The one prolific weapon that left its trace on any battlefield since the end of WW2 is the Browning M2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun. The M2 .50cal machine gun provides soldiers a belt-fed, air-cooled machine weapon capable of semi-automatic and automatic suppression fire for offensive and defensive purposes. This weapon can be used effectively against enemy personnel, light armored vehicles and slow, low-flying aircraft. When mounted to the M3 Tripod, the machine gun permits a high degree of accuracy and control of fire.
The M2 has varying cyclic rates of fire, depending on the model. The M2HB (heavy barrel) air-cooled ground gun has a cyclical rate of 450-575 rounds per minute. The M2 has an effective range of 1,830 meters (2,000 yd.) and a maximum effective range of 2,000 meters (2,200 yd.) when fired from the M3 tripod. In its ground-portable, crew-served role as the M2HB, the gun itself weighs in at a hefty 84 pounds (38 kg) and the assembled M3 tripod another 44 pounds (20 kg). The M2 fires the .50 BMG cartridges, which offer long range, accuracy and immense stopping power
The current M2HB is manufactured in the United States by General Dynamics and U.S. Ordnance for use by the United States government and for U.S. Foreign Allies via FMS sales. FN Herstal has manufactured the M2 machine gun since the 1930s. U.S. Ordnance developed their M2 Quick Change Barrel system after years of manufacturing machine guns for the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. allies.
The build review
This is a review of Live Resinís latest offering in 1/35 scale: M2 Browning .50 Caliber Machine Gun on MK93 Machine Gun Mount with heavy pedestal, Bearing Sleeve Extension and wide S.A.G. (Save-A-Gunner) armour shield, Night Reaper CSWL (Crew Served Weapon Light) with Mk93 Cantilever Bracket, M2 NV sight mount and DCL401 Dot Sight
Live Resin weapon kits come in a cardboard box featuring CAD art showing the parts layout, while the back image illustrates the optional resin accessories for this specific gun system like various scopes, lights, laser designators, fore-grips etc. These are very handy to have during the assembly stage as they provide more visual information about proper alignment of specific parts. The inside features standard Live Resin packaging - zip-lock plastic bag holding the resin parts and a set of instructions printed in black & white.
The instructions come on a single paper with exploded CAD view of the parts showing each step of assembly. It is clear and concise and doesnít come with any text since the pics are pretty self-explanatory.
The weapons are molded in light gray resin that allows every detail to be visible, and the casting itself is astonishing. There are no imperfections, bubbles, no flash or any other types of defects in this sample with only minute traces of flash that is easy to remove. The molding stubs are thin and you will not have to worry about removing the parts from the plugs, or sanding anything off. Some of the parts are very thin and I urge you not to be hasty or heavy handed while taking these off the blocks.
The weapon itself is located on a separate casting block numbered LRE 35048A. The detail on this gun is stunning. Every bolt and rivet detail is present where itís supposed to be and it even comes molded with a top mounted rail which is used to hold various sighting systems. The cooling jacket is sharply defined with adequate hole depth and the thing simply looks amazing. Removing the gun from the block is easy since Live Resin makes the thinnest molding plugs Iíve seen. One thing I could state as a minor nitpick is that the muzzle is filled by the molding plug and will need to be drilled out.
Other parts that make the weapon assembly are the ammo box, trigger located at the very rear of the weapon, with a spade handle hand-grip on either side of it and the bolt release in the center, and pre-formed length of .50cal rounds. There should be two lenghts (each side of the ammo box openings) as indicated per the instructions but my sample didn't include the other. The fit of all these parts is perfect and quite easy to do since LR cleverly designed locating notches and tabs.
This gun is not your granddaddyís WWII M2. This is updated to a more modern version loaded with accessories and features Save-a-Gunner wide shield
- The S.A.G. armor is manufactured by US Global Nanospace using G-Lam non-fiber material and is designed to outperform steel/ceramic plates in conventional composite systems. The armor shield is as simple as it gets. A wide flat surface with 10 huge bolts and 4 smaller ones for connecting the mounts pivot arm. This is simple to take of the molding block and youíre done. A pretty cool addition which provides night-time target illumination is the Night Reaper CSWL (Crew Served Weapon Light)
with the appropriate Mk93 cantilever mounting bracket. Polarionís Night Reaper CSWL is a 50-watt, 5200-lumen, High Intensity Discharge (HID) searchlight specifically designed for military and security applications where dominance in low-light environments is paramount and the system simultaneously provides an unparalleled combination of long range and wide-angle illumination in both white and Infrared (IR) light.
This is really a focal point of the weapon. The bracket is very thin and sharply molded and is designed to be placed directly under the barrel and fits just under the cooling jacket. Itís very easy to install it as the bracket features locating tabs and simply connects to the barrel assembly. The light itself is also easy to mount onto the rail on the bracket itself. Speaking of the light itself; the level of detail is amazing. Every nook and cranny of the housing is molded as on the real thing. It will look amazing once painted.
Another cool feature is the addition of the DI Opticalís Model DCL401 Dot Sight
. Although designed and developed primarily for the application of 40mm Automatic Grenade Launcher (AGL), it is also used with good effect on the M2. The unique heads-up-display design with extra wide lens (80x50mm) provides an unlimited field of view with both eyes open, while eliminating obstruction and tunnel vision common to tube style scopes. This sight plugs onto the top M2 mount already mentioned and is easy to install it once you get it of the molding block. Sight is molded nicely with three smaller rails and knobs molded sharply. One limitation of the molding process is unfortunately that the sight glass is molded instead of it being hollow. This would take some effort on the modeler to remove it and obtain the proper look.
The MK93 dual purpose, soft mount
for the M2 Heavy Machine Gun is designed for use with either a tripod or a vehicular mount (using the MK175 pintle pedestal). The MK93 requires no external adapters or tools to mount either weapon system, making change-overs much easier. The use of a soft mount improves the accuracy of the M2 Machine Gun by attenuating the recoil. The MK93 consists of a carriage and cradle assembly, train stop bracket, ammunition can holder, a bolt-on small pintle, a bolt-on large pintle, and stowage bar assembly. It is very easy to assemble as the parts feature locating pins and the holes have finest tolerances Iíve seen on resin kits.
We all know the level of details that Live Resin brings to these little marvels in resin, but the accuracy of those details is unbelievable. The best thing about these weapons is that they can be upgraded with a number of already released Live Resin accessory sets with ease and without any doubt about proper fitting. If this specific setup isnít to your exact specs, you can get other lighting/sighting systems, QC barrels, mounts, just name it. A nice multi-color paint job will do these weapons the real justice they deserve.
The build is extremely fast and simple due to clever parts breakdown and the only few things I found during the build is to take your time while removing thin parts from the blocks. Drill out the barrel end and somehow deal with the sight itself. Careful chain-drilling with a very small drill bit to take out the center and then use a sharp blade to clean up the rest. Also check in your sample if both lengths of shells are present. Other than that, this is the ultimate M2 replacement set. Use it for any and all application Ė vehicle mounted or as an infantry support weapon. Canít get much better than this.
*BUILD NOTE* I have put together the cantilever mechanism of the gun-to-mount assembly but haven't placed in on the gun itself since I would like to fit it to a HMMWV model awaiting completion. All the parts share the same level of quality and accuracy as those described in the review.
DI Optical USA Ė DCL 401 sight
Night Reaper Crew Served Weapon Light (CSWL)
US Military fact sheet Ė Mk93 mount
M2 wiki article