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  1. 1:32 Spandau, Lewis , Vickers machine guns Gaspatch Models Catalogue # see article for code and price Available from Gaspatch Models After some simply astounding releases in both kit form and in aftermarket, Gaspatch Models had been relatively quiet for a period of time. Apart from the turnbuckle releases which this company is famed for, over the last year, we've reviewed their 1:48 Salmson kit, and also a suite of their 3D printed Lewis guns. It was this latter product which signalled the start of a new product range for Gaspatch, and the one we were certainly keen to follow up. Today, I'm pleased to be able to bring to you the very latest machine gun releases from this exacting company. The items we've received are: 13-32043, Vickers Colt-Built, €12,50 13-32046, Vickers British Hyland Type B Loading Handle, €12,50 13-32047, Vickers British Hyland Type E Loading Handle, €12,50 13-32056, Lewis Mk.II, €12,50 14-32060, Spandau 08/15 Extended Loading Handle, €12,50 14-32061, Spandau 08/15, €12,50 All gun sets are comprised of TWO machine guns to enable a complete port/starboard installation, and they are packed into attractive blister packs which contain a rendered image of the gun on the back. The delicate parts within are recessed into pieces of soft grey foam which has had the part shapes cut from the foam with heat, ensuring a snug fit and minimum risk of any breakage. To help further, whenever Gaspatch have sent me these sets, they also come packed into a sturdy cardboard box. Buy with confidence. Vickers Guns This machine gun has perhaps one of the longest service records of any machine gun ever invented, being used for almost 60yrs in various countries around the world. Conflicts that it served in range from the Great War through to the Korean War etc. The gun itself was a water-cooled, .303 calibre, medium machine gun which first entered service in 1912. Produced by Vickers, the ground-based version of this required 3 men to operate it in combat, whilst deployed to a team of six to help transport it around the battlefield, and then deploy it. The Vickers also had a good reputation for reliability, and was well liked by those who had to use it. The easy synchronising ability of the gun made it the standard gun to be fitted to both British and French aircraft during WW1, and the resultant airflow over the jacket, rendered the weighty water cooling system redundant. This of course greatly lessened the weight of the weapon too, again making it idea for air combat. Several slots were machined into the external jacket, increasing the effectiveness of air cooling. I have by no means requested every Vickers gun from the new range. There are actually NINE guns in this range, but felt that the ones that we've been sent are going to be very representative of this particular range of weapons. These particular sets are packaged into the smaller blister packs due to the smaller number of component parts per gun; and as stated there are two machine funs per packet. Each of these sets contains FOUR parts each. The Vickers gun itself is a single piece item, and there are of course ammunition feeds for both guns. Differences between the guns are quite subtle in most respects, but still identifiable. The Hyland Type E version has its loading handle pointing slightly downwards, towards the pilot's abdomen, ensuring that cocking the lever looks a little more natural, despite probably needing a little more moment force than the others. Each of the other types has their loading handle pointing slightly skyward, and each type has a different handle grip. It is also noted that the muzzles across these guns are slightly different too, depending on their manufacturer. Gun detail is simply jaw-dropping. Those ex-water cooled jackets have their air-cooled slots beautifully represented, and the loading handles actually look operable. What's more, the jackets on these are hollow, and there is actually the entire barrel length within them. That is just INCREDIBLE! Only 3D printing in ultra-high resolution would allow such a feat of production. The ammunition feed to the breech is also hollow, all the way through. Also visible are the mounting lugs with open bolt holes, and constructional riveting. Gorgeous, is the only word I can use to begin to describe these guns. Production is in light grey plastic. Lewis Gun The Lewis Gun was a light machine gun which entered service at the start of WW1, and continued in operational use until the early 1950s. It was also known as the Lewis Automatic Rifle. A wide cooling tube was usually fitted around the barrel when used on the ground, but this was omitted on aircraft due to natural airflow air-cooling. This gun, American in origin, was also of .303 calibre, and ammunition was fed into the chamber from a cylindrical drum which could be removed and quickly reloaded. Continual operation of the gun relied on the expanding propellant gas from the barrel, driving a piston which drove a cam track to the firing bolt, allowing for continual fire. The Lewis was also the first fixed machine gun to be fired from an aircraft, and was extensively used throughout the Great War, both on forward firing mounts and via cupola-ring mounts for observer/gunners. This release occupies on of the larger blister packs, containing EIGHT parts. These are two guns, two spent cartridge bags and four ammunition drums. The Lewis could take two drums of different capacities, but all four of these look identical. I don't know if the drums themselves looked different externally, but Gaspatch have indeed supplied those extras. Each drum, highly detailed, also has a superb leather strap handle! The guns are again exquisite. They contain what can only be described as filigree detail, including the sighting mechanism, wooden grip, hollow muzzle and textured wooden pistol grip. A mounting pip sits on top, onto which you fit the ammunition drums. A canvas spent shell bag with metal chute, is included as a separate part which just needs affixing to the side of the gun. Spandau 08/15 Without a doubt, THE name in German aircraft-borne weapons, along with Parabellum. The Spandau was probably the most numerous air combat weapon employed by the Germans in the Great War. Known as the MG08 (Maschinengewehr), the type was actually the standard German machine gun in WW1, and a lighter and slightly more compact version, the MG08/15 was deployed in large numbers. This gun had a calibre of 7.92mm, and the aircraft-specific version had a cooling jacket with a large number of slotted perforations, creating an extremely cool-firing weapon, Aircraft versions of both the MG, known as IMG08 and LMG08/15 were also now the standard weapon for German aircraft, as well as infantry, and were usually deployed in pairs, except for some Eindecker machines which carried just one or even three weapons (latter being prototypical). Both Spandau sets are of the 08/15 format, and both occupy the larger blister packs. Each set also comprises EIGHT parts. These are two guns, two barrels, two padded cushions, and two ammunition feeds. The guns themselves are essentially the same except for one type which has an extended loading type handle which was seen on some installations. It's hard to talk about the gun itself, without using many superlatives. Please remember the open, slotted nature of the Spandau cooling, and to see this replicated in the most amazingly fine detail is something I'm still getting used to. The gun jacket incorporates the forward stiffening plate and cross-reticule gun-sight. A hole exists here for you to slot the barrel through, with integral open ended muzzle. Loading handle mechanism again looks as though it would operate, and if this was regular plastic, this would need many separate parts to create the same effect that these guns have. A mounting bracket is also included as part of the gun, and detail, overall, is probably the highest of seen of any contemporary item. All parts across all sets are produced in the same colour plastic, except for the barrel/muzzle assembly in the Spandau sets. These are produced in dark grey plastic, with open, flared muzzle. Threading these into the barrels is very easy too, with just a little fiddling to make it locate into the hole within the rear of the gun. The remaining parts are for the cushioned pads at the rear of the gun, protecting the pilot's head from striking the metal chassis, and also the very detailed ammunition feed belts. Instructions All sets have a simple set of rendered illustrations within, showing assembly and general painting for the guns. Whilst there isn't too much variety in terms of colours to use, always check any online references for minute detail which you can apply with your paints. Conclusion Each time I see Gaspatch's latest releases, I'm bowled over by the finesse and attention to detail that they seem to cram into such small parts. Production of these sets is second to none, and they are probably amongst my favourite aftermarket sets for WW1 aircraft. Just absolutely astounding, in every aspect. These sets cost €12,50 each, so they aren't cheap, relatively, but what they add to a model, with the absolute minimum of fuss, has surely got to be worth a few of your hard-earned coin. Very highly recommended My sincere thanks to Gaspatch Models for these review samples. To purchase directly, click the links in the article. James H
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