|The quad Vickers .50 machine gun Mark III mount was a close-in anti-aircraft weapon that was used on many Royal Navy and allied ships. Vickers started
production of this gun in 1926 and initially saw some use in tanks and other fighting vehicles as a single mount. It wasn’t until the early 1930s that the quad Mark
III mount began being fitted on British ships. The naval quad mount featured a 200-round magazine per barrel, which wrapped the ammunition belt around the
magazine drum, and provided a maximum rate of fire of 700 rounds per minute, per gun. However it soon proved to be insufficiently powerful in its intended
short-range anti-aircraft role against modern all-metal aircraft. Eventually the .50 Vickers was replaced during World War II by the Oerlikon 20mm cannon.
Nonetheless, they were still produced in large numbers during the war with a total of 12,500 being built. North Star Models has recently released a number of
Royal Navy armament and fitting upgrade sets. The Vickers quad mounts in two versions are among these releases. One version offers the mount in an up, in-
action position (NSA 350146) and another with the mount in a down, stowed position (NSA 350147). Both versions come bagged, provide enough parts to build
four mounts and are comprised of resin and photo-etch parts and turned brass barrels. Each set has a common set of brass barrels and photo-etch. The only resin
parts in both sets are the actual mounts with the magazine drums, with the only difference being the positions, up or down. The parts have a good amount of detail
and fairly clean but there are bits of excess resin that will need to be removed in some spots. The mounts come on a casting runner and will need to be carefully
removed. Also you will have to drill out the holes in each mount to fit the brass barrels.
The photo-etch is comprised of the exterior frame, base, shields, hand wheels and gun sights. The etch looks good with some relief etching. Part numbers are
etched into the fret for identification purposes. Now I have seen photos of the mounts with and without shields, so if you wish to build the latter you can omit side
shields (photo-etch part number 3) and clip off the shield from the top of the exterior frame (photo-etch part number 4). Each set comes with sixteen turned brass
barrels to complete the assembly and I will admit my photographs don’t do them justice. They have the flared muzzle nicely replicated but there is one nitpick
here; the muzzles in the brass versions are centered while photos clearly show that they are actually off-centered and closer to the bottom of the barrel. Now this
is a minor issue in my opinion but I had to point it out and could be the result of the limitations in the process to produce turned brass barrels. For some modelers
striving for 100% accuracy this may be a bigger issue. The assembly instructions are printed on a double-side sheet of paper folded to fit the bag. The assembly
steps are fully illustrated with clear diagrams that also show what the parts should look like at the end of each step. The assembly is rather straight-forward but
some of the smaller photo-etch parts, like the hand wheels and gun sights, will require care when attaching.