.S. weapons, U.S. Private Military Contractors who are former special forces, CIA Special Activities Division Operators, Allies who are supplied the M4 and fight alongside USSOCOM, and Sci-Fi soldiers.
Because the M4 Carl Gustaf version is mainly issued to the special operations community of military users, I doubt that this weapon would be in the hands of police or ordinary civilians unless it was captured or requisitioned.
Special Thanks to Legend Productions of South Korea for the two review samples.
1 Wikipedia: “84mm Carl Gustaf Recoilless Rifle.”
2 ArmyTimes: “Every Army Infantry Platoon to get Carl Gustaf.” June 1, 2016. https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2016/06/01/every-army-infantry-platoon-to-get-Carl Gustaf
3 MarineTimes: “NEW IN 2019: Carl Gustaf is closer to a squad near you.” December 26, 2018.
Highs: Excellent attention to details, superb casting, design, and 3D color images. Four 1/35 M4 Carl Gustafs with ammunition and eight rounds of ammunition for the Ammunition kit is generous.Lows: No assembly instructions are included. One has to research what one is looking at in order to understand the ammunition rounds and the M4 Carl Gustaf's attachment devices and specifications.Verdict: These two Legend Productions sets are the award winners for anyone wanting to increase the firepower of the scene. The choice of ammunition means that the 1/35 modern figures are "prepared to bust" threats from tanks to bunkers to personnel.
About Peter Ong (Trisaw) FROM: CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
I model modern topics, mainly post 1991 Gulf War onwards.
My modeling interests include:
* Science-fiction/ fantasy
* 1/100 Gundam
* 1/35 armor
* Kitbashed projects
* Special Forces
* Resin or plastic modern figures
* 1/24 Police, fire, medical, and Government vehicles
* Rare, unique, ori...