Voyager Models
Modern US Browning M2HB GP
Gunmetals Mount

Voyager Model 1:35 Set # VBS0203
Review by Terry Ashley

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This set from Voyager Models is basically the same as set #VBS0202 US Browning M2HB GP Machine Gun & Optical collimator Set without the night vision device but including the intricate vehicle mounting used on current US vehicles made from numerous etched parts.

This set uses the same turned brass barrel and separate perforated brass cooling jacket and resin receiver with etched detail parts as well as the metal and etched M3 tripod for another very comprehensive set. There are an addiitonal 20 etched parts for the large vehicle mounting adn ammo box support.

As it is essentually the same as set #VBS0202 so is much of this review the same with just additional comments on the new vehicle mounting included.

Resin, brass and etched parts
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Muzzle bore hole and close up of cooling jacket
Note; rough recess not indented correctly under close examination

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M2HB GP Machine Gun:

The new resin receiver has a separate ammo feed chute cover and three resin handles with additional etched detail parts. The detail on the receiver is excellent with the only cleanup being the removal of the casting block and sees very good detail on the inside of the receiver if you leave the feed cover open.

At the back are the resin firing handles with etched mountings that include the thumb firing levers and apart from the handles being slippery little suckers when handling there were no other problems during assembly. The right side cocking handle also has an etched bracket and the rear top sights have a separate movable ranging sight that can be left movable or fixed in the desired position. At the front is the very small foresights and this will need extreme care and some fine tweezers, not to mention eye magnifiers for us old fogies to bend into shape and fit and thankfully Voyager give you two parts in case of disaster.

The turned brass barrel has a drilled out muzzle with the correct size bore hole and has the subtle taper of the barrel with the cooling jacket as another machined brass part with the cooling holes as well as the machined recesses either side of the jacket. The machining of the recesses is a little rough and you may want to smooth these out a little and also the recesses should be just that, recessed into the cooling jacket but these are level with the jacket surface but this may not be that noticeable on the assembled gun.

The cooling holes are cleaning drilled without any excess brass to remove but the jacket appears slightly oversized and the fit of the cooling jacket to the barrel is a little loose at the front and at the back there is nothing to ensure the barrel is central to the cooling jacket as you fit to the target gun and care is needed with this.

Fit of the cooling jacket to the barrel is a little loose
and will need care to align correctly to the receiver.

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If you want to get really picky the front lip of the jacket is a little large and is slightly too far forward in relation to the barrel retaining ring part way down the barrel as mentioned but these are only very minor issues and along with the cooling jacket side recesses may not be really be noticeable but are things to take into consideration accuracy wise.

Assembed M2 MG as per text.
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The new vehicle mounting is made up of 20 etched parts as mentioned above as well as additional small lengths of plastic rod or wire that you have to provide yourself and while the assembly is fairly straightforward as etched assemblies go you will still have to take care to ensure no problems arise.

Soldering the main structures that take most of the stresses will again be beneficial as there is nothing worse than cyanoacrylate joins coming apart later in the assembly. There are some fine bends required and using a good etched bending tool will again be an advantage but as some are quite small flat nosed tweezers could suffice.

Some of the parts can remain movable after assembly such as the ammo box retaining clamp and cradle pivot itself if you wish but can be just glued together for a quicker build should you prefer.

M3 Tripod Mount:

The inclusion of the all metal M3 tripod is a nice bonus and is almost a kit in itself requiring quite a bit of assembly along the way and experience working with metal parts would be a distinct advantage.

The tripod is made up of three brass rod legs and 43 etched parts with the only cleanup required being the attachment burs when you cut the etched parts from the fret but there are some extremely small parts to deal with so care will be needed as well.

Assembly starts with the legs and the rear two have small holes drilled at the top for fitting into the tripod head and beveled bases for attaching to the etched base plates which I did by soldering for added strength and the underside spade is first bent around a suitably sized drill bit and glued in place with cyanoacrylate. You must ensure the "feet" are aligned correctly as the legs are fixed in position with the top hole and can't be rotated. I also soldered the U bracket at the top of the short front leg for added strength as this join does take quite a few stresses on the assembled tripod.

The tripod head has to be first bent to shape which requires care as there are a few different angles and this was also soldered together as it takes most of the stresses when attaching the legs and mounting the M2 MG and just using cyanoacrylate could see it come apart later in the assembly.

All the small brackets on the legs can be bent around the legs and secured in place with cyanoacrylate as they don't have to move after assembly other than those attaching the traverse bar and I also replaced the etched locking levers on these brackets with thin wire as the etched parts are flat 2D as is common with etched sets.

The other major sub-assembly is the traverse bar between the rear legs and this can be assembled so the legs can be folded just like the real tripod with a little care.

For this I first bent the attachment brackets around the legs to get the correct size and after temporally removing from the legs I then used thin plastic rod (or stretched sprue) to form the pins. These pins had the ends melted down using a small heated screwdriver allowing them to be movable but this does take some care due to the small sizes involved and a good pair of tweezers and magnifiers as above is recommended.

After the front legs are fitted again held in place with small plastic pins I added the rear legs which slip inside the head and attached by slipping plastic pins (from thin rod or stretched sprue) through the holes in the head and the legs, these pins were again secured by melting down with a small heated screwdriver.

Close up of parts during assembly, the "feet" on the tripod legs,
the holes in the top of the legs, the tripod head and rear traverse bar.

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Underside attachment bracket marred by flat 2D appearance of etched parts.
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Once assembled the legs can folded as per the original for storage if you wish but if using the tripod deployed you will have to glue (or solder) the front leg into position as it won't stay extended at the correct height otherwise, the rear two legs can be left movable even when deployed due to the way they fit inside the head. This is another reason it's best to solder the head together due to the stresses involved when the legs are attached for greater strength.

Obviously you can just glue everything together for a quicker and probably less frustrating build if you plan to use the gun and tripod in a fixed diorama or vehicle setting.

Finally there is the traversing and elevating (T&E) mechanism which is another intricate part made up of just two parts but the main problem here is the parts are the usual flat 2D profile and not the correct rounded rod profile of the real thing which does show on the assembled part. You may wish to replace part of the assembly with wire or rod while retaining the fine chain and locating pin or live with the flat appearance as it is sort of hidden under the gun when mounted on the tripod.

Assembled tripod stand.
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Click thumbnails for additional slidewhow views of tripod
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This is another excellent full kit of the Cal.50 M2HB GPMG with nicely cast resin receiver with etched details and well executed details on the barrel and cooling jacket with only minor detail discrepancies as mentioned above that may not be that noticeable on the assembled MG. The added large vehicle mounting is just the thing for using the set on a HUMMVV or other currect vehicle for a very detailed mounting.

The added bonus of M3 tripod almost overshadows the MG itself and while requiring careful and patient assembly with fully foldable legs if you wish makes for a very detailed base to sit the M2 MG on when assembled.

Assembly of the MG is fairly quick and easy but you need to take a bit of care with the loose fitting cooling jacket but as mentioned the tripod is best left for those with experience working with metal and etched parts as well as soldering to get the best results.

There are no rounds supplied with this set buy Voyager are about to follow this with set #VBS0302 cal.50 ammo set with brass 12.7mm rounds and etched clips as well as set #VBS0303 with empty cal.50 shell casings.

Highly recommended 8/10

Also see the reviews of set #VBS0202 Modern US Browning M2HB GP Machine Gun & Optical collimator Set and set #VBS0204 M2HB Machine Gun Set Vehicle Mounted remote Control Firing Version

Thanks to Voyager Models for the review set.

Page created July 13, 2008