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Sunday, November 25, 2012

British Artillery

British Artillery is an interesting niche in terms of Toy Soldiers. I have not seen anything in recent years, but apparently during the 60s or 70s, they were a topic that received some good level of attention from British manufacturers. Unfortunately that means that to add some decent guns into your collection you need to buy some old collectibles which is not necessarily cheap. Thus, this is one area where some new production would be very welcome. The two main suppliers of these guns were Crescent Toys and Lone Star, although between the two, I like the Crescent guns a lot more. Let's see what we have available to us.

Crescent 5.5 inch Medium Gun
The 5.5 inch (or 140mm) gun went into service in 1941 and first saw action in North Africa. It was operated by a crew of 10. Its firing range was between 16,000 to 18,000 yards. Each shell weighed 100lbs. The firing angle went from -5 to 45 degrees. This model by Crescent has a wheel on the side that can be loosened/tightened to adjust the firing angle. It also comes with a lever on top that controls a spring and it allows it to shoot actual rounds. Unfortunately none came with the gun, so I will need to improvise some ammo.

Crescent 25 pounder Field Gun
Also known as Ordnance QF 25 pounder, this was a 87.6mm caliber gun. Introduced shortly before the war, it was the main howitzer in the British Army during the War and many years thereafter. Its maximum range was 13,400 yards with a HE shell of 25 pounds (hence the name). This is another nice model by Crescent. The rivets on the gun shield make it look very real. Like the 5.5 gun, it also has a lever that allows it to shoot rounds. 

Crescent 25 pounder Field Gun - from above
This picture shows the circular platform that these guns used to have which enabled them to be rotated to point in the right direction more easily. When the gun was deployed, the platform would be placed underneath the wheels of the gun. Unfortunately, most of the models that you find today are missing this part, as it is relatively easy to detach it.

Lone Star Anti Tank Gun
This is an under-scale gun by Lone Star. Rather than 1/32 it seems to be 1/40 or 1/43. Based on its size it can probably be used as a 6 pounder or even the 2 pounder anti-tank guns. Like the Crescent guns, it also comes with a lever-controlled spring that allows you to shoot rounds with it. 

Lone Star Anti Tank Gun - Desert Version
This is the same gun as the previous one. I don't know if Lone Star released it in this color scheme, or if a prior owner spray painted it this color. In any case, I just got three of them in this style and they provide much needed artillery support for the B8A guys. 

Lone Star 25 Pounder - Front
Here is another under-scale model by Lone Star. Given their 1/32 figure range, I just wish they had manufactured these sets to match those figures. BTW, this one also lets you shoot with it. 

Lone Star 25 Pounder - Back
Here you get a good idea of the size of the gun relative to some actual 54mm figures. I guess it could be used to represent a smaller caliber gun. But definitely, if you are undecided between the Crescent 25 pounder and this one, the Crescent one is head and shoulders a much better choice.

Crescent 18 Pounder
As you might suspect, perhaps from the wooden wheels, this is a WWI gun. At the beginning of WWII some British units were still equipped with them. Anecdotally, I have also heard -although I have not verified- that they were also used at the outset of the war by the Soviet Army, hence I staffed the gun with a Soviet crew for this picture. This model comes in metal and as other Crescent guns, has a spring-based firing mechanism. The only thing to criticize is that it is a bit underscale. This particular model is well used, so the gun barrel drops below horizontal, which is why I had to place a small twig to support it.

Britains Deetail L6 'Wombat' 120mm recoilles Antitank gun
The Wombat is actually a weapon developed in the1950's. I suppose this is why it looks so much like a WWII artillery piece. At any rate, since I don't have many other British anti tank guns, I have decided to accept it in my WWII collection. Plus it has a nice, heavy caliber!

Click here to see a post about British Armor
Click here to see British Infantry in action

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