The quadruple 1.1-inch (28mm) gun mount, nicknamed the “Chicago Piano”, was the standard medium anti-aircraft gun for the United States Navy during the 1930s
and into the early years of World War II. The .50-inch water-cooled machine gun was feared to be too light a weapon for future air defense, so a larger alternative
needed to be developed. The Chicago Piano was fitted on many U.S. warships during the 1930s, but early service during the war revealed that the weapon was
unreliable as it was over-weight, subject to over-heating and prone to frequent jamming. The quad 1.1-inch mounts were replaced by the superior 40mm Bofors and
20mm Oerlikon, though some were still in service on smaller ships through the end of the war.

This set of 3D printed quad 1.1-inch are among the first products released by
Black Cat Models of France. While the firm may be new, the person behind it is not;
Benjamin Druel, son of Jacques Druel. Benjamin is a talented CAD designer and he has designed kits for Blue Ridge Models, Tom's Modelworks and Starling
Models to name a few. He has also created 3D artwork for issues and books published by Lela Presse. Benjamin has decided to use his skills to produce detailed resin
kits and 3D printed accessories under his own label, using the using the latest CAD software and best 3D printers available on the market.
The set provides parts to assemble four mounts. The mounts and quad barrels are separate parts so that you may be able to pose them in any elevation. The detail is
great, with the mounts having hand cranks and gunner’s seats and the quad barrels having gun sights. The parts come on casting runners but have very thin
attachment points for easy removal. The runners themselves are attached to double-sided tape inside the clear plastic clam shell box. While these provides a very firm
grip for shipping purposes it provided a bit of a challenge in freeing them for the double-sided tape. I had to wiggle them off rather than just pull them straight up. A
set of instructions with CAD images of the parts and an assembled mount are available for downloading from the
Black Cat Models website as the back label on the
packaging indicates.

Removing the parts from the runners was quite easy and any remnants on the parts were scraped off with the razor knife. Building the mounts are very straight
forward and the parts fit together perfectly. The only bit of advice is to first attach the mount to some tape as it likes to tip over.These 3D printed mounts are much
finer than kit provided plastic parts and are three-dimensional, which is something you can’t get with brass photo-etch versions. Also, the plastic used with these
mounts are not nearly as brittle as what you get from parts printed by Shapeways, though care in handling is still required.
These resin mounts are an excellent upgrade for your pre-war and early-war U.S. Navy ship and are they are an impressive and very promising first release from Black
Cat Models
. Look out folks, there is a new player in the ship modeling world. My thanks to Ben Druel for providing the review sample.
Felix Bustelo
New York
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