Thursday, 19 January 2017

'Finnish' Bofors - Part 2

Construction of the Zvezda 'British Bofors 40mm AA Gun' and its conversion into a faux-Finnish version was relatively painless (aside from a surprise appearance of the dreaded carpet monster).

You can easily tell the parts that I converted - so that the Bofors looked more like the Finnish version - as these parts are the ones in green plastic. This isn't a truly authentic conversion, just my superficial take on the 'continental' Bofors. In truth, I should perhaps have waited and seen if I could have sourced the proper version as made by 'First to Fight', but hey-ho.

Aside from the absence of the gun shield, the 'continental' Bofors had different wheels and a different means of attaching them to the static support and the side support arms were square tubes rather than the round British tubes. This is just from my inexpert observations, you'll need to do some proper research to understand what the exact variations are between all the different makes and variants (practically every nation involved in WW2 had their own version of this hugely popular gun).

Finnish Bofors 40 mm. This gun mounts the original reflector sights, and
lacks the armor found on British examples. Source: Wikipedia

Thoughts on the Zvezda Kit
I was surprised at just how many parts there were in this kit, it wasn't the simplified 'easy build' war game model I have come to expect from Zvezda's 'Art of Tactics' range. Some of the little parts were quite fiddly (and, frustratingly, I lost two of the support 'feet' to the carpet monster).

The most noticeable feature of the kit - from a modeller's point of view - is the plastic from which it is made. It isn't exactly 'hard' plastic, it's sort of halfway in feel between the normal hard injection moulded plastic and the 'soft' plastic of Airfix soldiers. It tends to fray a little more than usual when you file or sand it, and I found that trimming or shaving with a scalpel was a neater way of getting rid of flash and mould seams, etc.

The gun itself felt a little bendy, although it wasn't actually bent. It just felt like it would easily bend and I did consider replacing it with a Millicast brass barrel, but I decided not to as the whole reason I went for this Zvezda kit was to save money.
Simplified 'wire' sights.
Rivet counters will take issue over the simplified sights on the gun, which are not only the wrong type for the Finnish version but also 'filled in' as the delicate wire construction of the real British sights would be impossible to replicate in scale plastic form. Again, Millicast do make a brass upgrade set for the 1/76 Bofors if you are a real stickler.

My final niggle is that the gun doesn't rotate, but is fixed by pins in one of four 90 degree positions. I would much rather that Zvezda had made the kit with a peg and plug arrangement so the Bofors could have been rotated, particularly as this model is intended for war gaming.

The four position gun mount which corresponds to two pins in the base of the
gun itself. You can mount the gun looking forward, left, right or back.
Overall, I think this is a rather nice looking model, it builds well if you are willing to spend the time cleaning off mould seams. There are no fit problems and everything just slots into place nicely.

Quite satisfied (aside from qualms over historical accuracy, but this is my fault and not Zvezda's).

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