The 20mm Oerlikon gun is arguably the most ubiquitous piece of ship-borne armament. Because of this, there have been almost as many 1/350 scale versions of this gun from numerous producers.
Now entering into the fray is
North Star Models with two different sets: a tripod mounted version and pedestal mounted version. Originally the 20mm Oerlikon was fitted on pedestal mounts but
they were heavy especially with the gun shield fitted. Tripods mounts were utilized as a weight-saving measure when this was a factor.

The
North Star pedestal mounted version is a multimedia set with photo-etch guns parts and resin pedestals. The photo-etch parts include the actual guns, the cradles with the shield supports, the
shields and hand wheels. There are some rings included, the purpose of which is not clear as they are not referenced in the instructions. However, after looking at some photos, I think they may be
the base rings for the pedestals. Assembly looks to be a bit tricky. The actual gun part requires a lot of folding –first the two halves of the guns are folded together. The circular ammo magazine
needs to have the faces folded at 90° and the cover folded over. The shoulder rests are folded into position as well as the gun sight. There is a good amount of relief etching but the guns sights on a
couple of the guns didn’t etch through completely. The resin pedestals are adequate but I think they could have been done a little better. Enough parts are provided to make twelve pedestal mounted
guns.
The tripod mounted version is all brass photo-etch with the tripod legs, inner supports and base mounting rings provided on the fret along with a similar breakdown of the actually gun. Again the relief
etching is good but more gun sights in this version did not etch all the way through and actually look solid. Parts are provided to make ten tripod mounted guns.

Instructions are provided to assemble both versions of the mounts. The front page has a keyed image of the photo-etch frets and the first steps to making the guns, which are common to both versions,
and the back page shows how the guns are finished on their respective mountings. What is interesting about the instructions is that the image of the respective photo-etch is very different from the
actual brass included in each set! Based on the instructions the 20mm gun is made up of an inner and outer piece that each gets folded together with one fitting inside the other. This is not how the
actual brass parts are done in my sample and actually looks like that the two gun parts have been combined into one simpler yet detailed part. The instructions are perhaps for the original versions of
these guns set and the photo-etch may have been revised but the instructions were not. This may be an honest mistake but I would expect revised instructions be provided with these sets as this could
lead to confusion assembling the guns.
These sets are good but not necessarily the best 20mm guns on the market. There are some flaws with these sets but they should fulfill your needs in any event but there are other options.
Felix Bustelo
Prince of Pizza Pies (New York Style)
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