by: Stephen T. Lawson [ ]
Originally published on:
Copper State Models Ltd. Kit Set # A48-145 Lewis Mk II machine gun
The Lewis gun was invented by US Army Colonel Issac Newton Lewis in 1911, based on initial work by Samuel Maclean. Despite its origins, the Lewis gun was not initially adopted by the American military—most likely because of political differences between Lewis and General Crozier, the Chief of the Ordnance Department. Lewis became frustrated with trying to persuade the US Army to adopt his design and so ("slapped by rejections from ignorant hacks", as he said), retired from the army. He left the United States in 1913 and headed to Belgium, where he established the Armes Automatique Lewis Company in Liège to facilitate commercial production of the gun Mr. Lewis had been working closely with British arms manufacturer, The Birmingham Small Arms Co. Ltd. (BSA) in an effort to overcome some of the production difficulties of the weapon The Belgians bought a small number of Lewis guns in 1913, using the .303 round, Then in 1914, BSA purchased a license to manufacture the Lewis machine gun in England, which resulted in Col. Lewis receiving significant royalties and becoming very wealthy. Lewis and his factory moved to England before 1914.
The Lewis gun has the distinction of being the first machine gun fired from an aeroplane; on 7 June 1912 Captain C. Chandler of the US Army fired a prototype Lewis gun from the foot-bar of a Wright Model B Flyer. The modified Lewis gun was extensively used on British and French aircraft during World War I, as either an observer's or gunner's weapon or as an additional or alternate weapon to the more common Vickers. It had the big barrel guard removed. In the case of the MK II a smaller guard was employed. The Lewis gun was valued so much by both side of the war that there were some instances where captured examples were used on German 2 seaters & multi-crew aircraft.
Copper State Models has done examples of 3 production Lewis machine guns. The # A48-145 kit is the middle production version known as the Lewis Mk II machine gun. It can be seen on allied aircraft in photos from 1916 – 1917. The big rear ring and bead gun sight was often not added for most “over the wing” installations. The big sight rings in the kit were seen specifically as rear gunner options. The kit comes with parts for complete 2 guns, with 4 resin and 5 PE parts per gun. The exploded view instructions are well done.
"Some of the aircraft" that the Lewis gun was routinely applied to were;
DeHavilland DH 2
Nieuport single & two seater
Sopwith 1.5 Strutter
Sopwith F.1 Camel (night fighters)
Sopwith 2F.1 Camel
SE 5 & 5a types
Vickers Gun Bus
I have to say that this set is better detailed than any other kit items I have seen in this scale. Connection socket union needs to be opened up. The parts are small by nature so do not remove them from the bag until ready to use.
Methods of payment are listed on their website copperstatemodels.com . At this time you must contact them through their website for prices and delivery schedules.
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