by: Jason Bobrowich [ ]
The late Mr. John M. Browning may not be a household name but his .50 Calibre Heavy Machine Gun in known around the globe on battlefields since WWII as a hard hitting beast of a machine gun.
Still going strong as a premier heavy machine gun M2HB Machine Gun has been mounted on pretty much anything that could support its weight and rapid firing capability. The M2 HB Machine Gun was prominent on many WWII Sherman tank turret tops while perched on pedestal mounts.
Live Resin has taken on the production of a variety of M2HB versions. They take a step back in time in a very good way with one of their recent releases. LRE-35245 is a M2 Browning .50 Caliber Machine Gun with Flash Hider. It is advertised on the box as being for WWII, Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The box art depicts the .50 Cal in a cradle attached to a pedestal mount. An ammunition box is attached to the cradle. While many military historians and military modellers may state that the flash hider was not used or very rarely used on the M2 a quick internet search by yours truly provided images of the M2 on vehicle and ground mounts showing the flash hider attached up to and including the Vietnam War. Never say never!
What’s in the box?
This 1/35 resin kit showcasing the M2 .50 Calibre HMG consists of 16 parts. These parts include:
- .50 Calibre M2 Receiver
- .50 Calibre barrel with flash hider and barrel changing handle
- Spade grip with butterfly trigger
- Charging handle
- Closed top Caliber .50 M2 ammunition can/box with closed lid
- Open top Caliber .50 M2 ammunition can/box with closed lid
- Cradle bracket
- Pedestal mount
- Cradle retaining pins x 3
- Turret top barrel retaining bracket
- Partial .50 Calibre ammunition belt for inside open top box
- Hanging .50 Calibre ammunition belt
The parts are very well detailed and rival machine gun sets that include PE parts and aftermarket metal barrels. The flash hider on the barrel muzzle is cast open and you can choose to drill it out further. The receiver is cast solid with no ability to open the feed tray. The barrel changing handle literally disintegrated before my eyes as I was removing the casting sprues. It is a fantastic detail but ultra-fragile. So, now the barrel is without the handle.
The spade grip with butterfly trigger is delicate and does require a small amount of casting flash to be removed from the bottom portion. Use care and a sharp blade to avoid breakage.
The cradle is also delicate and during clean up one of the retaining holes broke off. My fault alone.
The pins that are provided are super tiny. A great idea but they vanished from my workspace almost instantly. It might be worth using very thin wire to form the pins if you have troubles with the small resin pins. You will likely have to drill out the holes in the cradle a touch larger regardless if you use the resin pins or wire versions. An additional locking pin in a holder is provided for mounting on the right side of the pintle. You may or may not see retaining chains on the pins when studying reference material. You will have to add these as they are not provided in the kit and likely the limitations of resin casting prevent this detail from being included.
The pedestal mount and the barrel lock for a turret top are well cast and simple to clean up.
The ammunition boxes are very nice and much better than simplified boxes provided in more mainstream kits. The ammunition boxes are the M2 version used during WWII and the Korean War. You will have to check your references depending on your project time period if this is accurate or the more modern M2A1 box is more suitable for more modern settings.
The small ammunition belt for the open box fits perfectly in the box and the feed tray on the receiver.
The large hanging belt while great in concept and a unique detail is difficult to clean up. It must be trimmed and sanded to remove the heavy casting lugs. During the cleanup process multiple rounds broke rendering the hanging belt ineffective. I also found that the merging of the overlapping portions of the hanging belt created more of a solid resin blob rather than two distinct belts one on top of another.
Of note with the ammunition belts…they appear to be the older version with the cloth links versus the more modern disintegrating belt links. This may limit the historical period in which you use this set.
This little set includes no instructions. You either need to rely on the CAD drawings on the box or provide your own reference material. That being said the set goes together in a simple and logical manner.
The receiver cooling jacket opening needed to be drilled open just a touch wider in order to fit the barrel. I was able to fit the barrel tightly with no glue at all. The cradle and pintle attach to the receiver with no issues.
The charging handle and trigger assembly attach easily to the receiver.
The pintle fit into the pedestal mount like a glove and required no glue at all.
I used the open ammunition box and the partial ammunition belt. They fit great and sit realistically on the left side of the receiver.
I am impressed with the quality of the machine gun set. The trade off for this great amount and quality of details provided is the fragile and tiny parts. This is particularly evident with the retaining pins and barrel changing handle. The hanging belt can be made to look good cleaned up but extra care will have to be taken. Painting the belt to look realistic will be another challenge all together. However, the details that pop out on the receiver, the cradle, the pintle, the ammunition boxes and the pedestal mount will make this look great on a Sherman turret or the project of your choosing.