The Lee Enfield No 1 Mk III rifle is probably one of the most iconic weapons of the British Army. Commonly referred to as the Short Magazine Lee Enfield, the SMLE actually refers to the overall length of the weapon which was shortened, and not the magazine which holds 10 rounds of .303 ammunition. Its predecessor the M.L.E. Magazine Fed Lee Enfield is also often referred to as the Long Lee Enfield.
The Mk 1 version of the SMLE was introduced to the British Army in 1903. The SMLE gave rise to the colloquial term Smellie, or Smelly, by which it was affectionately known. The SMLE No 1 Mk III was introduced to the British Army in 1914 at the beginning of the 1st World War and is the Mk depicted by this Ultracast set. Highly accurate in the hands of a good Rifleman, it could be fired so rapidly as to give the illusion of a machine gun, or so the stories go. However, there is no doubt that in the hands of a trained infantryman this was a very effective weapon indeed.
The British Army has always prided itself on the marksmanship of its infantry and with the accuracy of this weapon it had a rifle that soldiered on for many decades. This rifle can still be found around the world today and has a reputation for reliability and accuracy. Further technical information can be found Here
The weapons come packed in a plastic zip bag attached to a brownish coloured backing card. On the front of the card is a description of the product and makers name, whilst on the reverse are the contact details for Ultracast and a brief set of instructions outlining what glue to use and advising some basic Health and Safety precautions when working with resin.
The set provides 5 x Lee Enfield No 1 Mk III rifles and 7 x No1 Mk 1 bayonets. Cast in a light cream coloured resin, the weapons in my set were free from any kind of damage.
The product gives an excellent representation of this weapon, with the short stubby barrel, fore sight and swivel all being correctly located, as is the bayonet fixing at the end of the barrel. Moving down the weapon the rear sight, breech and bolt are all in evidence as is the trigger guard and 10 round magazine. The rifle butt and rear swivel are both good. The weapon measures in at 32/33mm for those who wish to work out the actual length which was, I believe, 3ft 8 and 9/16ths of an inch.
You also get 7 bayonets encased in scabbards depicting the early long No 1 Mk 1 Bayonet. The bayonets come complete with a bayonet frog showing the stud of the bayonet clearly through the webbing. The wooden handle of the bayonet is also well depicted. Length of the Bayonets is 16/17 mm.
There arenít many options when it comes to the SMLE No 1, Mk III rifles. Italeri did produce 3 in their 407 accessories set which are the best examples Iíve seen in plastic, but this set is currently OOP and hard to come by. Other manufacturers have tried and failed in the plastic field, so if you need a good set of weapons for the early war years, then this set from Ultracast is good quality. The weapons themselves are an excellent representation and the bayonets the best Iíve seen so far.
This is simply another quality product from Ultracast. It will be of interest to both figure builders and diorama builders alike.