In the 1920's the Royal Navy had little concern for anti-aircraft defence. Aircraft were light and weak and the existing 4-Inch and 3-Inch guns were considered adaquate for defence. In 1928 the RN started developin a heavy anti-aircraft mount, which
became the 40mm pom-pom. By 1931 things had changed. The Naval Anti-Aircraft Committee decided in that year that as heavy surface ships came under "large repair", (ie. refit) that they would be fitted with pom-pom mounts and another new AA
system, the quadruple Vickers .50 machine gun mount. The quad Vickers may have been satisfactory as a light AA mount in 1931 but by 1939 it was hopelessly obsolete. As Oerlikon 20mm guns became available, the quad Vickers moutns were landed.
By the fall of 1942 they were gone. Originally the quad Vickers mount was entirely open. However at some point shields were added for gun crew protection. I have been unable to ascertain when the changeover occurred. Having acquired the
Trumpeter HMS Cornwall in 1:350 scale from Free Time Hobbies, I looked at products that would upgrade the model. One definite was to replace the Trumpeter quad Vickers with those produced by Black Cat Models. The Cornwall would certainly
had shields on the Vickers mounts when sunk in spring 1942. I have decided to build the Cornwall as she appeared in 1941 with a unique camouflage scheme. This scheme used MS4a with 507a painted on the sides to show the silhouette of a tramp
steamer with this design on both sides. For a color profile see
British and Commonwealth Warship Camouflage of WWII, Volume 3 by Malcolm Wright, Naval Institute Press 2016 at page 59. If you like weathering and a down at the heels
appearance, at the time of her loss the Cornwall was in an overall 507a that was badly faded and heavily weathered. I do not know if the Cornwall had shields on her Vickers mounts in 1941 but I think it is a good bet.

You can see the magnificent Black Cat quadruple Vickers with shield in these photographs but to really appreciate the difference they make for the Cornwall, or any British warship model in this scale, just look at the photographs contrasting the Black
Cat mount versus the Trupeter mount. The Black Cat barrels look like thin machine gun barrels while the Trumpeter barrels look like 5-inchers, rather than .50. Contrast the mount detail. Look at the gun shields. Black Cat gives a true shield with vision
openings, while the Trumpeter mount has narrow flanges on either side of the mount with no vision openings. I guess the crew could fire blindly. I don't think it would make much difference considering how ineffectual the Vickers mounts were. For
that matter, the Trumpeter mount could fully enclosed because the Trumpeter mounts lack any ammunition cannisters, so the guns would be empty. Not so with Black Cat Models Vickers mounts. Each gun gets a very detailed circular ammunition
drum. Why would any modeler mount the kit supplied Trumpeter flatuating Vickers guns when you can mount these Black Cat beauties? For early war Vickers, Black Cat also has the quadruple Vickers without gun shield.
I cannot recommend too highly the Quadruple Vickers .50 machine gun mount with shield by Black Cat Models in 1:350 scale. For a rather inexpensive price, you get ten fabulous mounts dripping with detail. They are perfect replacements for kit
supplied parts for any RN warship kit in 1:350 scale in 1941 and 1942 fits, after the shields were fitted. As Winston Churchill might have stated if asked about the comparison/contrast between the
Black Cat and Trumpeter Vickers, "Black Cat tears
Trumpeter a new one!
"

Steve Backer
Huntsville, Alabama

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