The Ordnance, Quick-Firing (OQF) 6-pounder (57mm), commonly known as just the 6-pounder (6-pdr), was a British designed anti-tank gun as well as the main armament in several Commonwealth tanks. The US Army also accepted the 6-pdr design with a few modifications as the 57mm Gun M1. The OQF 6-pounder Mk-II was the design accepted for mass production and the subject of this kit review.
With the ever increasing thickness of tank armor, the British realized the limitations of their standard OQF 2-pounder (40mm) Anti-Tank Gun even before war broke out. Development of the new 6-pdr gun was entrusted to the Woolwich Arsenal in 1938 with completion of design and testing for the pre-production model, the Mk-I, by early 1940. The Ordnance Department and the British Army requested a few modifications to the new gun and these changes resulted in the Ordnance, QF 6-pounder Mk-II later in that same year. Unfortunately, production was delayed by the defeat in France where huge amounts of equipment was lost, including hundreds of 2-pdr guns. Fearing invasion in 1940-41, the British made re-equipping the army with anti-tank weapons an urgent matter and couldn’t afford the loss of production inevitable with factory re-tooling and the re-training of the troops for a new gun design. The decision also delayed the design of the carriage for the 6-pdr gun until 1941. This left the troops fighting the Axis, especially in North Africa, with the 2-pdr gun which was barely effective against the lightly armored Italian tanks, but was all but useless against the German panzers.
After the fear of invasion subsided somewhat, production of the 6-pdr finally began in November 1941. Unlike the 2-pdr, the new 6-pdr Mk-II was mounted on a conventional wheeled split trail carriage that was faster and easier to hook up for towing. For easier target acquisition, the 6-pdr had a free traverse that allowed the gunner to freely push or pull the horizontal traverse for faster target acquisition, instead of the slower geared hand-wheel system. Also issued were two side shields for better crew protection, but these were rarely used. Because of a lack of suitable lathes in the UK, the original L/50 barrel of the Mk-I was replaced by the shorter L/43 barrel. [side note: barrel length, noted in calibers, is measured by dividing the length of the gun barrel from breech to muzzle (2,451mm for the Mk-II) by the diameter of the bore (57mm) which equals 43 “calibers” and is noted with the prefix L/, thus the barrel length of the 6-pdr Mk-II is L/43] This gave the 6-pdr Mk-II an effective range of 1,650 yd (1,510 m), almost double that of the 2-pdr, as well as a much greater penetrative power of the heavier projectile.
The 6-pdr’s (of which 4,242 pieces were received, including later versions) were initially issued to the Royal Artillery anti-tank regiments of infantry and armored divisions in the western theatres (four batteries with 12 pieces each), and later in the war to the six-gun anti-tank platoons of infantry battalions. The Far East theatres had a lower priority with different organization, reflecting the lowered tank threat. The gun was also employed by Commonwealth forces, in formations similar to the British ones. The 6-pdr first saw action in May 1942 at Gazala in North Africa, and had an immediate impact on the battlefield as it was able to penetrate any enemy tank then in service. After introduction to the troops, it quickly replaced the ineffective 2-pdr in frontline service.
The kit comes in a small box (10” x 6.5” x 1.5”) that opens at both ends. Text on the box is almost entirely in Russian, only the scale and name of the kit are in English.
Here’s what you get:
• Two sprues with appx. 100 parts in medium gray styrene (not bagged)
• An A4 sized assembly sheet, folded in half to create 4 pages
• Another small sheet with the warnings in 19 languages
• A small, 2.5” x 1.75” advertisement on a double-sided cardboard card.
With the lack of an up-to-date kit in styrene of the British 6-pdr anti-tank gun, I was hoping this new kit from Zvezda would be a new re-tooled kit. Unfortunately, this is a re-box of their earlier release from the 1990’s, which was a re-boxing of the ItaleriTestors kit from the 1980’s, which in turn, were re-boxed Peerless-Max kits from the early 1970’s. Nothing has changed with this new kit except the box. I have to admit, quality of the molding is rather good considering the age of the molds. A few of the parts in my example have a little flash and the mold seam lines are a bit more prominent than in newer kits. There’s also several ejector pin marks on some of the larger parts that will need filling and sanding. The sprue gates are on the larger side and care will be needed with removing parts from the sprue trees, especially for the very small and delicate parts. But all of this is nothing the average modeler will have any major problems with.
The instructions are provided on an A4 sized sheet of ordinary copier paper with b/w printing on both sides which is folded in half to create 4 pages. The first page includes an animation of the 6-pdr Mk-II AT gun with what appears to be a short history of the gun in Russian, and then a few basic assembly tips in 9 languages.
Page two and three are the assembly instructions divided into 9 steps with several sub-assemblies. These are in the exploded isometric line drawings format and appear adequate to assemble the model. Steps 1-3 show assembly of the gun cradle with a few sub-assemblies added along with the upper gun shield. There are a few seams that will need sanding as well as four prominent ejector pin marks on the inner side of the gun shield that will need some attention.
Steps 4 & 5 show the split trail legs assemblies, each with separate sub-assemblies and other parts added. The trail legs are provided as single parts with the grab handles molded in place and appear nicely to scale. There is a prominent mold seam that will need removal on the trail legs as well as the grab handles. Moving to step 5, the wheel axle with the gun cradle base gets assembled. To this, a few other detail parts are added.
The gun barrel and breech is assembled in step 6. Both of these are provided in halves that will need careful sanding and filling to remove the seams. Step 7 shows assembly of the lower gun shield with an optionally positioned bottom shield, either up for travel mode, or down for firing mode. Bothe lower shield parts have prominent ejector pin marks that will need careful removal to avoid damaging other detail. The lower shield assembly is then added to the wheel axle assembly along with two hand brakes and brake drums. [Note that the brake drum parts are part No A32, not B32].
Next, labeled as a sub-assembly, is the wheel assemblies, and each is provided as two halves, so the seam will need removing. The tread pattern on the parts appears to compare well with my limited references. Each wheel also gets six tiny lug-nuts with nicely detailed wing-nuts. I suppose these are for quick changing of the wheels. As a bonus, there’s an additional set of 12 lug-nuts that can be added to the spares bin, or used to replace any that might get lost; they are tiny after all, and the carpet monster might need a feeding. In step 9 all of the above sub-assemblies come together to complete the assembly of the model.
Turning to page four of the instructions, there is a sprue layout and painting guide. The painting guide is rather simple with the gun in overall olive drab, the breech polished steel and the tires black. The color chart provides Humbrol paint equivalents. There are no markings shown or decals provided as these guns rarely had any. For painting, I would suggest checking your references as these guns were painted in a sand color in North Africa and also sometimes had elaborate camouflage schemes.
Ordnance, Quick-Firing 6-pounder Mk II was an iconic anti-tank gun and surely made its presence felt on the battlefield, especially in North Africa. It’s unfortunate that Zvezda chose to release the older kit instead of an all new one. To date though, this is the best kit in plastic of this gun on the market today and I’ve read many forum posts practically begging for a new tooled kit of this gun. But, even given its age, it still builds into a very decent replica and is an excellent kit for beginners as well as the experts to spin their modeling magic on. I give this kit one thumb up for subject matter and simplicity, and one thumb down…well it is a forty year old kit after all.
Allied Artillery of World War Two by Ian V Hogg; The Crowood Press, 1997
The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II by Chris Bishop; Barnes & Noble Inc., 1998
Artillery of the World by Christopher F. Foss; Ian Allan Ltd., 1974
WWII Fact Files: Anti-Tank Weapons by Peter Chamberlain & Terry Gander, 1977
Highs: Ease of assembly makes it an excellent beginner’s kit and the subject matter nay attract some experts modelers that can weave some magic into the kit.Lows: This is a re-box of an old kit and not newly tooled. Not as detailed as other contemporary kits.Verdict: Overall, this is a fairly decent kit that can be assembled in an evening or two. Despite its age, the kit builds into a respectable replica. Besides, if you want to build a 1/35 scale OQF 6-Pounder Mk-II AT gun in plastic, this is the only game in town.
About Cpt. C. Sosebee, USA (Ret (csosus) FROM: TEXAS, UNITED STATES
Back into modeling after almost 26 years in the US Army as enlisted and as an officer. Over those years, I've collected quite a library of military history books, vehicle references and quite a few kits too. I only build 1/35 WWII, any nationality. Currently my modeling skills aren't really that ...