The story of the M16 rifle is one of most turbulent and controversial episodes in the whole history of US small arms. It was hastily adopted as an interim weapon system, but eventually soldiered on to see more than 40 years of active service with dozens of variants and derivatives around the world.
The M16A4 is the fourth generation of the M16 series; it is based on M16A2 but provides greater adaptability through its flat-top upper receiver rail unit for mounting optical sights and night vision devices, and a handguard rail adapter system for attaching vertical grips, flashlights and laser targeting systems (hence the “Modular Weapon System” designation). The M16A4 was introduced during Operation Iraqi Freedom and continues to serve as the primary assault rifle of the US Marine Corps.
Live Resin is a resin company from Russia, specialized in producing high quality weapon and accessory sets. This review covers their US Army M16A4 Modular Weapon System with rail interface system (LRE-35032) set.
The US Army M16A4 MWS set is packed in a zip-lock bag with the resin pieces additionally protected between a firm cardboard backing. The box art on the front shows all the kit parts, while the one on the back lists Live Resin offerings which could be combined with the basic M16A4 kit: US Army scope sets (LRE-35007, LRE-35008 and LRE-35028)), Insight's Technology AN/PEQ-2, AN/PEQ-15 (LRE-35010), Forward grip set (LRE-35011) and Harris bipod set/Surefire tactical Weapon Lights set (LRE-35012).
The kit consists of six M16A4 MWS and six weapon rear sights in 1/35 scale. The pieces are molded in grey resin which is completely clean of any casting imperfections… there is some resin flash residue on the weapons, but it is extremely thin and easily removed.
The M16A4s depicted in this set feature flat top upper receiver with an integral rail and Knight’s Armament Company (KAC) M5 rail adapter system (RAS) handguard consisting of full length quad picatinny rail. This kind of M16A4 is designated MWS (or Modular Weapon System) as the system offers soldiers flexibility to configure their weapons with those accessories required to fulfill an assigned mission: the upper receiver rail provides an attachment point for optical devices while M5 rail handguard could be fitted with various laser designators, forward grips, tactical lights or bipods.
The set provides M16A4s in 3 somewhat different configurations; the slight variance between the weapons comes from the use of rail covers. Rail covers protect the soldier's hands from direct contact with the RAS metal parts and also protect rail surfaces from excess wear and damage. The rail covers are available in 11-, 9-, 6-, 5-, and 4-rib sections. The M16A4s designated as LRE-35032A are represented with fully accessible handguard RAS, those labeled as LRE-35032B have rail covers on the aft part of the RAS, while the ones marked with LRE-35032C feature completely covered RAS with just a small portion of the bottom rail accessible for attachment of the vertical grip.
All M16A4s in this kit feature stock adapter band, providing sling attachment point on the side of the weapon stock, reducing the tendency for the weapon to flip upside down when using standard sling attachment point on the bottom of the stock.
The additional back-up iron sights (BUIS) are supplied in the kit. These are low profile flip-up sights that give soldiers the ability to accurately aim the weapon if the primary optic fails. BUIS can be attached to the upper receiver rail system even when optic is fitted. Although BUIS is currently issued to deploying US troops, I have to admit I didn’t expect to see these tiny resin pieces included in the set. Live Resin has gone the extra mile with these… not only are the details masterfully rendered, but the sight features indentation that fits tightly to the weapon rail: this way the 1/35 scale BUIS mounts to the rail system exactly as the real thing mounts on a real picatinny rail! Something like this was never before done in 1/35 scale and it makes fitting the accessory to the rail system extremely easy.
And now comes the hard part... finding new superlatives for Live Resin products. It may seem like an exaggeration, but check the pictures in this review and see for yourself: these weapons really are a work of art. The rails are wonderfully executed with each rail segment sharp and well defined, numerous details on the receiver are magnificently rendered, and BUIS fitting the rail like the real thing is another groundbreaking concept from Live Resin. There's one thing to note though; the M16A4s in this set are depicted in their basic configuration and need to be upgraded with optics, forward grips and laser designators. All the weapon accessories are available separately from Live Resin... some may complain about buying more sets just to get a "fully operational" weapons, but I actually find it a plus as this enables combining different accessories and building the specific weapon setup.
This kit features the current weapon of choice for US Marine Corps: the M16A4 Modular Weapon System. It includes 6 M16A4s with rail system on the flat top upper receiver, RAS handguards and stock adapter and also 6 separately cast back-up iron sights. The resin cast is absolutely perfect with extremely well defined details. These M16A4s should be "pimped up" with weapon accessories (optical sights, laser designators, forward grips, etc) available separately from Live Resin.