The USN 5-Inch/38 is considered the finest medium anti-aircraft gun of World War Two. Its excellence is attributed to not only its design but also to proximity fuse of the shells, a contribution by the British. Before its introduction the 5-Inch/25 was the
standard dual purpose gun of the USN but the 5-Inch/38 was far more effective. The weapon entered service in 1934 with the destroyer
USS Farragut. The effective rate of fire was increased to 15 rounds per minute in 1937 with base ring mount with
integral shell hoist first seen on
USS Gridley. Built in single and twin gun versions, the gun constantly evolved. Black Cat Models has produced a single mount gun in a single knuckle enclosed gun house with set AC 350017e. This is the 5-Inch/38 Mk.
30. There were three models of the Mk. 30. The enclosed gun house Mod0 was mounted on destroyers, auxiliaries and USCG High Endurance Cutters. The Mod1 was an open mount fitted to destroyer rear mounts and escort aircraft carriers. The
Mod69 was another enclosed mount designed specifically for destroyer escorts with a redesigned gun house beveled to allow clearance of hedgehog projectiles fired from a hedgehog mount just aft of the gun mount. Set
AC 350017e has two mounts,
although four barrels are provided. They are produced by 3D printing and are superb. All of the detail of the gun houses are fantastic. Hand rails are integral to the gun house and stand out from the sides of the mount. Likewise the vertical ladder on the
rear face stands out from the gun house. The gun house doors have hinge and handle detail and there is fine rivet detail throughout the gun house. The gun houses are slightly different from each other. One has a flat crown access hatch, while the other
has a raised cupola hatch. There is no need for brass barrels with these beauties, as the barrels have hollow muzzles. This set is highly recommended, but then, every set of accessories that I have seen from
Black Cat Models is highly recommended.
Black Cat Models set AC 350017e in 1:350 scale is another outstanding product from this French company. In it you get two 5-Inch/38 Mk. 30 Mod 0 gun mounts, mounted on destroyers, auxiliaries and USCG High Endurance Cutters. The detail on
the parts is eye-popping and it is perfect as an upgrade for
Fletchers and other kits in 1:350 scale.

Steve Backer
Huntsville, Alabama