Browning M2 Machine Gun Set A with Tripod
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII


The U.S. Machine Gun set released in 2003 by Academy was widely praised for its attention to detail and plenitude of parts for both the Browning .50 heavy machine gun and its smaller .30 counterpart. Three years later, Tasca has released two.50 sets, one for infantry or dismounted armor troops reviewed here, and the other for turret use.

A comparison between the two products shows Tasca's set to be highly accurate in detail (the Academy set is no slouch in this regard). But the Tasca parts are more refined and maybe scaled a bit better, perhaps to the point of being endangered by successive layers of base paint, highlighting, weathering, and lacquer. Whereas these more pronounced details on MGs from Academy, Tamiya, DML, etc., would stand out better. Which raises the question, at what point does one sacrifice accuracy for artistry, or vice versa? That's for each individual modeler (or contest judge) to decide, of course.

The gun's receiver has been cast with the cooling jacket holes opened, a first, to my knowledge, for a .50 in any media. The part is situated on a pin on the larger sprue and easily slides right off. It appears the part was cast separately and then manually slipped onto the main sprue for delivery to the customer; the Japanese language instructions point out a small molding pip on top of the receiver that may require attention. The result is excellent, and you could always open the cooling holes with a fresh hobby blade if so desired. There is a shortened barrel that slides into the jacket, as well as a full-sized barrel that can be carried on the turret rack of a tank or stowed in a halftrack. Holes are drilled out of the barrel ends and the flash suppressor is less pronounced than on the Academy gun.

The gun can be modeled with the receiver top opened for loading ammo or maintenance. The cocking lever is small and fragile and care will be needed when removing it from the sprue. A puzzling absence, given all of the care that has obviously gone into this set, is the butterfly thumb trigger that is positioned between the grip handles. Other kits miss this as well, but not Academy.

The tripod has the clamping rings and levers on the legs (remove the nearly invisible molding gate between the levers and the legs). Part #Y16 is a delicate elevating and traversing mechanism. Unlike the more comprehensive Academy kit, there is no folded tripod included in this set, and you only get one ammo box, and no decals. (Note: Tacsa provides two identical sprues, as seen above, to oufit two machine guns.)

I like Tasca's set, particularly the opened cooling jacket. But you are paying a premium for this level of quality and the value of the detailing might be lost if you are heavy-handed with the sprue cutter or paintbrush. On the other hand, Academy's set might not be as refined, but you get much more for your money.

We're very fortunate to have such difficult to decisions to make!

Product sample provided by Tasca.



Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © 2002—2007 Timothy S. Streeter