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Bofors British QF 40mm Mk.III Anti-Aircraft Gun Late Type

AFV Club 1/35 Bofors British QF 40mm Mk.III Anti-Aircraft Gun Late Type Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review July 2013 Manufacturer AFV Club
Subject Bofors British QF 40mm Mk.III Anti-Aircraft Gun Late Type Scale 1/35
Kit Number 35187 Primary Media 356 parts (307 in olive drab styrene, 36 etched brass, 11 black vinyl, 1 steel spring, 1 turned aluminum barrel)
Pros Builds into the unique Commonwealth version of the late production Bofors gun Cons A wealth of parts
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $48.99

First Look

After WWI it became obvious that the next war (which everyone hoped would not come but prepared for nevertheless) would see a dominating role by aircraft, and therefore protection against them was going to be a priority. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Bofors of Sweden and Krupps of Germany partnered to research a new design of light AA weapon. In 1934 this culminated in Bofors producing the Model 1934 40mm ground version of the weapon. It used a simple cruciform carriage with folding side arms and removal axle bogies for transport, was light, handy, and possessed a rate of fire of 120-140 rounds per minute. It soon begat a plethora of other versions, most importantly twin naval mounts. The US, the UK, France and a number of other countries either bought weapons from Bofors or manufacturing licenses.

During WWII it was the most important light AA gun used by the US and the Commonwealth, and while their guns were essentially the Swedish design with few modifications both groups had variations to their guns. Visually the Commonwealth guns had different wheels and tires and modified seats for their gunners; they both used different sights as well.

The history of the British guns begins in 1937 when they decided this was a more desirable weapon for the army than the competing 2–pdr Vickers naval weapon. 279 had been obtained by the end of 1939. By the end of the war thousands had been built in some 17 different versions and sub-variants. The primary version was the Mark III, the subject of this kit, which had been redesigned to require only 1,500 man-hours to produce vice 2,420 for the Mark I. This basically focused on simplifying the carriage and other less essential items of the system.

AFV Club's kit provides most of the differentiated Commonwealth features on two news sprues, with the rest of the kit coming from two previous AFV Club kits of the Bofors (35163 and 35186) and one sprue from the 40mm accessory and ammunition set (35189).

The kit claims to provide "three different kinds of gun sights" but from references only appears to use the later "Stiffkey" sighting system. The model does offer parts to make either a manually operated gun or one with electric assist, and suitable parts are provided for each option. It also comes with a choice between turned aluminum or styrene barrels and steel or styrene recoil springs.

The suspension elements are designed to clip on to the "cross" with vinyl keepers and working options permit the model to be posed in either travel or firing positions. Etched brass is kept to a minimum but covers things such as the traversing tracks on the carriage base and the "speed ring" parts of the gun sighting system.

While the model offers a steel spring, in this case the barrel is used to trap it under compression to the breech and it does not "work" as with some past kits.

The model as noted has a large number of (scale) working features, such as the carriage traverse, elevation, travel lock, towing tongue, suspension arms, wheels, and sights.

It comes with six four-round clips, three empty clips, a spare barrel case, two US style ammo cans, two UK style crates, two US style ammo crates, and a British 24-round ammo case. Decals are provided for those items.

Finishing is simple - paint the entire gun khaki green, but I think there are a number of other options modelers will find.

Overall, when compared to the earlier Italeri Bofors 40mm kit, this kit has over twice as many parts, no crew, but far better value for nearly the same price and accuracy to a specific prototype rather than a combination of features.

Sprue Layout: (all sprues coded as AFV35):

  • 163A 83 Bofors gun, barrel, fittings
  • 163B 52 Bofors recoil spring, spikes, trail accessories
  • 163M 1 Turned aluminum barrel
  • 186C 18 Bofors trails, "cross" base, axles
  • 186D 22 Bofors brake drums, fittings
  • 186F 22 Bofors wheels, gunners' seats
  • 186H 1 Steel spring
  • 186I 1 "Cross" carriage
  • 186K 7 Black vinyl
  • 186KA 4 Vinyl tires
  • 187G1 26 Etched brass
  • 187G2 10 Etched brass
  • 187H 31 Bofors UK wheels, seats, details
  • 187O 39 Bofors UK shields, mounts, sight fixtures
  • 189A 39 40mm ammo and transport crates